Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

Award winning investigative journalist John Pilger nails it – yet again.

This is a superb article

Pilger : Ultimate ambition of hawks in Washington was regime change in Russia

RT’s Rory Suchet asks all the right questions to Pilger…and Pilger does not disappoint (jump to the 12:30 mark to watch Obama’s “legacy” demolished).

“Obama has been one of the most violent presidents. He initiated a worldwide terrorist campaign with Hellfire missiles being fired by drones at so called terrorists…certainly at weddings and funerals…in some of the poorest countries in the world.”

“What I find personally some of the most anxious and almost shameful descriptions are those from so called intellectuals in the west…writers, journalists, people in the liberal establishment who have had all the privilege that they ought to know better, fawning in sycophancy to this man who has done what he was meant to do.”
“He served the power…He was meant to serve.”




Posted November 2014

Looking back at the years of fury and carnage, Colonel Angelo Gatti, staff officer of the Italian Army (Austrian front), wrote in his diary: “This whole war has been a pile of lies. We came into war because a few men in authority, the dreamers, flung us into it.”

No, Gatti, caro mio, those few men are not dreamers; they are schemers. They perch above us. See how their armament contracts are turned into private fortunes—while the young men are turned into dust: more blood, more money; good for business this war.

It is the rich old men, i pauci, “the few,” as Cicero called the Senate oligarchs whom he faithfully served in ancient Rome. It is the few, who together constitute a bloc of industrialists and landlords, who think war will bring bigger markets abroad and civic discipline at home. One of i pauci in 1914 saw war as a way of promoting compliance and obedience on the labor front and—as he himself said—war, “would permit the hierarchal reorganization of class relations.”

Just awhile ago the heresies of Karl Marx were spreading among Europe’s lower ranks. The proletariats of each country, growing in numbers and strength, are made to wage war against each other. What better way to confine and misdirect them than with the swirl of mutual destruction.

Then there are the generals and other militarists who started plotting this war as early as 1906, eight years before the first shots were fired. War for them means glory, medals, promotions, financial rewards, inside favours, and dining with ministers, bankers, and diplomats: the whole prosperity of death. When the war finally comes, it is greeted with quiet satisfaction by the generals.

But the young men are ripped by waves of machine-gun fire or blown apart by exploding shells. War comes with gas attacks and sniper shots: grenades, mortars, and artillery barrages; the roar of a great inferno and the sickening smell of rotting corpses. Torn bodies hang sadly on the barbed wire, and trench rats try to eat away at us, even while we are still alive.

Farewell, my loving hearts at home, those who send us their precious tears wrapped in crumpled letters. And farewell my comrades. When the people’s wisdom fails, moguls and monarchs prevail and there seems to be no way out.

Fools dance and the pit sinks deeper as if bottomless. No one can see the sky, or hear the music, or deflect the swarms of lies that cloud our minds like the countless lice that torture our flesh. Crusted with blood and filth, regiments of lost souls drag themselves to the devil’s pit. “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’entrate.” (Abandon all hope, ye who enter).

Meanwhile from above the Vatican wall, the pope himself begs the world leaders to put an end to hostilities, “lest there be no young men left alive in Europe.”
But the war industry pays him no heed.

Finally the casualties are more than we can bear. There are mutinies in the French trenches! Agitators in the Czar’s army cry out for “Peace, Land, and Bread!” At home, our families grow bitter. There comes a breaking point as the oligarchs seem to be losing their grip.

At last the guns are mute in the morning air. A strange almost pious silence takes over. The fog and rain seem to wash our wounds and cool our fever. “Still alive,” the sergeant grins, “still alive.” He cups a cigarette in his hand. “Stack those rifles, you lazy bastards.” He grins again, two teeth missing. Never did his ugly face look so good as on this day in November 1918. Armistice embraces us like a quiet rapture.

A big piece of the encrusted aristocratic world breaks off.
The Romanovs, Czar and family, are all executed in 1918 in Revolutionary Russia.
That same year, the House of Hohenzollern collapses as Kaiser Wilhelm II flees Germany.
Also in 1918, the Ottoman empire is shattered.
And on Armistice Day, November 11th, 1918, at 11:00 a.m.—the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month—we mark the end of the war and with it the dissolution of the Habsburg dynasty.

Four indestructible monarchies: Russian, German, Turkish, and Austro-Hungarian, four great empires, each with millions of bayonets and cannon at the ready, now twisting in the dim shadows of history.

Will our children ever forgive us for our dismal confusion?
Will they ever understand what we went through?
Will we?
By 1918, four aristocratic autocracies fade away, leaving so many victims mangled in their wake, and so many bereaved crying through the night.

Back in the trenches, the agitators among us prove right. The mutinous Reds standing before the firing squad last year were right. Their truths must not be buried with them. Why are impoverished workers and peasants killing other impoverished workers and peasants?
Now we know that our real foe is not in the weave of trenches; not at Ypres, nor at the Somme, or Verdun or Caporetto. Closer to home, closer to the deceptive peace that follows a deceptive war.

Now comes a different conflict. We have enemies at home: the schemers who trade our blood for sacks of gold, who make the world safe for hypocrisy, safe for themselves, readying themselves for the next “humanitarian war.” See how sleek and self-satisfied they look, riding our backs, distracting our minds, filling us with fright about wicked foes. Important things keep happening, but not enough to finish them off. Not yet enough.


Michael Parenti’s most recent books are The Face of Imperialism (2011); Waiting for Yesterday: Pages from a Street Kid’s Life (2013); and Profit Pathology and Other Indecencies (forthcoming January 2015).

We Are Without Excuse.

Ghosts Of The Future | A film (by my comrade) Kelvin Mason.

The consent of the masses can at all times be controlled.
R.I.P to every human who has died in all conflict.


(They trusted the picture in their heads.)

“There is an island in the ocean where in 1914 a few Englishmen, Frenchmen, and Germans lived. No cable reaches that island, and the British mail steamer comes but once in sixty days. In September it had not yet come, and the islanders were still talking about the latest newspaper which told about the approaching trial of Madame Caillaux for the shooting of Gaston Calmette.

It was, therefore, with more than usual eagerness that the whole colony assembled at the quay on a day in mid-September to hear from the captain what the verdict had been. They learned that for over six weeks now those of them who were English and those of them who were French had been fighting in behalf of the sanctity of treaties against those of them who were Germans.
For six strange weeks they had acted as if they were friends, when in fact they were enemies.

But their plight was not so different from that of most of the population of Europe. They had been mistaken for six weeks, on the continent the interval may have been only six days or six hours.
There was an interval.
There was a moment when the picture of Europe on which men were conducting their business as usual, did not in any way correspond to the Europe which was about to make a jumble of their lives.
There was a time for each man when he was still adjusted to an environment that no longer existed.

All over the world as late as July 25th men were making goods that they would not be able to ship, buying goods they would not be able to import, careers were being planned, enterprises contemplated, hopes and expectations entertained, all in the belief that the world as known was the world as it was.
Men were writing books describing that world.

They trusted the picture in their heads.

And then over four years later, 1918, on a Thursday morning, came the news of an armistice, and people gave vent to their unutterable relief that the slaughter was over.

Yet in the five days before the real Armistice came, though the end of the war had been celebrated, several thousands of young men continued to be slaughtered on the battlefields.

Looking back we can see how indirectly we know the environment in which nevertheless we live.
We can see that the news of it comes to us now fast, now slowly; but that whatever we believe to be a true picture, we treat as if it were the environment itself.

It is harder to remember that about the beliefs upon which we are now acting, but in respect to other peoples and other ages we flatter ourselves that it is easy to see when they were in deadly earnest about ludicrous pictures of the world.
We insist, because of our superior hindsight, that the world as they needed to know it, and the world as they did know it, were often two quite contradictory things.” – Walter Lippman.

“Behold! human beings living in a sort of underground den, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all across the den; they have been here from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them; for the chains are arranged in such a manner as to prevent them from turning round their heads.
At a distance above and behind them the light of a fire is blazing, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have before them, over which they show the puppets.
I see, he said.
And do you see, I said, men passing along the wall carrying vessels, which appear over the wall; also figures of men and animals, made of wood and stone and various materials; and some of the prisoners, as you would expect, are talking, and some of them are silent?
This is a strange image, he said, and they are strange prisoners.
Like ourselves, I replied; and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave?
True, he said: how could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?
And of the objects which are being carried in like manner they would see only the shadows?
Yes, he said.

And if they were able to talk with one another, would they not suppose that they were naming what was actually before them?” –The Cave Analogy, The Republic, Plato, Book Seven. (Jowett Translation.)

There are Nosferatu’s shadows on the walls of Plato’s cave – Robin Ince, author/comedian.



…Walter Lippmann, The major progressive intellectual of the 20th century. He wrote famous progressive essays on democracy in which his view was exactly that.
“the public must be put in their place,”
So that the responsible men can make decisions, Without interference from the “bewildered herd.”
They’re to be spectators, not participants. Then you get a properly functioning democracy,
Straight back to madison and on to Powell’s memorandum, and so on. And the advertising industry just exploded with this as its goal…
Fabricating consumers. – (56 mins in) Noam Chomsky, Requiem for the American Dream, 2015

Anarchism is “the ultimate ideal to which society should approximate.” Structures of hierarchy and domination are fundamentally illegitimate. They can be defended only on grounds of contingent need, an argument that rarely stands up to analysis. – Bertrand Russell on Anarchism.



(Q&A of the movie held at Rochester University with the Directors:–61s66BqZ_x7UEv3A_ )

subtitles transcript for the documentary:

Noam Chomsky – Requiem for the American Dream, 2015.

00:00:48,714 –> 00:00:52,450
During the great depression,
which I’m old enough
to remember there was–

00:00:52,452 –> 00:00:55,619
And most of my family
were unemployed working class…

00:00:55,621 –> 00:00:57,354
There wasn’t– it was bad,

00:00:57,356 –> 00:00:59,756
Much worse
subjectively than today.

00:00:59,758 –> 00:01:02,725
But there was an expectation
that things were going to get

00:01:04,360 –> 00:01:06,494
There was a real sense
of hopefulness.

00:01:06,496 –> 00:01:07,795
There isn’t today.

00:01:17,638 –> 00:01:21,407
Inequality is really

00:01:21,409 –> 00:01:25,611
If you look at total inequality,
it’s like the worst periods
of american history.

00:01:31,651 –> 00:01:40,156
The inequality comes from
the extreme wealth in a tiny
sector of the population,

00:01:40,158 –> 00:01:41,390
A fraction of one percent.

00:01:44,827 –> 00:01:48,162
There were periods like
the gilded age in the ’20s

00:01:48,164 –> 00:01:50,197
And the roaring ’90s and so on,

00:01:50,199 –> 00:01:52,732
When a situation developed
rather similar to this.

00:01:53,800 –> 00:01:56,168
Now, this period’s extreme…

00:01:56,170 –> 00:01:58,770
Because if you look
at the wealth distribution,

00:01:58,772 –> 00:02:03,307
The inequality mostly
comes from super wealth.

00:02:07,211 –> 00:02:11,246
Literally, the top
1/10th of a percent
are just super wealthy.

00:02:12,781 –> 00:02:16,316
Not only is it extremely
unjust in itself…

00:02:16,318 –> 00:02:20,419
Inequality has highly negative
consequences on the society
as a whole…

00:02:22,722 –> 00:02:28,393
Because the very fact
of inequality has a corrosive,
harmful effect on democracy.

00:02:34,232 –> 00:02:36,833
You open by talking about
the american dream.

00:02:36,835 –> 00:02:39,268
Part of the american dream
is class mobility.

00:02:39,270 –> 00:02:47,142
You get rich. It was possible
for a worker to get a decent
job, buy a home…

00:02:47,144 –> 00:02:49,877
Get a car, have his
children go to school.

00:02:52,213 –> 00:02:53,279
It’s all collapsed.

00:03:07,860 –> 00:03:12,830
Imagine yourself in an outside
position, looking from mars.

00:03:13,765 –> 00:03:14,798
What do you see?

00:03:40,657 –> 00:03:44,793
In the United States,
there are professed
values like democracy.

00:03:51,566 –> 00:03:56,202
In a democracy, public opinion
is going to have some influence
on policy.

00:04:00,840 –> 00:04:05,543
And then, the government
carries out actions determined
by the population.

00:04:05,545 –> 00:04:07,311
That’s what democracy means.

00:04:11,849 –> 00:04:15,985
It’s important to understand
that privileged and powerful

00:04:15,987 –> 00:04:21,223
Have never liked democracy
and for very good reasons.

00:04:21,225 –> 00:04:24,993
Democracy puts power
into the hands of
the general population

00:04:24,995 –> 00:04:26,627
And takes it away from them.

00:04:28,830 –> 00:04:32,632
It’s kind of a principle
of concentration of wealth
and power.

00:04:48,348 –> 00:04:52,384
Concentration of wealth
yields concentration of power…

00:04:52,386 –> 00:04:57,021
Particularly so as the cost
of elections skyrockets,

00:04:57,023 –> 00:05:03,627
Which kind of forces
the political parties into the
pockets of major corporations.

00:05:03,629 –> 00:05:08,465
And this political power quickly
translates into legislation

00:05:08,467 –> 00:05:11,401
That increases
the concentration of wealth.

00:05:11,403 –> 00:05:14,937
So fiscal policy
like tax policy…

00:05:14,939 –> 00:05:17,906

00:05:17,908 –> 00:05:22,644
Rules of corporate
governance and a whole
variety of measures…

00:05:22,646 –> 00:05:27,782
Political measures, designed
to increase the concentration
of wealth and power,

00:05:27,784 –> 00:05:31,618
Which, in turn,
yields more political power
to do the same thing.

00:05:33,721 –> 00:05:35,521
And that’s what
we’ve been seeing.

00:05:39,592 –> 00:05:42,460
So we have this kind of
vicious cycle in progress.

00:05:47,766 –> 00:05:54,338
You know, actually,
it is so traditional that it was
described by adam smith in 1776.

00:05:54,340 –> 00:05:56,506
You read the famous
“wealth of nations.”

00:06:00,544 –> 00:06:04,013
He says in England,
the principal architects
of policy

00:06:04,015 –> 00:06:06,015
Are the people
who own the society.

00:06:06,017 –> 00:06:09,818
In his day, merchants
and manufacturers.

00:06:09,820 –> 00:06:14,989
And they make sure
that their own interests
are very well cared for,

00:06:14,991 –> 00:06:19,560
However grievous
the impact on the people
of England or others.

00:06:21,829 –> 00:06:24,530
Now, it’s not merchants
and manufacturers,

00:06:24,532 –> 00:06:27,432
It’s financial institutions
and multinational corporations.

00:06:28,767 –> 00:06:33,570
The people who adam smith
called the “masters of mankind,”

00:06:33,572 –> 00:06:38,808
And they’re following the vile
maxim, “all for ourselves
and nothing for anyone else.”

00:06:41,845 –> 00:06:46,815
They’re just going to pursue
policies that benefit them
and harm everyone else.

00:06:46,817 –> 00:06:52,720
And in the absence of a general
popular reaction, that’s pretty
much what you’d expect.

00:07:03,631 –> 00:07:08,401
Right through american history,
there’s been an ongoing clash…

00:07:08,403 –> 00:07:14,472
Between pressure for more
freedom and democracy coming
from below,

00:07:14,474 –> 00:07:19,643
And efforts at elite control
and domination coming from

00:07:24,415 –> 00:07:26,148
It goes back to
the founding of the country.

00:07:29,852 –> 00:07:31,953
James madison, the main framer,

00:07:31,955 –> 00:07:37,124
Who was as much of a believer
in democracy as anybody
in the world in that day,

00:07:37,126 –> 00:07:41,128
Nevertheless felt that
the United States system
should be designed,

00:07:41,130 –> 00:07:44,898
And indeed with his
initiative was designed,

00:07:44,900 –> 00:07:48,835
So that power should be
in the hands of the wealthy…

00:07:48,837 –> 00:07:52,872
Because the wealthy
are the more responsible
set of men.

00:07:52,874 –> 00:07:56,742
And, therefore,
the structure of the formal
constitutional system

00:07:56,744 –> 00:07:59,611
Placed most power
in the hands of the senate.

00:07:59,613 –> 00:08:02,614
Remember, the senate was
not elected in those days.

00:08:02,616 –> 00:08:04,849
It was selected
from the wealthy.

00:08:04,851 –> 00:08:09,753
Men, as madison put it,
“had sympathy for property
owners and their rights.”

00:08:12,490 –> 00:08:14,958
If you read the debates
at the constitutional

00:08:16,727 –> 00:08:20,496
Madison said, “the major concern
of the society has to be

00:08:20,498 –> 00:08:23,799
To protect the minority
of the opulent against
the majority.”

00:08:27,670 –> 00:08:29,470
And he had arguments.

00:08:29,472 –> 00:08:32,039
Suppose everyone
had a vote freely.

00:08:32,041 –> 00:08:35,742
He said, “well, the majority
of the poor would get together

00:08:35,744 –> 00:08:38,978
And they would organize
to take away the property
of the rich.”

00:08:38,980 –> 00:08:42,781
And, he said, “that would
obviously be unjust,
so you can’t have that.”

00:08:42,783 –> 00:08:46,117
So, therefore the constitutional
system has to be set up
to prevent democracy.

00:08:57,928 –> 00:09:02,965
It’s of some interest that this
debate has a hoary tradition.

00:09:02,967 –> 00:09:07,736
Goes back to the first major
book on political systems,
aristotle’s “politics.”

00:09:09,872 –> 00:09:13,140
He says, “of all of them,
the best is democracy,”

00:09:13,142 –> 00:09:17,143
But then he points out
exactly the flaw that
madison pointed out.

00:09:20,714 –> 00:09:23,515
If athens were a democracy
for free men,

00:09:23,517 –> 00:09:26,150
The poor would get together
and take away the property
of the rich.

00:09:27,986 –> 00:09:31,655
Well, same dilemma,
they had opposite solutions.

00:09:31,657 –> 00:09:35,659
Aristotle proposed what we would
nowadays call a welfare state.

00:09:35,661 –> 00:09:37,494
He said,
“try to reduce inequality.”

00:09:42,599 –> 00:09:45,500
So, same problem,
opposite solutions.

00:09:45,502 –> 00:09:48,903
One is reduce inequality,
you won’t have this problem.

00:09:48,905 –> 00:09:50,704
The other is reduce democracy.

00:09:57,678 –> 00:09:59,779
If you look at the history
of the United States…

00:09:59,781 –> 00:10:03,015
It’s a constant struggle
between these two tendencies.

00:10:03,017 –> 00:10:07,152
A democratizing tendency
that’s mostly coming from
the population,

00:10:07,154 –> 00:10:13,258
And you get this constant battle
going on, periods of regression,
periods of progress.

00:10:13,260 –> 00:10:18,630
The 1960s for example,
were a period of significant

00:10:23,668 –> 00:10:25,068
[crowd clamoring]

00:10:33,076 –> 00:10:37,112
Sectors of the population
that were usually passive

00:10:37,114 –> 00:10:41,883
And apathetic became organized,
active, started pressing their

00:10:46,955 –> 00:10:52,825
And they became more and more
involved in decision-making,
activism and so on.

00:10:54,093 –> 00:10:56,861
It just changed consciousness
in a lot of ways.

00:11:03,969 –> 00:11:08,037
If democracy means freedom,
why aren’t our people free?

00:11:08,039 –> 00:11:11,340
If democracy means justice,
why don’t we have justice?

00:11:11,342 –> 00:11:15,711
If democracy means equality,
why don’t we have equality?

00:11:15,713 –> 00:11:20,949
This inhuman system
of exploitation will change,

00:11:20,951 –> 00:11:24,986
But only if we force it to
change, and force it together.

00:11:24,988 –> 00:11:26,721
Concern for the environment.

00:11:26,723 –> 00:11:29,023
[walter cronkite] a unique day
in american history is ending,

00:11:29,025 –> 00:11:34,594
A day set aside for a nationwide
outpouring of mankind seeking
its own survival.

00:11:34,596 –> 00:11:39,899
[dr. Benjamin spock] I say
to those who criticize us
for the militancy of our dissent

00:11:39,901 –> 00:11:42,234
That if they are serious
about law and order,

00:11:42,236 –> 00:11:45,003
They should first provide it
for the vietnamese people,

00:11:45,005 –> 00:11:48,206
For our own black people
and for our own poor people.

00:11:48,208 –> 00:11:49,907
Concern for other people.

00:11:49,909 –> 00:11:51,976
[dr. Martin luther king]
one day we must ask
the question,

00:11:51,978 –> 00:11:54,712
“why are there 40 million
poor people in america?”

00:11:54,714 –> 00:11:57,715
When you begin
to ask that question,

00:11:57,717 –> 00:12:00,718
You’re raising a question
about the economic system,

00:12:00,720 –> 00:12:02,953
About a broader
distribution of wealth,

00:12:02,955 –> 00:12:07,490
The question of restructuring
the whole of american society.

00:12:07,492 –> 00:12:09,291
These are all
civilizing effects…

00:12:12,728 –> 00:12:14,161
And that caused great fear.

00:12:29,810 –> 00:12:34,780
I hadn’t anticipated
the power–

00:12:34,782 –> 00:12:38,483
I should’ve, but I didn’t
anticipate the power
of the reaction

00:12:38,485 –> 00:12:40,952
To these civilizing
effects of the ’60s.

00:12:40,954 –> 00:12:46,256
I did not anticipate
the strength of
the reaction to it.

00:12:49,827 –> 00:12:51,127
The backlash.

00:12:59,902 –> 00:13:04,205
There has been an enormous
concentrated, coordinated…

00:13:04,207 –> 00:13:06,941
Business offensive
beginning in the ’70s

00:13:06,943 –> 00:13:10,544
To try to beat back
the egalitarian efforts

00:13:10,546 –> 00:13:12,779
That went right
through the nixon years.

00:13:12,781 –> 00:13:20,119
Over on the right, you see it
in things like the famous
powell memorandum…

00:13:22,255 –> 00:13:25,156
Sent to the chamber of commerce,
the major business lobby,

00:13:25,158 –> 00:13:28,159
By later supreme court
justice powell…

00:13:28,161 –> 00:13:32,229
Warning them that business
is losing control
over the society…

00:13:35,266 –> 00:13:38,434
And something has to be done
to counter these forces.

00:13:38,436 –> 00:13:41,036
Of course, he puts it
in terms of defense,

00:13:41,038 –> 00:13:43,471
“defending ourselves
against an outside power.”

00:13:49,377 –> 00:13:54,180
But if you look at it,
it’s a call for business to use
its control over resources

00:13:54,182 –> 00:13:58,250
To carry out a major offensive
to beat back this democratizing

00:14:08,360 –> 00:14:12,162
Over on the liberal side,
there’s something exactly

00:14:12,164 –> 00:14:17,934
The first major report of
the trilateral commission

00:14:17,936 –> 00:14:21,470
Is concerned with this.
It’s called “the crisis
of democracy.”

00:14:23,372 –> 00:14:26,240
Trilateral commission
is liberal internationalists…

00:14:26,242 –> 00:14:29,343
Their flavor is indicated
by the fact that

00:14:29,345 –> 00:14:31,545
They pretty much staffed
the carter administration.

00:14:35,917 –> 00:14:40,520
They were also appalled by
the democratizing tendencies
of the ’60s,

00:14:40,522 –> 00:14:43,923
And thought
we have to react to it.

00:14:43,925 –> 00:14:47,593
They were concerned that
there was an “excess of
democracy” developing.

00:14:51,164 –> 00:14:56,334
Previously passive and obedient
parts of the population,

00:14:56,336 –> 00:14:58,502
What are sometimes called,
“the special interests,”

00:14:58,504 –> 00:15:02,506
Were beginning to organize
and try to enter the political

00:15:02,508 –> 00:15:06,409
And they said, “that imposes
too much pressure on the state.

00:15:06,411 –> 00:15:08,878
It can’t deal with all
these pressures.”

00:15:08,880 –> 00:15:14,082
So, therefore, they have
to return to passivity
and become depoliticized.

00:15:14,084 –> 00:15:15,950

00:15:15,952 –> 00:15:18,919
They were particularly concerned
with what was happening
to young people.

00:15:18,921 –> 00:15:20,987
“the young people are getting
too free and independent.”

00:15:20,989 –> 00:15:23,122
[young man] none of us will
beget any violence.

00:15:23,124 –> 00:15:27,326
If there’s any violence,
it will be because
of the police.

00:15:27,328 –> 00:15:31,330
[noam chomsky] the way they
put it, there’s failure on
the part of the schools,

00:15:31,332 –> 00:15:33,665
The universities,
the churches…

00:15:33,667 –> 00:15:37,969
The institutions responsible
for the “indoctrination
of the young.”

00:15:37,971 –> 00:15:39,403
Their phrase, not mine.

00:15:44,509 –> 00:15:47,911
If you look at their study,
there’s one interest they
never mention…

00:15:47,913 –> 00:15:53,216
And that makes sense, they’re
not special interest, they’re
the national interest,

00:15:53,218 –> 00:15:55,585
Kind of by definition.
So they’re okay.

00:15:55,587 –> 00:16:00,089
They’re allowed to, you know,
have lobbyists, buy campaigns,

00:16:00,091 –> 00:16:03,092
Staff the executive,
make decisions, that’s fine.

00:16:03,094 –> 00:16:06,662
But it’s the rest,
the special interests,
the general population,

00:16:06,664 –> 00:16:08,163
Who have to be subdued.

00:16:08,165 –> 00:16:09,397

00:16:15,670 –> 00:16:17,237
Well, that’s the spectrum.

00:16:17,239 –> 00:16:21,241
It’s the kind of ideological
level of the backlash.

00:16:21,243 –> 00:16:25,178
But the major backlash,
which was in parallel to this…

00:16:25,180 –> 00:16:27,480
Was just redesigning
the economy.

00:16:41,694 –> 00:16:48,599
Since the 1970s, there’s been
a concerted effort on the part
of the masters of mankind,

00:16:48,601 –> 00:16:50,567
The owners of the society,

00:16:50,569 –> 00:16:54,237
To shift the economy
in two crucial respects.

00:16:54,239 –> 00:16:59,641
One, to increase the role
of financial institutions,

00:16:59,643 –> 00:17:03,411
Banks, investment firms,
so on…

00:17:03,413 –> 00:17:05,579
Insurance companies.

00:17:05,581 –> 00:17:09,749
By 2007, right before
the latest crash,

00:17:09,751 –> 00:17:13,252
They had literally 40%
of corporate profits…

00:17:16,389 –> 00:17:18,289
Far beyond
anything in the past.

00:17:26,697 –> 00:17:30,433
Back in the 1950s,
as for many years before,

00:17:30,435 –> 00:17:34,236
The United States economy
was based largely on production.

00:17:34,238 –> 00:17:38,473
The United States was
the great manufacturing
center of the world.

00:17:45,346 –> 00:17:49,716
Financial institutions used
to be a relatively small part
of the economy

00:17:49,718 –> 00:17:54,686
And their task was
to distribute
unused assets like,

00:17:54,688 –> 00:17:58,389
Say, bank savings
to productive activity.

00:17:58,391 –> 00:18:01,258
[man] the bank always has
on hand a reserve of money

00:18:01,260 –> 00:18:03,760
Received from
the stockholders
and depositors.

00:18:03,762 –> 00:18:06,295
On the basis of
these cash reserves,

00:18:06,297 –> 00:18:11,433
A bank can create credit.
So besides providing a safe
place for depositing money,

00:18:11,435 –> 00:18:16,471
A bank serves a community
by making additional credit
available for many purposes.

00:18:16,473 –> 00:18:20,107
For a manufacturer to meet
his payroll during slack
selling periods,

00:18:20,109 –> 00:18:23,110
For a merchant to enlarge
and remodel his store,

00:18:23,112 –> 00:18:27,347
And for many other good reasons
why people are always needing
more credit

00:18:27,349 –> 00:18:29,782
Than they have
immediately available.

00:18:29,784 –> 00:18:31,817
that’s a contribution
to the economy.

00:18:33,286 –> 00:18:35,353
Regulatory system
was established.

00:18:35,355 –> 00:18:37,555
Banks were regulated.

00:18:37,557 –> 00:18:40,291
The commercial and investment
banks were separated,

00:18:40,293 –> 00:18:46,596
Cut back their risky investment
practices that could harm
private people.

00:18:46,598 –> 00:18:51,701
There had been, remember,
no financial crashes during
the period of regulation.

00:18:51,703 –> 00:18:54,437
By the 1970s, that changed.

00:19:03,646 –> 00:19:08,349
You started getting that huge
increase in the flows of
speculative capital,

00:19:08,351 –> 00:19:10,651
Just astronomically increase,

00:19:10,653 –> 00:19:13,253
Enormous changes
in the financial sector

00:19:13,255 –> 00:19:17,490
From traditional banks
to risky investments,

00:19:17,492 –> 00:19:22,394
Complex financial instruments,
money manipulations and so on.

00:19:22,396 –> 00:19:27,865
Increasingly, the business
of the country isn’t production,
at least not here.

00:19:29,601 –> 00:19:32,869
The primary business
here is business.

00:19:32,871 –> 00:19:36,172
You can even see it
in the choice of directors.

00:19:36,174 –> 00:19:41,544
A director of a major
american corporation
back in the ’50s and ’60s

00:19:41,546 –> 00:19:46,482
Was very likely to be
an engineer, somebody who
graduated from a place like mit,

00:19:46,484 –> 00:19:48,550
Maybe industrial management.

00:19:48,552 –> 00:19:52,787
More recently, the directorship
and the top managerial positions

00:19:52,789 –> 00:19:54,889
Are people who came out
of business schools,

00:19:54,891 –> 00:19:58,392
Learned the financial trickery
of various kinds, and so on.

00:20:00,228 –> 00:20:04,397
By the 1970s,
say general electric
could make more profit

00:20:04,399 –> 00:20:08,801
Playing games with money
than you could by producing
in the United States.

00:20:12,639 –> 00:20:14,873
You have to remember
that general electric

00:20:14,875 –> 00:20:18,443
Is substantially
a financial institution today.

00:20:18,445 –> 00:20:23,748
It makes half its profits just
by moving money around
in complicated ways.

00:20:23,750 –> 00:20:28,819
And it’s very unclear that
they’re doing anything that’s
of value to the economy.

00:20:28,821 –> 00:20:32,789
So that’s one phenomenon,
what’s called financialization
of the economy.

00:20:35,793 –> 00:20:38,728
Going along with that
is the off-shoring
of production.

00:20:56,379 –> 00:20:59,280
The trade system
was reconstructed

00:20:59,282 –> 00:21:02,883
With a very explicit
design of putting

00:21:02,885 –> 00:21:06,486
Working people
in competition with one
another all over the world.

00:21:08,455 –> 00:21:13,425
And what it’s lead to
is a reduction
in the share of income

00:21:13,427 –> 00:21:16,895
On the part of working people.

00:21:16,897 –> 00:21:20,531
It’s been particularly striking
in the United States,
but it’s happening worldwide.

00:21:20,533 –> 00:21:23,467
It means that an american
worker’s in competition

00:21:23,469 –> 00:21:25,835
With the super-exploited
worker in china.

00:21:29,372 –> 00:21:32,841
Meanwhile, highly paid
professionals are protected.

00:21:32,843 –> 00:21:37,512
They’re not placed
in competition with the rest
of the world. Far from it.

00:21:37,514 –> 00:21:40,581
And, of course,
the capital is free to move.

00:21:40,583 –> 00:21:44,985
Workers aren’t free to move,
labor can’t move,
but capital can.

00:21:44,987 –> 00:21:48,755
Well, again, going back
to the classics like adam smith,

00:21:48,757 –> 00:21:52,325
As he pointed out,
free circulation of labor

00:21:52,327 –> 00:21:55,895
Is the foundation of
any free trade system,

00:21:55,897 –> 00:21:58,764
But workers are
pretty much stuck.

00:21:58,766 –> 00:22:01,633
The wealthy
and the privileged
are protected,

00:22:01,635 –> 00:22:03,801
So you get obvious consequences.

00:22:03,803 –> 00:22:06,002
And they’re recognized
and, in fact, praised.

00:22:09,673 –> 00:22:12,574
Policy is designed
to increase insecurity.

00:22:13,909 –> 00:22:16,844
Alan greenspan.
When he testified to congress,

00:22:16,846 –> 00:22:21,481
He explained his success
in running the economy

00:22:21,483 –> 00:22:26,752
As based on what he called,
“greater worker insecurity.”

00:22:26,754 –> 00:22:32,023
A typical restraint on
compensation increases has been
evident for a few years now,

00:22:32,025 –> 00:22:35,926
But as I outlined in some detail
in testimony last month,

00:22:35,928 –> 00:22:39,796
I believe that job insecurity
has played the dominant role.

00:22:39,798 –> 00:22:44,433
Keep workers insecure,
they’re going to be
under control.

00:22:44,435 –> 00:22:48,603
They are not going to ask for,
say, decent wages…

00:22:48,605 –> 00:22:50,905
Or decent working conditions…

00:22:50,907 –> 00:22:55,643
Or the opportunity of free
association, meaning unionize.

00:22:55,645 –> 00:23:00,514
Now, for the masters
of mankind, that’s fine.
They make their profits.

00:23:00,516 –> 00:23:02,949
But for the population,
it’s devastating.

00:23:05,018 –> 00:23:08,854
These two processes,
financialization and off-shoring

00:23:08,856 –> 00:23:13,491
Are part of what lead
to the vicious cycle

00:23:13,493 –> 00:23:16,760
Of concentration of wealth
and concentration of power.

00:23:25,669 –> 00:23:29,471
I’m noam chomsky
and I’m on the faculty at mit,

00:23:29,473 –> 00:23:32,574
And I’ve been getting more
and more heavily involved in

00:23:32,576 –> 00:23:34,876
Anti-war activities
for the last few years.

00:23:41,616 –> 00:23:45,118
Noam chomsky has made
two international reputations.

00:23:45,120 –> 00:23:50,123
The widest is as one of the
national leaders of american
resistance to the vietnam war.

00:23:50,125 –> 00:23:52,925
The deepest is as a professor
of linguistics,

00:23:52,927 –> 00:23:57,195
Who, before he was 40 years old,
had transformed the nature
of his subject.

00:23:59,798 –> 00:24:02,533
You are identified
with the new left,
whatever that is.

00:24:02,535 –> 00:24:05,501
You certainly have been
an activist as well as a writer.

00:24:08,204 –> 00:24:10,905
Professor noam chomsky…

00:24:10,907 –> 00:24:17,010
Is listed in anybody’s catalog
as among the half-dozen top
heroes of the new left.

00:24:17,012 –> 00:24:21,447
The standing he achieved
by adopting over the past
two or three years

00:24:21,449 –> 00:24:23,816
A series of adamant positions

00:24:23,818 –> 00:24:29,188
Rejecting at least american
foreign policy, at most
america itself.

00:24:36,562 –> 00:24:41,032
Actually this notion
anti-american is quite
an interesting one.

00:24:41,034 –> 00:24:43,768
It’s actually
a totalitarian notion.

00:24:43,770 –> 00:24:46,570
It isn’t used in free societies.

00:24:46,572 –> 00:24:52,008
So, if someone in, say,
Italy is criticizing berlusconi

00:24:52,010 –> 00:24:57,713
Or the corruption of the italian
state and so on, they’re not
called anti-italian.

00:24:57,715 –> 00:25:01,883
In fact, if they were called
anti-italian, people would
collapse in laughter

00:25:01,885 –> 00:25:04,218
In the streets
of rome or milan.

00:25:05,553 –> 00:25:08,688
In totalitarian states
the notion’s used,

00:25:08,690 –> 00:25:13,492
So in the old soviet union
dissidents were called

00:25:13,494 –> 00:25:15,660
That was the worst condemnation.

00:25:15,662 –> 00:25:20,965
In the brazilian military
dictatorship, they were
called anti-brazilian.

00:25:23,201 –> 00:25:26,203
Now, it’s true that in just
about every society,

00:25:26,205 –> 00:25:29,940
The critics are maligned
or mistreated…

00:25:29,942 –> 00:25:33,643
Different ways depending on
the nature of the society.

00:25:33,645 –> 00:25:37,679
Like in the soviet union,
say vaclav havel would be

00:25:39,181 –> 00:25:43,117
In a u.S. Dependency like
el salvador, at the same time,

00:25:43,119 –> 00:25:49,155
His counterparts would have
their brains blown out by
u.S.-Run state terrorist forces.

00:25:49,157 –> 00:25:52,791
In other societies, they’re just
condemned or vilified and so on.

00:25:52,793 –> 00:25:58,629
In the United States, one of
the terms of abuse
is “anti-american.”

00:25:58,631 –> 00:26:01,231
There’s a couple of
others, like “marxist.”

00:26:01,233 –> 00:26:04,601
There’s an array
of terms of abuse.

00:26:04,603 –> 00:26:07,704
But in the United States,
you have a very high degree
of freedom.

00:26:07,706 –> 00:26:11,307
So, if you’re vilified by some
commissars, then who cares?

00:26:11,309 –> 00:26:13,642
You go on,
you do your work anyway.

00:26:13,644 –> 00:26:18,947
These concepts only arise
in a culture where, if you

00:26:18,949 –> 00:26:22,717
State power,
and by state, I mean…

00:26:22,719 –> 00:26:26,287
More generally not just
government but state
corporate power,

00:26:26,289 –> 00:26:29,823
If you criticize
concentrated power,
you’re against the society,

00:26:29,825 –> 00:26:34,894
That’s quite striking that
it’s used in the United States.

00:26:34,896 –> 00:26:38,264
In fact, as far as I know,
it’s the only democratic society

00:26:38,266 –> 00:26:41,133
Where the concept
isn’t just ridiculed.

00:26:41,135 –> 00:26:47,906
It’s a sign of elements
of the elite culture,
which are quite ugly.

00:27:29,247 –> 00:27:35,317
The american dream, like many
ideals, was partly symbolic,
but partly real.

00:27:35,319 –> 00:27:41,255
So in the 1950s and 60s,
say, there was the biggest
growth period

00:27:41,257 –> 00:27:44,157
In american economic history.

00:27:47,361 –> 00:27:48,894
The golden age.

00:27:52,665 –> 00:27:55,967
It was pretty
egalitarian growth,

00:27:55,969 –> 00:28:00,704
So the lowest fifth of the
population was improving about
as much as the upper fifth.

00:28:02,339 –> 00:28:04,840
And there were some
welfare state measures,

00:28:04,842 –> 00:28:08,710
Which improved life
for much the population.

00:28:08,712 –> 00:28:13,281
It was, for example,
possible for a black worker

00:28:13,283 –> 00:28:16,817
To get a decent job
in an auto plant,

00:28:16,819 –> 00:28:21,687
Buy a home, get a car,
have his children go
to school and so on.

00:28:21,689 –> 00:28:23,221
And the same across the board.

00:28:26,692 –> 00:28:31,429
When the u.S. Was primarily
a manufacturing center,

00:28:31,431 –> 00:28:36,267
It had to be concerned
with its own consumers… Here.

00:28:36,269 –> 00:28:43,173
Famously, henry ford raised
the salary of his workers
so they’d be able to buy cars.

00:28:46,210 –> 00:28:50,813
When you’re moving into
an international “plutonomy,”

00:28:50,815 –> 00:28:52,981
As the banks like to call it…

00:28:52,983 –> 00:28:59,053
The small percentage
of the world’s population that’s
gathering increasing wealth…

00:28:59,055 –> 00:29:02,890
What happens to american
consumers is much less
a concern,

00:29:02,892 –> 00:29:05,792
Because most of them aren’t
going to be consuming your
products anyway,

00:29:05,794 –> 00:29:08,194
At least not on a major basis.

00:29:08,196 –> 00:29:11,163
Your goals are,
profit in the next quarter,

00:29:11,165 –> 00:29:15,300
Even if it’s based on
financial manipulations…

00:29:15,302 –> 00:29:17,101
High salary, high bonuses,

00:29:17,103 –> 00:29:19,436
Produce overseas
if you have to,

00:29:19,438 –> 00:29:24,907
And produce for the wealthy
classes here and their
counterparts abroad.

00:29:24,909 –> 00:29:26,241
What about the rest?

00:29:26,243 –> 00:29:29,210
Well, there’s a term coming
into use for them, too.

00:29:29,212 –> 00:29:31,979
They’re called
the “precariat”…

00:29:31,981 –> 00:29:34,481
Precarious proletariat…

00:29:34,483 –> 00:29:38,818
The working people
of the world who live
increasingly precarious lives.

00:29:41,021 –> 00:29:43,822
And it’s related to the attitude
toward the country altogether.

00:29:48,994 –> 00:29:53,197
During the period of great
growth of the economy…

00:29:53,199 –> 00:29:55,866
The ’50s and the ’60s,
but in fact, earlier…

00:29:55,868 –> 00:29:59,870
Taxes on the wealthy
were far higher.

00:29:59,872 –> 00:30:02,372
Corporate taxes
were much higher,

00:30:02,374 –> 00:30:04,941
Taxes on dividends
were much higher…

00:30:04,943 –> 00:30:07,810
Simply taxes on wealth
were much higher.

00:30:07,812 –> 00:30:10,746
The tax system has
been redesigned,

00:30:10,748 –> 00:30:16,118
So that the taxes that are paid
by the very wealthy are reduced

00:30:16,120 –> 00:30:20,755
And, correspondingly,
the tax burden on the rest of
the population’s increased.

00:30:34,135 –> 00:30:37,837
Now the shift is
towards trying to keep taxes

00:30:37,839 –> 00:30:40,339
Just on wages
and on consumption…

00:30:40,341 –> 00:30:44,309
Which everyone has to do,
not, say, on dividends,
which only go to the rich.

00:30:48,814 –> 00:30:50,381
The numbers are pretty striking.

00:30:59,190 –> 00:31:02,425
Now, there’s a pretext–
of course, there’s always
a pretext.

00:31:02,427 –> 00:31:07,296
The pretext in this case is,
well, that increases investment
and increases jobs,

00:31:07,298 –> 00:31:09,398
But there isn’t
any evidence for that.

00:31:09,400 –> 00:31:12,567
If you want to increase
investment, give money to the
poor and the working people.

00:31:12,569 –> 00:31:15,202
They have to keep alive,
so they spend their incomes.

00:31:15,204 –> 00:31:19,906
That stimulates productions,
stimulates investment, leads
to job growth and so on.

00:31:22,976 –> 00:31:26,445
If you’re an ideologist
for the masters,
you have a different line.

00:31:26,447 –> 00:31:28,914
And in fact, right now,
it’s almost absurd.

00:31:28,916 –> 00:31:33,485
Corporations have money
coming out of their pockets.

00:31:33,487 –> 00:31:38,022
So, in fact, general electric,
are paying zero taxes and they
have enormous profits.

00:31:38,024 –> 00:31:42,326
Let’s them take the profit
somewhere else, or defer it,
but not pay taxes,

00:31:42,328 –> 00:31:43,460
And this is common.

00:31:46,964 –> 00:31:51,367
The major american corporations
shifted the burden of sustaining
the society

00:31:51,369 –> 00:31:53,369
Onto the rest
of the population.

00:32:16,926 –> 00:32:19,093
Solidarity is quite dangerous.

00:32:19,095 –> 00:32:22,463
From the point of view of
the masters, you’re only
supposed to care about yourself,

00:32:22,465 –> 00:32:24,598
Not about other people.

00:32:24,600 –> 00:32:29,603
This is quite different from
the people they claim are their
heroes like adam smith,

00:32:29,605 –> 00:32:34,240
Who based his whole approach
to the economy on the principle
that sympathy

00:32:34,242 –> 00:32:39,245
Is a fundamental human trait,
but that has to be driven out
of people’s heads.

00:32:39,247 –> 00:32:43,949
You’ve got to be for yourself,
follow the vile maxim,
“don’t care about others,”

00:32:43,951 –> 00:32:46,418
Which is okay for
the rich and powerful,

00:32:46,420 –> 00:32:49,187
But is devastating
for everyone else.

00:32:52,157 –> 00:32:59,196
It’s taken a lot of effort
to drive these basic human
emotions out of people’s heads.

00:33:02,466 –> 00:33:06,268
And we see it today
in policy formation.

00:33:06,270 –> 00:33:08,369
For example,
in the attack on
social security.

00:33:11,373 –> 00:33:15,142
Social security is
based on a principle.

00:33:15,144 –> 00:33:17,944
It’s based on a principle
of solidarity.

00:33:17,946 –> 00:33:20,345
Solidarity, caring for others.

00:33:22,981 –> 00:33:27,150
Social security means,
“I pay payroll taxes…

00:33:27,152 –> 00:33:32,622
So that the widow across town
can get something to live on.”

00:33:32,624 –> 00:33:35,257
For much of the population,
that’s what they survive on.

00:33:36,492 –> 00:33:38,593
It’s of no use to the very rich,

00:33:38,595 –> 00:33:41,595
So therefore,
there’s a concerted
attempt to destroy it.

00:33:44,131 –> 00:33:46,232
One of the ways is defunding it.

00:33:46,234 –> 00:33:50,169
You want to destroy
some system? First defund it.

00:33:50,171 –> 00:33:53,205
Then, it won’t work.
People will be angry.
They want something else.

00:33:53,207 –> 00:33:57,575
It’s a standard technique
for privatizing some system.

00:34:01,279 –> 00:34:04,347
We see it in the attack
on public schools.

00:34:04,349 –> 00:34:09,251
Public schools are based
on the principle of solidarity.

00:34:09,253 –> 00:34:12,254
I no longer
have children in school.
They’re grown up…

00:34:12,256 –> 00:34:14,956
But the principle
of solidarity says,

00:34:14,958 –> 00:34:20,193
“I happily pay taxes so that
the kid across the street
can go to school.”

00:34:20,195 –> 00:34:23,362
Now, that’s normal
human emotion.

00:34:23,364 –> 00:34:25,364
You have to drive that
out of people’s heads.

00:34:25,366 –> 00:34:31,002
“I don’t have kids in school.
Why should I pay taxes?
Privatize it,” so on.

00:34:34,406 –> 00:34:39,410
The public education system,
all the way from kindergarten
to higher education,

00:34:39,412 –> 00:34:44,247
Is under severe attack.
That’s one of the jewels
of american society.

00:34:47,584 –> 00:34:49,318

00:34:54,423 –> 00:34:57,124
You go back to the
golden age again…

00:34:57,126 –> 00:34:59,693
The great growth period
in the ’50s and ’60s.

00:34:59,695 –> 00:35:03,663
A lot of that is based
on free public education.

00:35:03,665 –> 00:35:08,100
One of the results
of the second world war
was the gi bill of rights,

00:35:08,102 –> 00:35:12,704
Which enabled veterans,
and remember, that’s a large
part of the population then,

00:35:12,706 –> 00:35:15,606
To go to college. They wouldn’t
have been able to, otherwise.

00:35:15,608 –> 00:35:17,341
They essentially
got free education.

00:35:17,343 –> 00:35:19,676
[man] where a community,
state or nation…

00:35:19,678 –> 00:35:24,881
Courageously invests
a substantial share of its
resources in education,

00:35:24,883 –> 00:35:30,119
The investment invariable
returned in better business and
the higher standard of living.

00:35:30,121 –> 00:35:35,290
U.S. Was way in the lead
in developing extensive mass
public education at every level.

00:35:37,226 –> 00:35:40,761
By now, in more than half
the states, most of the funding

00:35:40,763 –> 00:35:43,497
For the colleges comes from
tuition, not from the state.

00:35:43,499 –> 00:35:45,699
That’s a radical change,

00:35:45,701 –> 00:35:48,368
And that’s a terrible
burden on students.

00:35:48,370 –> 00:35:52,872
It means that students,
if they don’t come from
very wealthy families,

00:35:52,874 –> 00:35:55,374
They’re going to leave
college with big debts.

00:35:55,376 –> 00:35:57,843
And if you have a big debt,
you’re trapped.

00:35:57,845 –> 00:36:01,646
I mean, maybe you wanted
to become a public interest

00:36:01,648 –> 00:36:04,281
But you’re going to have
to go into a corporate law firm

00:36:04,283 –> 00:36:07,250
To pay off those debts,
and by the time you’re
part of the culture,

00:36:07,252 –> 00:36:09,252
You’re not going
to get out of it again.

00:36:09,254 –> 00:36:11,287
And that’s true
across the board.

00:36:14,591 –> 00:36:18,460
In the 1950s, it was a much
poorer society than it is today,

00:36:18,462 –> 00:36:25,199
But, nevertheless, could easily
handle essentially free mass
higher education.

00:36:25,201 –> 00:36:29,236
Today, a much richer society
claims it doesn’t have
the resources for it.

00:36:31,472 –> 00:36:34,507
That’s just what’s going
on right before our eyes.

00:36:34,509 –> 00:36:39,544
That’s the general
attack on principles that,

00:36:39,546 –> 00:36:42,780
Not only are they humane,
they are the basis

00:36:42,782 –> 00:36:47,551
Of the prosperity
and health of this society.

00:37:15,912 –> 00:37:18,880
If you look over
the history of regulation,

00:37:18,882 –> 00:37:23,284
Say, railroad regulation,
financial regulation and so on,

00:37:23,286 –> 00:37:25,986
You find that quite commonly

00:37:25,988 –> 00:37:31,558
It’s either initiated
by the economic…

00:37:31,560 –> 00:37:35,895
that are being regulated,
or it’s supported by them.

00:37:35,897 –> 00:37:42,234
And the reason is because they
know that, sooner or later, they
can take over the regulators.

00:37:46,272 –> 00:37:50,241
And it ends up with what’s
called “regulatory capture.”

00:37:50,243 –> 00:37:53,444
The business being
regulated is in fact
running the regulators.

00:38:02,319 –> 00:38:06,754
Bank lobbyists are actually
writing the laws of financial

00:38:06,756 –> 00:38:08,889
It gets to that extreme.

00:38:08,891 –> 00:38:11,758
That’s been happening through
history and, again,

00:38:11,760 –> 00:38:15,928
It’s a pretty natural tendency
when you just look at
the distribution of power.

00:38:20,633 –> 00:38:25,970
One of the things that
expanded enormously
in the 1970s is lobbying,

00:38:25,972 –> 00:38:31,809
As the business world
moved sharply to try
to control legislation.

00:38:31,811 –> 00:38:36,780
The business world was pretty
upset by the advances in public
welfare in the ’60s,

00:38:36,782 –> 00:38:39,382
In particular by richard nixon.

00:38:39,384 –> 00:38:43,052
It’s not too well understood,
but he was the last new deal

00:38:43,054 –> 00:38:46,488
And they regarded
that as class treachery.

00:38:46,490 –> 00:38:51,359
In nixon’s administration,
you get the consumer safety

00:38:51,361 –> 00:38:54,695
Safety and health
regulations in the workplace,

00:38:54,697 –> 00:38:56,997
The epa, the environmental
protection agency.

00:38:58,899 –> 00:39:01,033
Business didn’t like it,
of course.

00:39:01,035 –> 00:39:03,935
They didn’t like the high taxes.
They didn’t like the regulation.

00:39:03,937 –> 00:39:07,872
And they began a coordinated
effort to try to overcome it.

00:39:07,874 –> 00:39:13,076
Lobbying sharply increased.
Deregulation began with a real

00:39:15,946 –> 00:39:18,781
There were no financial crashes
in the ’50s and the ’60s,

00:39:18,783 –> 00:39:23,018
Because the regulatory
apparatus of the new deal
was still in place.

00:39:27,556 –> 00:39:32,492
As it began to be dismantled
under business pressure
and political pressure,

00:39:32,494 –> 00:39:35,328
You get more and more crashes.

00:39:43,904 –> 00:39:46,105
And it goes on
right through the years.

00:39:47,474 –> 00:39:50,676
’70s it starts to begin.

00:39:50,678 –> 00:39:52,811
’80s really takes off.

00:39:52,813 –> 00:39:56,347
[announcer] congress was asked
to approve federal loan
guarantees to the auto company

00:39:56,349 –> 00:39:58,782
Of up to one and one half
billion dollars.

00:39:58,784 –> 00:40:00,784
Now, all of this
is quite safe

00:40:00,786 –> 00:40:03,887
As long as you know
the government’s going
to come to your rescue.

00:40:03,889 –> 00:40:07,357
Take, say, reagan.
Instead of letting
them pay the cost,

00:40:07,359 –> 00:40:10,660
Reagan bailed out the banks
like continental illinois,

00:40:10,662 –> 00:40:13,929
The biggest bailout
of american history at the time.

00:40:13,931 –> 00:40:18,867
He actually ended his term
with a huge financial crisis,
the savings and loan crisis,

00:40:18,869 –> 00:40:25,907
[announcer] president bush today
signed the 300 billion-dollar
savings and loan bailout bill.

00:40:25,909 –> 00:40:30,611
In 1999, regulation was
dismantled to separate

00:40:30,613 –> 00:40:33,113
Commercial banks
from investment banks.

00:40:35,015 –> 00:40:38,017
Then comes the bush
and obama bailout.

00:40:38,019 –> 00:40:40,786
[male announcer] bear stearns
is running to the feds
to stay afloat–

00:40:40,788 –> 00:40:44,689
[female announcer] president
bush today defended the decision
to bail out citigroup…

00:40:44,691 –> 00:40:49,460
Fannie mae and freddie mac
have asked for a total of three
billion dollars more…

00:40:49,462 –> 00:40:54,031
The bailout could get much
bigger, signaling deepening
troubles for the u.S. Economy.

00:40:57,902 –> 00:40:59,836
and they’re building
up the next one.

00:41:14,517 –> 00:41:20,087
Each time, the taxpayer is
called on to bail out those
who created the crisis,

00:41:20,089 –> 00:41:24,825
Increasingly the major
financial institutions.

00:41:24,827 –> 00:41:27,160
In a capitalist economy,
you wouldn’t do that.

00:41:27,162 –> 00:41:32,798
That would wipe out
the investors who made
risky investments.

00:41:32,800 –> 00:41:36,101
But the rich and powerful,
they don’t want a capitalist

00:41:36,103 –> 00:41:39,003
They want to be able to run
to the nanny state

00:41:39,005 –> 00:41:41,905
As soon as they’re in trouble,
and get bailed out
by the taxpayer.

00:41:41,907 –> 00:41:43,907
That’s called “too big to fail.”

00:41:45,709 –> 00:41:48,043
There are nobel
laureates in economics

00:41:48,045 –> 00:41:51,146
Who significantly disagree
with the course that we’re

00:41:51,148 –> 00:41:54,482
People like joe stiglitz,
paul krugman and others,

00:41:54,484 –> 00:41:57,751
And none of them
were even approached.

00:41:57,753 –> 00:42:01,121
The people picked to fix
the crisis were those who
created it,

00:42:01,123 –> 00:42:04,691
The robert rubin crowd,
the goldman sachs crowd.

00:42:04,693 –> 00:42:09,095
They created the crisis…
Are now more powerful
than before.

00:42:09,097 –> 00:42:10,830
Is that accident?

00:42:10,832 –> 00:42:15,668
Not when you pick those people
to create an economic plan.

00:42:15,670 –> 00:42:17,536
I mean, what do you
expect to happen?

00:42:21,974 –> 00:42:25,776
Meanwhile, for the poor,
let market principles prevail.

00:42:25,778 –> 00:42:27,978
Don’t expect any help
from the government.

00:42:27,980 –> 00:42:30,714
The government’s the problem,
not the solution, and so on.

00:42:30,716 –> 00:42:33,216
That’s, essentially,

00:42:33,218 –> 00:42:38,954
It has this dual character
which goes right back
in economic history.

00:42:38,956 –> 00:42:41,122
One set of rules for the rich.

00:42:41,124 –> 00:42:42,756
Opposite set
of rules for the poor.

00:42:45,793 –> 00:42:47,927
Nothing surprising about this.

00:42:47,929 –> 00:42:50,229
It’s exactly
the dynamics you expect.

00:42:50,231 –> 00:42:52,931
If the population
allows it to proceed,

00:42:52,933 –> 00:43:00,605
Until the next crash,
which is so much expected
that credit agencies,

00:43:00,607 –> 00:43:03,574
Which evaluate
the status of firms,

00:43:03,576 –> 00:43:06,643
Are now counting
into their calculations

00:43:06,645 –> 00:43:11,914
The taxpayer bailout that
they expect to come after
the next crash.

00:43:11,916 –> 00:43:16,785
Which means that the
beneficiaries of these credit
ratings like the big banks,

00:43:16,787 –> 00:43:21,656
They can borrow money more
cheaply, they can push out
smaller competitors,

00:43:21,658 –> 00:43:23,658
And you get more
and more concentration.

00:43:23,660 –> 00:43:25,826
Everywhere you look,
policies are designed this way,

00:43:25,828 –> 00:43:29,696
Which should come
as absolutely no surprise
to anyone.

00:43:29,698 –> 00:43:36,068
That’s what happens when you put
power into the hands of a narrow
sector of wealth,

00:43:36,070 –> 00:43:40,539
Which is dedicated
to increasing power for itself,
just as you’d expect.

00:43:59,558 –> 00:44:04,228
Concentration of wealth
yields concentration
of political power,

00:44:04,230 –> 00:44:09,633
Particularly so as the cost
of elections skyrockets,

00:44:09,635 –> 00:44:14,804
Which forces the political
parties into the pockets
of major corporations.

00:44:17,841 –> 00:44:22,644
The citizens united,
this was January 2009, I guess,

00:44:22,646 –> 00:44:26,581
That’s a very important
supreme court decision,

00:44:26,583 –> 00:44:29,283
But it has a history
and you got to think
about the history.

00:44:30,685 –> 00:44:34,187
The 14th amendment
has a provision that says,

00:44:34,189 –> 00:44:39,792
“no person’s rights can be
infringed without due process
of law.”

00:44:39,794 –> 00:44:43,662
And the intent, clearly,
was to protect freed slaves.

00:44:43,664 –> 00:44:46,898
Says, “okay, they’ve got
the protection of the law.”

00:44:46,900 –> 00:44:51,068
I don’t think it’s ever been
used for freed slaves,
if ever, marginally.

00:44:51,070 –> 00:44:55,639
Almost immediately, it was used
for businesses, corporations.

00:44:55,641 –> 00:44:59,009
Their rights can’t be infringed
without due process of law.

00:44:59,011 –> 00:45:02,379
So they gradually became
persons under the law.

00:45:08,318 –> 00:45:11,887
Corporations are
state-created legal fictions.

00:45:14,857 –> 00:45:16,324
Maybe they’re good,
maybe they’re bad,

00:45:16,326 –> 00:45:19,327
But to call them persons
is kind of outrageous.

00:45:19,329 –> 00:45:23,064
So they got personal rights
back about a century ago,

00:45:23,066 –> 00:45:25,166
And that extended
through the 20th century.

00:45:27,669 –> 00:45:31,204
They gave corporations rights
way beyond what persons have.

00:45:32,406 –> 00:45:35,674
So if, say,
general motors
invests in mexico,

00:45:35,676 –> 00:45:39,310
They get national rights,
the rights of the mexican

00:45:39,312 –> 00:45:44,213
While the notion of person
was expanded to include

00:45:44,215 –> 00:45:46,415
It was also restricted.

00:45:46,417 –> 00:45:49,117
If you take the
14th amendment literally,

00:45:49,119 –> 00:45:54,688
Then no undocumented alien
can be deprived of rights,
if they’re persons.

00:45:57,725 –> 00:46:01,060
Undocumented aliens
who are living here
and building your buildings,

00:46:01,062 –> 00:46:04,028
Cleaning your lawns, and so on,
they’re not persons…

00:46:06,831 –> 00:46:12,235
But general electric
is a person, an immortal
super-powerful person.

00:46:12,237 –> 00:46:18,274
This perversion of
the elementary morality,

00:46:18,276 –> 00:46:20,943
And the obvious meaning
of the law, is quite incredible.

00:46:23,346 –> 00:46:28,315
In the 1970s, the courts decided
that money is a form of speech.

00:46:30,551 –> 00:46:34,554
Buckley vs. Valeo.
Then you go on through
the years to citizens united,

00:46:34,556 –> 00:46:37,557
Which says that, the right
of free speech of corporations,

00:46:37,559 –> 00:46:41,227
Mainly to spend
as much money as they want,
that can’t be curtailed.

00:46:45,166 –> 00:46:50,836
It means that corporations,
which anyway have been
pretty much buying elections,

00:46:50,838 –> 00:46:54,039
Are now free to do it with
virtually no constraint.

00:46:54,041 –> 00:46:58,276
That’s a tremendous attack
on the residue of democracy.

00:47:02,848 –> 00:47:06,817
It’s very interesting to read
the rulings, like justice
kennedy’s swing vote.

00:47:06,819 –> 00:47:09,452
His ruling said,
“well, look, after all,

00:47:09,454 –> 00:47:14,423
“cbs is given freedom of speech,
they’re a corporation,
why shouldn’t general electric

00:47:14,425 –> 00:47:16,491
Be free to spend as much
money as they want?”

00:47:18,293 –> 00:47:21,328
I mean, it’s true that cbs
is given freedom of speech,

00:47:21,330 –> 00:47:25,498
But they’re supposed to be
performing a public service.
That’s why.

00:47:25,500 –> 00:47:27,199
That’s what the press
is supposed to be,

00:47:27,201 –> 00:47:29,301
And general electric
is trying to make money

00:47:29,303 –> 00:47:31,569
For the chief executive
and some of the shareholders.

00:47:34,172 –> 00:47:38,375
It’s an incredible decision,
and it puts the country
in a position where

00:47:38,377 –> 00:47:43,980
Business power is greatly
extended beyond what it always

00:47:43,982 –> 00:47:45,614
This is part of
that vicious cycle.

00:47:45,616 –> 00:47:49,884
The supreme court justices
are put in by reactionary

00:47:49,886 –> 00:47:53,053
Who get in there because
they’re funded by business.

00:47:53,055 –> 00:47:54,521
It’s the way the cycle works.

00:48:20,213 –> 00:48:23,949
There is one organized
force which traditionally,

00:48:23,951 –> 00:48:29,553
Plenty of flaws,
but with all its flaws,
it’s been in the forefront of…

00:48:29,555 –> 00:48:33,323
Efforts to improve the lives
of the general population.

00:48:33,325 –> 00:48:34,924
That’s organized labor.

00:48:34,926 –> 00:48:37,359
It’s also a barrier
to corporate tyranny.

00:48:37,361 –> 00:48:44,065
So, it’s the one barrier to this
vicious cycle going on, which
does lead to corporate tyranny.

00:48:53,441 –> 00:48:57,310
A major reason
for the concentrated,

00:48:57,312 –> 00:49:01,047
Almost fanatic attack on unions,
on organized labor,

00:49:01,049 –> 00:49:03,282
Is they are
a democratizing force.

00:49:05,018 –> 00:49:08,353
They provide a barrier that
defends workers’ rights,

00:49:08,355 –> 00:49:10,221
But also popular
rights generally.

00:49:17,662 –> 00:49:22,966
That interferes with
the prerogatives and power
of those who own

00:49:22,968 –> 00:49:24,934
And manage the society.

00:49:26,202 –> 00:49:29,470
I should say that anti-union

00:49:29,472 –> 00:49:33,674
Sentiment in the United States
among elites is so strong

00:49:33,676 –> 00:49:37,310
That the fundamental
core of labor rights,

00:49:37,312 –> 00:49:41,480
The basic principle
in the international
labor organization,

00:49:41,482 –> 00:49:44,216
Is the right of
free association,

00:49:44,218 –> 00:49:46,418
Which would mean
the right to form unions.

00:49:46,420 –> 00:49:49,053
The u.S. Has never
ratified that,

00:49:49,055 –> 00:49:54,624
So I think the u.S. May be
alone among major societies
in that respect.

00:49:54,626 –> 00:49:58,728
It’s considered so far out
of the spectrum of american

00:49:58,730 –> 00:50:00,362
It literally has never
been considered.

00:50:00,364 –> 00:50:03,098

00:50:03,100 –> 00:50:07,735
Remember, the u.S. Has a long
and very violent labor history

00:50:07,737 –> 00:50:10,070
As compared with
comparable societies…

00:50:12,640 –> 00:50:15,308
But the labor movement
had been very strong.

00:50:15,310 –> 00:50:21,414
By the 1920s, in a period
not unlike today, it was
virtually crushed.

00:50:21,416 –> 00:50:27,119
[man] a truck drivers strike
was climaxed by severe riots
with many casualties.

00:50:27,121 –> 00:50:33,290
Open warfare rages through
the streets of the city as 3,000
union pickets battle 700 police.

00:50:33,292 –> 00:50:36,192
Guns, tear gas, clubs
and fists bring injuries

00:50:36,194 –> 00:50:39,328
To more than 80 persons
and caused the death of two.

00:50:44,133 –> 00:50:46,233
By the mid ’30s,
it began to reconstruct.

00:50:49,738 –> 00:50:55,475
He himself was rather
sympathetic to progressive

00:50:55,477 –> 00:50:58,244
That would be in the benefit
of the general population,

00:50:58,246 –> 00:51:00,713
But he had to somehow
get it passed.

00:51:00,715 –> 00:51:06,718
So he informed labor leaders
and others, “force me to do it.”

00:51:06,720 –> 00:51:13,024
What he meant is, go out
and demonstrate, organize,

00:51:13,026 –> 00:51:15,326
Develop the labor movement.

00:51:15,328 –> 00:51:17,494
When the popular
pressure is sufficient,

00:51:17,496 –> 00:51:19,662
I’ll be able to put through
the legislation you want.

00:51:19,664 –> 00:51:25,033
I am not for a return
to that definition of liberty,

00:51:25,035 –> 00:51:29,070
Under which for many
years a free people

00:51:29,072 –> 00:51:36,076
Were being gradually
regimented into the service
of a privileged few.

00:51:36,078 –> 00:51:41,147
I prefer that broader
definition of liberty.

00:51:41,149 –> 00:51:45,117
[chomsky] so, there was kind of
a combination of sympathetic

00:51:45,119 –> 00:51:48,786
And by the mid-’30s,
very substantial popular

00:51:50,488 –> 00:51:54,791
There were industrial actions.
There were sit-down strikes,

00:51:54,793 –> 00:51:59,228
Which were very
frightening to ownership.

00:51:59,230 –> 00:52:04,199
You have to recognize
the sit-down strike is just
one step before saying,

00:52:04,201 –> 00:52:06,568
“we don’t need bosses.
We can run this by ourselves.”

00:52:13,708 –> 00:52:15,408
And business was appalled.

00:52:15,410 –> 00:52:19,378
You read the business press,
say, in the late ’30s,

00:52:19,380 –> 00:52:23,382
They were talking
about the “hazard
facing industrialists”

00:52:23,384 –> 00:52:26,818
And the “rising political
power of the masses,”

00:52:26,820 –> 00:52:28,486
Which has to be repressed.

00:52:28,488 –> 00:52:31,388
Things were on hold
during the second world war,

00:52:31,390 –> 00:52:34,457
But immediately after
the second world war,
the business offensive

00:52:34,459 –> 00:52:38,494
Began in force.
The taft-hartley act.

00:52:38,496 –> 00:52:41,864
The taft-hartley act was written
for only one purpose,

00:52:41,866 –> 00:52:47,836
To restore justice and equality
in labor-management relations.

00:52:47,838 –> 00:52:53,107
Then mccarthyism was used for
massive corporate propaganda
offensives to attack unions.

00:52:54,409 –> 00:52:56,576
It increased sharply
during the reagan years.

00:52:56,578 –> 00:52:59,712
I mean, reagan pretty much told
the business world,

00:52:59,714 –> 00:53:04,483
“if you want to illegally break
organizing efforts and strikes,
go ahead.”

00:53:04,485 –> 00:53:07,118
They are in violation
of the law,

00:53:07,120 –> 00:53:10,488
And if they do not report
for work within 48 hours,

00:53:10,490 –> 00:53:14,825
They have forfeited their jobs
and will be terminated.

00:53:14,827 –> 00:53:19,696
It continued in the ’90s and,
of course with george w. Bush,
it went through the roof.

00:53:19,698 –> 00:53:25,268
By now, less than 7% of private
sector workers have unions.

00:53:30,640 –> 00:53:35,810
The effect is that the usual
counter-force to an offensive

00:53:35,812 –> 00:53:40,414
By our highly class-conscious
business class has dissolved.

00:53:43,918 –> 00:53:47,186
Now, if you’re in
a position of power,

00:53:47,188 –> 00:53:50,556
You want to maintain
for yourself,

00:53:50,558 –> 00:53:52,424
But eliminate it
everywhere else.

00:53:52,426 –> 00:53:55,627
You go back
to the 19th century,

00:53:55,629 –> 00:53:59,263
In the early days of
the industrial revolution
in the United States,

00:53:59,265 –> 00:54:02,866
Working people were
very conscious of this.

00:54:02,868 –> 00:54:06,636
They, in fact,
overwhelmingly regarded

00:54:06,638 –> 00:54:10,706
Wage labor as not
very different
from slavery,

00:54:10,708 –> 00:54:13,508
Different only in that
it was temporary.

00:54:13,510 –> 00:54:17,244
In fact, it was such a popular
idea that it was the slogan
of the republican party.

00:54:18,546 –> 00:54:22,348
That was a very sharp

00:54:22,350 –> 00:54:24,883
In the interest of power
and privilege,

00:54:24,885 –> 00:54:28,519
It’s good to drive those ideas
out of people’s heads.

00:54:28,521 –> 00:54:31,755
You don’t want them to know
that they’re an oppressed class.

00:54:31,757 –> 00:54:35,525
So, this is one of the few
societies in which you just
don’t talk about class.

00:54:35,527 –> 00:54:39,195
In fact, the notion
of class is very simple.

00:54:39,197 –> 00:54:41,430
Who gives the orders?
Who follows them?

00:54:41,432 –> 00:54:43,598
That basically defines class.

00:54:43,600 –> 00:54:47,268
It’s more nuanced and complex,
but that’s basically it.

00:55:05,653 –> 00:55:09,255
The public relations industry,
the advertising industry,

00:55:09,257 –> 00:55:11,490
Which is dedicated
to creating consumers,

00:55:11,492 –> 00:55:14,860
It’s a phenomena that developed
in the freest countries,

00:55:14,862 –> 00:55:19,598
In britain
and the United States,
and the reason is pretty clear.

00:55:19,600 –> 00:55:22,968
It became clear by,
say, a century ago

00:55:22,970 –> 00:55:27,305
That it was not going to be
so easy to control
the population by force.

00:55:27,307 –> 00:55:28,472
Too much freedom had been won.

00:55:30,241 –> 00:55:33,676
Labor organizing, parliamentary
labor parties in many countries,

00:55:33,678 –> 00:55:36,578
Women starting to get
the franchise, and so on.

00:55:36,580 –> 00:55:38,880
So, you had to have other
means of controlling people.

00:55:38,882 –> 00:55:41,449
And it was understood
and expressed

00:55:41,451 –> 00:55:47,587
That you have to control
them by control of beliefs
and attitudes.

00:55:47,589 –> 00:55:51,724
Well, one of the best
ways to control people
in terms of attitudes

00:55:51,726 –> 00:55:58,363
Is what the great political
economist thorstein veblen
called “fabricating consumers.”

00:56:04,602 –> 00:56:07,637
If you can fabricate wants…

00:56:07,639 –> 00:56:12,975
Make obtaining things that are
just about within your reach
the essence of life,

00:56:12,977 –> 00:56:16,344
They’re going to be trapped
into becoming consumers.

00:56:18,714 –> 00:56:21,549
You read the business
press in say, 1920s,

00:56:21,551 –> 00:56:27,487
It talks about the need
to direct people to
the superficial things of life,

00:56:27,489 –> 00:56:30,623
Like “fashionable consumption”
and that’ll keep them
out of our hair.

00:56:32,559 –> 00:56:36,762
You find this doctrine
all through progressive
intellectual thought,

00:56:36,764 –> 00:56:38,430
Like walter lippmann,

00:56:38,432 –> 00:56:41,332
The major progressive
intellectual of
the 20th century.

00:56:43,702 –> 00:56:49,439
He wrote famous progressive
essays on democracy in which
his view was exactly that.

00:56:49,441 –> 00:56:51,908
“the public must be
put in their place,”

00:56:51,910 –> 00:56:54,810
So that the responsible
men can make decisions

00:56:54,812 –> 00:56:57,612
Without interference
from the “bewildered herd.”

00:57:00,449 –> 00:57:02,583
They’re to be spectators,
not participants.

00:57:02,585 –> 00:57:05,419
Then you get a properly
functioning democracy,

00:57:05,421 –> 00:57:10,824
Straight back to madison
and on to powell’s memorandum,
and so on.

00:57:10,826 –> 00:57:17,830
And the advertising industry
just exploded with this
as its goal…

00:57:17,832 –> 00:57:19,064
Fabricating consumers.

00:57:25,571 –> 00:57:28,539
And it’s done with
great sophistication.

00:57:28,541 –> 00:57:30,741
[announcer] you don’t see many
wild stallions anymore.

00:57:30,743 –> 00:57:35,111
He’s one of the last of a wild
and very singular breed.

00:57:35,912 –> 00:57:39,147
Come to marlboro country.

00:57:39,149 –> 00:57:41,582
The ideal is what you
actually see today…

00:57:43,718 –> 00:57:47,921
Where, let’s say,
teenage girls, if they have
a free Saturday afternoon,

00:57:47,923 –> 00:57:50,623
Will go walking
in the shopping mall,

00:57:50,625 –> 00:57:52,791
Not to the library
or somewhere else.

00:57:53,926 –> 00:57:57,628
The idea is to try
to control everyone,

00:57:57,630 –> 00:58:01,097
To turn the whole society
into the perfect system.

00:58:03,967 –> 00:58:09,104
Perfect system would be
a society based on a dyad,
a pair.

00:58:09,106 –> 00:58:12,507
The pair is you
and your television set,

00:58:12,509 –> 00:58:15,009
Or maybe now you
and the internet,

00:58:15,011 –> 00:58:19,713
In which that presents you
with what the proper life
would be,

00:58:19,715 –> 00:58:21,915
What kind of gadgets
you should have.

00:58:21,917 –> 00:58:24,651
And you spend your time
and effort gaining those things,

00:58:24,653 –> 00:58:27,520
Which you don’t need,
and you don’t want, and maybe
you’ll throw them away…

00:58:29,256 –> 00:58:32,023
But that’s the measure
of a decent life.

00:58:34,860 –> 00:58:38,729
What we see is in, say,
advertising on television,

00:58:38,731 –> 00:58:42,666
If you’ve ever taken
an economics course,
you know that

00:58:42,668 –> 00:58:48,805
Markets are supposed to be based
on “informed consumers making
rational choices.”

00:58:48,807 –> 00:58:52,608
Well, if we had a system
like that, a market system,

00:58:52,610 –> 00:58:57,245
Then a television ad would
consist of, say, general motors

00:58:57,247 –> 00:59:01,215
Putting up information, saying,
“here’s what we have for sale.”

00:59:01,217 –> 00:59:03,917
That’s not what
an ad for a car is.

00:59:03,919 –> 00:59:06,619
And ad for a car
is a football hero…

00:59:06,621 –> 00:59:11,690
An actress, the car doing
some crazy thing like,

00:59:11,692 –> 00:59:13,692
Going up a mountain
or something.

00:59:13,694 –> 00:59:19,897
The point is to create
uninformed consumers who
will make irrational choices.

00:59:19,899 –> 00:59:22,566
That’s what advertising
is all about,

00:59:22,568 –> 00:59:28,004
And when the same institution,
the pr system,

00:59:28,006 –> 00:59:30,272
Runs elections,
they do it the same way.

00:59:36,545 –> 00:59:39,146
They want to create
an uniformed electorate,

00:59:39,148 –> 00:59:43,617
Which will make irrational
choices, often against their
own interests,

00:59:43,619 –> 00:59:47,820
And we see it every time
one of these extravaganzas
take place.

00:59:49,856 –> 00:59:51,957
Right after the election,

00:59:51,959 –> 00:59:57,095
President obama won an award
from the advertising industry

00:59:57,097 –> 00:59:59,097
For the best marketing campaign.

00:59:59,099 –> 01:00:01,966
It wasn’t reported here,
but if you go to the
international business press,

01:00:01,968 –> 01:00:05,069
Executives were euphoric.

01:00:05,071 –> 01:00:11,808
They said, “we’ve been selling
candidates, marketing candidates
like toothpaste

01:00:11,810 –> 01:00:15,611
Ever since reagan,
and this is the greatest
achievement we have.”

01:00:15,613 –> 01:00:18,947
I don’t usually agree
with sarah palin,

01:00:18,949 –> 01:00:24,718
But when she mocks what she
calls the “hopey-changey” stuff,
she’s right.

01:00:24,720 –> 01:00:29,322
First of all, obama didn’t
really promise anything.
That’s mostly illusion.

01:00:29,324 –> 01:00:32,091
You go back to the campaign
rhetoric and take a look at it.

01:00:32,093 –> 01:00:36,795
There’s very little discussion
of policy issues, and for very
good reason,

01:00:36,797 –> 01:00:42,133
Because public opinion on policy
is sharply disconnected

01:00:42,135 –> 01:00:46,670
From what the two-party
leadership and their
financial backers want.

01:00:48,607 –> 01:00:54,744
Is focused on the private
interests that fund
the campaigns…

01:00:56,179 –> 01:00:58,146
With the public
being marginalized.

01:01:21,636 –> 01:01:26,239
One of the leading political
scientists, martin gilens,
came out with a study

01:01:26,241 –> 01:01:29,175
Of the relation between
public attitudes
and public policy.

01:01:29,177 –> 01:01:36,014
What he shows is that about 70%
of the population has no way
of influencing policy.

01:01:36,016 –> 01:01:38,249
They might as well be
in some other country…

01:01:39,651 –> 01:01:40,884
And the population knows it.

01:01:43,954 –> 01:01:50,225
What it’s led to is
a population that’s angry,
frustrated, hates institutions.

01:01:51,927 –> 01:01:56,029
It’s not acting
constructively to try
to respond to this.

01:01:58,098 –> 01:02:01,033
There is popular
mobilization and activism,

01:02:01,035 –> 01:02:03,101
But in very self-destructive

01:02:04,903 –> 01:02:08,405
It’s taking the form
of unfocused anger,

01:02:08,407 –> 01:02:11,841
Attacks on one another,
and on vulnerable targets.

01:02:11,843 –> 01:02:13,842
That’s what happens
in cases like this.

01:02:17,413 –> 01:02:21,816
It is corrosive of social
relations, but that’s the point.

01:02:21,818 –> 01:02:26,120
The point is to make people
hate and fear each other,

01:02:26,122 –> 01:02:28,122
And look out only
for themselves,

01:02:28,124 –> 01:02:29,790
And don’t do anything
for anyone else.

01:02:34,061 –> 01:02:38,831
One place you see it
strikingly is on April 15th.

01:02:38,833 –> 01:02:42,167
April 15th is kind of a measure,
the day you pay your taxes,

01:02:42,169 –> 01:02:45,370
Of how democratic
the society is.

01:02:45,372 –> 01:02:49,140
If a society is
really democratic,

01:02:49,142 –> 01:02:52,243
April 15th would be
a day of celebration.

01:02:52,245 –> 01:02:55,045
It’s a day when
the population gets together,

01:02:55,047 –> 01:03:01,751
Decides to fund the programs
and activities that they have
formulated and agreed upon.

01:03:01,753 –> 01:03:04,820
What could be better than that?
So, you should celebrate it.

01:03:04,822 –> 01:03:06,221
It’s not the way it is
in the United States.

01:03:06,223 –> 01:03:09,023
It’s a day of mourning.

01:03:09,025 –> 01:03:13,994
It’s a day in which some alien
power that has nothing to do
with you,

01:03:13,996 –> 01:03:17,197
Is coming down to steal
our hard-earned money,

01:03:17,199 –> 01:03:19,499
And you do everything you can
to keep them from doing it.

01:03:21,168 –> 01:03:24,170
That is a kind of measure
of the extent to which,

01:03:24,172 –> 01:03:27,839
At least in popular
consciousness, democracy
is actually functioning.

01:03:29,007 –> 01:03:30,340
Not a very attractive picture.

01:03:48,458 –> 01:03:52,327
The tendencies that we’ve
been describing within
american society,

01:03:52,329 –> 01:03:57,065
Unless they’re reversed,
it’s going to be an extremely
ugly society.

01:03:57,067 –> 01:04:00,101
I mean, a society
that’s based on

01:04:00,103 –> 01:04:05,072
Adam smith’s vile maxim,
“all for myself,
nothing for anyone else.”

01:04:10,311 –> 01:04:14,314
A society in which
normal human instincts
and emotion

01:04:14,316 –> 01:04:18,551
Of sympathy, solidarity,
mutual support, in which
they’re driven out…

01:04:22,122 –> 01:04:25,157
That’s a society so ugly,
I don’t even want to know
who’d live in it.

01:04:25,159 –> 01:04:27,325
I wouldn’t want my children to.

01:04:32,064 –> 01:04:36,934
[chomsky on tape]
if the society is based on
control by private wealth,

01:04:36,936 –> 01:04:40,570
It will reflect the values
that it, in fact, does reflect.

01:04:43,373 –> 01:04:47,309
The value that is greed,
and the desire to maximize
personal gain,

01:04:47,311 –> 01:04:54,949
Now, any society, a small
society based on that principle
is ugly, but it can survive.

01:04:54,951 –> 01:04:58,852
A global society based
on that principle is headed
for massive destruction.

01:05:04,190 –> 01:05:09,260
I don’t think we’re smart
enough to design,

01:05:09,262 –> 01:05:14,597
In any detail what
a perfectly just and free
society would be like.

01:05:14,599 –> 01:05:17,199
I think we can give
some guidelines

01:05:17,201 –> 01:05:22,404
And, more significant,
we can ask how we can
progress in that direction.

01:05:26,876 –> 01:05:31,446
John dewey, the leading
social philosopher in
the late 20th century,

01:05:31,448 –> 01:05:34,882
He argued that until
all institutions,

01:05:34,884 –> 01:05:38,919
Production, commerce, media,

01:05:38,921 –> 01:05:43,089
Unless they’re all under
participatory democratic

01:05:43,091 –> 01:05:47,092
We will not have
a functioning
democratic society.

01:05:49,061 –> 01:05:52,930
As he put it, “policy will be
the shadow cast by business
over society.”

01:05:57,402 –> 01:05:59,069
Well, it’s essentially true.

01:06:10,180 –> 01:06:14,316
Where there are structures
of authority, domination
and hierarchy,

01:06:14,318 –> 01:06:19,454
Somebody gives the orders,
somebody takes them,
they are not self-justifying.

01:06:19,456 –> 01:06:23,424
They have to justify themselves.
They have a burden of proof
to meet.

01:06:30,531 –> 01:06:34,634
Well, if you take a close look,
usually you find they can’t
justify themselves.

01:06:34,636 –> 01:06:37,169
If they can’t, we ought
to be dismantling them.

01:06:38,938 –> 01:06:42,006
Trying to expand the domain
of freedom and justice

01:06:42,008 –> 01:06:46,076
By dismantling that form
of illegitimate authority.

01:06:46,078 –> 01:06:49,079
And, in fact,
progress over the years,

01:06:49,081 –> 01:06:53,216
What we all thankfully
recognized as progress,
has been just that.

01:06:53,218 –> 01:06:57,687
[chomsky on tape] the way things
change is because lots of people
are working all the time.

01:06:57,689 –> 01:07:02,091
They’re working in their
communities, in their workplace,
or wherever they happen to be,

01:07:02,093 –> 01:07:08,430
And they’re building up
the basis for popular movements,
which are going to make changes.

01:07:08,432 –> 01:07:11,065
That’s the way everything
has ever happened in history.

01:07:12,934 –> 01:07:15,602
Take, say,
freedom of speech…

01:07:15,604 –> 01:07:18,705
One of the real achievements
of american society,

01:07:18,707 –> 01:07:22,141
It’s first in the world in that.
It’s not in the bill of rights.

01:07:22,143 –> 01:07:24,510
It’s not in the constitution.

01:07:24,512 –> 01:07:30,048
Freedom of speech issues began
to come to the supreme court
in the early 20th century.

01:07:31,383 –> 01:07:34,718
The major contributions
came in the 1960s.

01:07:34,720 –> 01:07:38,488
One of the leading ones
was a case in the civil
rights movement.

01:07:38,490 –> 01:07:41,557
Well, by then,
you had a mass
popular movement,

01:07:41,559 –> 01:07:44,359
Which was demanding rights,

01:07:44,361 –> 01:07:47,562
Refusing to back down.
And in that context,

01:07:47,564 –> 01:07:51,632
The supreme court did establish
a pretty high standard
for freedom of speech.

01:07:51,634 –> 01:07:54,335
Or take, say, women’s rights.

01:07:54,337 –> 01:07:57,838
Women also began identifying
oppressive structures,

01:07:57,840 –> 01:08:02,642
Refusing to accept them,
bringing other people
to join with them.

01:08:02,644 –> 01:08:06,145
Well, that’s how rights are won.

01:08:06,147 –> 01:08:10,149
To a non-trivial extent,
I’ve also spent a lot
of my life in activism.

01:08:10,151 –> 01:08:15,320
That doesn’t show up publicly,
but, actually, I’m not terribly
good at it…

01:08:15,322 –> 01:08:21,726
[chomsky on tape] I think that
we can see quite clearly some
very, very serious defects

01:08:21,728 –> 01:08:25,362
And flaws in our society,
our level of culture,
our institutions,

01:08:25,364 –> 01:08:29,599
Which are going to have to be
corrected by operating outside
of the framework

01:08:29,601 –> 01:08:31,434
That is commonly accepted.

01:08:31,436 –> 01:08:34,203
I think we’re going to have
to find new ways of political

01:08:37,140 –> 01:08:40,641
But the activists are the people
who have created the rights that
we enjoy.

01:08:42,176 –> 01:08:44,477
They’re not only carrying out…

01:08:44,479 –> 01:08:47,646
Policies based on information
that they’re receiving,

01:08:47,648 –> 01:08:49,714
But also contributing
to the understanding.

01:08:49,716 –> 01:08:51,682
it’s a reciprocal process.

01:08:54,252 –> 01:08:56,419
You try to do things.
You learn.

01:08:56,421 –> 01:08:58,187
You learn about what
the world is like,

01:08:58,189 –> 01:09:02,124
That feeds back
to the understanding
of how to go on.

01:09:05,495 –> 01:09:07,596
There’s huge opportunities.

01:09:07,598 –> 01:09:11,465
It is a very free society,
still the freest in the world.

01:09:12,900 –> 01:09:16,435
Government has very
limited capacity to coerce.

01:09:16,437 –> 01:09:20,906
Corporate business may try
to coerce, but they don’t
have the mechanisms.

01:09:20,908 –> 01:09:25,243
So, there’s a lot that can be
done if people organize,
struggle for their rights

01:09:25,245 –> 01:09:28,445
As they’ve done in the past,
and can win many victories.

01:09:29,747 –> 01:09:31,280
[audience applauding]

01:09:41,290 –> 01:09:46,694
Well, my close friend
for many years,
the late howard zinn…

01:09:49,330 –> 01:09:51,230
To put it in his words that,

01:09:51,232 –> 01:09:56,935
“what matters is the countless
small deeds of unknown people,

01:09:56,937 –> 01:10:02,306
Who lay the basis
for the significant events
that enter history.”

01:10:04,475 –> 01:10:07,210
They’re the ones who’ve
done things in the past.

01:10:07,212 –> 01:10:09,278
They’re the ones who’ll
have to do it in the future.

Force and Opinion

Noam Chomsky

Z Magazine, July-August, 1991

people are born free but are everywhere in chains, seduced by the illusions of the civil society that is created by the rich to guarantee their plunder.- Rousseau




The manufacture of consent… is a revolution in the practice of democracy – Walter Lippman, “Public Opinion”, 1921.

Noam Chomsky’s Manufacturing Consent argues about mass media in America and their relation to culture, society and the existing power structure.

[Background]: Hegemony refers to predominance or the preponderant influence of one state over another. A ruling or elite class dominates at the level of ideas, thus undermining any consciousness of change.According to Antonio Gramsci;
hegemony accounts for why people are willing to find a niche in existing society rather than rebel in the manner predicted by Karl Marx.In America, these constraints are inherited in the following:

  1. from social structure, and
  2. in governmental organisation

— and together they discourage alternative strategies of action. In effect, people participate in their own domination. Media provide the information.]The video shows Chomsky’s guiding belief to be that a decent society should maximize human need for creative work — not treat people as cogs in a machine so that the power elite can maintain control, continue private ownership of public resources and increase profits — all the while managing media content (while preserving the myth of a free press).This deprives a community of what Walter Lippmann called;

“the means to detect lies.”

(Recall Postman’s quote in “Amusing Ourselves to Death,” Chapter 7).Real democracy, he believes, would be one in which people participate in the political decision-making and in related economic decisions.

Chomsky asserts that America has a system of indoctrination (including a system of propaganda imposed largely by media).

He believes that the hope lies with ordinary people and in the understanding that all changes in history have come because people build a foundation for change at the grassroots level.

Ordinary people are very capable of understanding the world, yet must work TOGETHER to get beyond the imposed information and strive to act in accordance with their own decent interests and develop independent minds. (Omnia Sunt Communia?)

Concision — Noam Chomsky’s concept describing how mainstream media content is structured so that it forces those with dissenting voices to limit scope of answers to brief thoughts and soundbites that fit easily between two TV ads

Regarding Thought Control in a Democratic Society

Chomsky makes these points:

  1. Propaganda is to democracy, what violence is to a dictatorship.
  2. Ordinary people have remarkable creativity.
  3. People have a fundamental need for creative work, which is not being met in systems where people are like cogs in a machine or, machine coding of a microprocessor.
  4. What would make more sense as a way to govern is a form of rationalist-libertarian socialism — not one that increasingly functions without public input. Chomsky advocates a system where a community and its members run things in a democratic fashion and whose people do not function as some sort of wage slaves.
  5. People need to be able to detect forms of authority and coercion and challenge those that are not legitimate.
  6. The major form of authority that needs challenging is the system of private control over public resources.
  7. The First Amendment means that democracy requires free access to ideas and opinions.
  8. Democracy in America is not functioning in an ideal sense but more in the sense that Lippmann noted in Public Opinion (where a specialised class of about 20 percent of the people — but who are also a target of propaganda — manages democratic functioning) and, in effect, are under control of a power elite, who more or less own the institutions. The masses of people (80 percent) are marginalised, diverted and controlled by what he calls Necessary Illusions.
  9. “Manufacturing consent” is related to the understanding that indoctrination is the essence of propaganda.
    In a “democratic” society indoctrination occurs when the techniques of control of a propaganda model are imposed — which means imposing “Necessary Illusions“.

    Chomsky’s “Propaganda Model” says;
    American media have “filters” — ownership, advertising, news makers, news shapers — which together emphasise institutional memory, limited debate and media content emphasising the interests of those in control.

Chomsky used a CASE STUDY of how American media covered two foreign atrocities, Cambodia and East Timor, to illustrate the propaganda model at work — mainstream media (New York Times was the example used) showed bias in favour of the status quo and power elites and did not covered both atrocities in the same manner, by paying extensive attention to the one (Cambodia 1975-79) and ignoring the other (East Timor 1975-79).

If media were not an instrument of propaganda, they would have covered each equally.When media news coverage of issues is biased in favour of the status quo, these are the results:

  1. ownership of media is held by major corporations with interests and goals similar to power elite elements of society
  2. people with different views, “dissenting voices,” are not heard much
  3. the breadth of debate is limited
  4. the official stance and institutional memory prevail and become history
  5. people’s interest and attention are often diverted away from issues about which they could become concerned

These attributes come to limit a society in part because mainstream mass media play their part by imposing what Chomsky calls Necessary Illusions, which make certain the masses of the populace won’t become curious and involved in the political process and will continue submitting to the “civil rule” of the power elite (maintaining the status quo) — thus,
the masses (80%) are marginalised and diverted while the political class (20% who vote and participate in democracy) are indoctrinated into the status quo.
This system is not a conspiracy but is a HEGEMONIC system of sorts, working with propaganda, wherein people do not get all the important information that may arouse that curiosity and prompt them to get involved and create changes.

Chomsky’s concept of NECESSARY ILLUSIONS is linked to power elites dominating how life happens, with part of the population — about 20% who make up the political class and are expected to participate as cultural managers in a limited fashion — are indoctrinated, and most people — the other 80% of the population — are marginalized, diverted from political awareness and participation in self-governing, and reduced to apathy so they don’t vote or take charge. Media are a tool of society’s power elites and owned and controlled by them and are used to impose those iIllusions that are Necessary to keep people diverted from the political process.
[David Hume asserted hundreds of years ago that the power always rests with the people but that they don’t act because they are oppressed or manipulated]

Thus, indoctrination of the political class and diversion of the masses make up the essence of the democracy practiced in the U.S. (Chomsky notes also that there is no correlation between the internal freedoms in a society and violent external behavior — and that all governments are ruthless to the extent that they are powerful.)

Major media (New York Times, Washington Post, TV networks, AP) shape our perception of the world by serving as Agenda Setters, Chomsky says.

Media allow some dissenting voices but marginalize them via constraints such as CONCISION, Chomsky’s concept saying in mainstream media content, ideas must be stated briefly so it can fill up the TV content between commercials or fit in the print media newshole). Thus, dissenting views are mostly disallowed because they take longer to explain and need more complete evidence.

Chomsky asserts that in order to break free, citizens must take two actions:

  1. They must seek out information from ALTERNATIVE MEDIA (media outside the mainstream and usually having a particular point of view)

  2. they must move toward change by becoming engaged in community action — because people can use their ordinary intelligence to make changes in their lives and communities. Grassroots movements begin there.

People can organize to begin grass roots momentum to bring about wider change — but Chomsky says people must realize soon that the world is not an infinite resource and an infinite garbage can. In these ways, people can fight society’s tendency to isolate them from collective action and activism.

Chomsky says it is “profoundly contemptuous of democracy” when the American political system has stage-managed elections and uses manipulation such as testing phrases to determine their likely effect on audiences.

Chomsky argues that people need to work to develop independent minds — maybe in part by forming COMMUNITY action groups with others with parallel interests and values, not in isolation, which is where the present system tends to keep people.

Chomsky says the present conventional MYTH is that individual material gain is praiseworthy. Instead, people must concern themselves with COMMUNITY INTERESTS [which now suggests the global community] — and that may mean a spiritual transformation to help people to conceive of themselves differently.

Chomsky argues that America and the world are in deep trouble and that
2 POSSIBILITIES EXIST regarding America’s future and the future for a global community held hostage:
1. The general population will take control of its own destiny
2. Or — there will be no destiny to control.


In Chomsky’s words concluding “Manufacturing Consent”:
“The question, in brief, is whether democracy and freedom are values to be preserved or threats to be avoided [as they have been until now]. In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are … essential to survival.””The driving force of modern industrialized civilization has been individual material gain. It has long been understood that a society based on this principle will destroy itself in time. It can only persist with whatever suffering and injustice it entails as long as it is possible to pretend that the destructive forces humans create are limited, that the world is an infinite resource, [and] is an infinite garbage can.

“At this stage of history, one of two things is possible: Either the general population will take control of its own destiny and will concern itself with community interests guided by values of solidarity and sympathy and concern for others, or alternativ ely there will be no destiny to control.

“As long as some specialized class is in position of authority, it is going to set policy in the special interest it serves. But, the conditions of survival and justice require rational, special planning in the interest of the community of the whole (and by now that means the global community).

“The question is whether privileged elites should dominate mass communication and should use this power as they tell us they must, namely to impose NECESSARY ILLUSIONS to manipulate and deceive [whom THEY believe are] the stupid majority and remove them from the public arena. “The question, in brief, is whether democracy and freedom are values to be preserved or threats to be avoided. In this possibly terminal phase of human existence, democracy and freedom are more than values to be treasured; they may be essential to survival.”

So, Chomsky says, all states are violent to the extent they are powerful and that there is little correlation between internal “freedoms” in a society and violent external behaviour.The modern American industrial civilisation and the media system (which suggests a propaganda model) work because people don’t have the time to work and carry out the research to get the information necessary to create change.
But, the information is present.Chomsky says, he does not have the answers but we should consider moving toward some sort of libertarian-socialist democracy in which our economic institutions would be run by the people. He suggests this as an anarcho-syndicalist model. In this way, we would end private control over public resources – which are finite.To achieve change AND OVERCOME THE EFFECTIVENESS OF THE PROPAGANDA MODEL, Chomsky says, we need to rely in part on activism and alternative media.We must develop means of intellectual self-defense.
We must develop independent minds.
We need to review a wide range of press (or do so in conjunction with others), including alternative media — and work at the community level in organisations that may have different focuses but that have similar values.
We must become human participants in our social and political system and work to make a difference.Given full information, ordinary people acting on their best impulse can govern themselves.

Note: Chomsky’s ideas that touch on solutions such as alternative media sources, collective action, media literacy, and use of the intellect have similarity to solutions offered by Media Education Foundation videos. By John Pilger on October 28, 2016.

A silent war continues, led by the west, ignored by the media, writes John Pilger.
The American journalist, Edward Bernays, is often described as the man who invented modern propaganda.
The nephew of Sigmund Freud, the pioneer of psycho-analysis, it was Bernays who coined the term “public relations” as a euphemism for spin and its deceptions.
In 1929, he persuaded feminists to promote cigarettes for women by smoking in the New York Easter Parade – behaviour then considered outlandish.
One feminist, Ruth Booth, declared, “Women! Light another torch of freedom! Fight another sex taboo!”
Bernays’ influence extended far beyond advertising. His greatest success was his role in convincing the American public to join the slaughter of the First World War. The secret, he said, was “engineering the consent” of people in order to “control and regiment [them]according to our will without their knowing about it”.
He described this as “the true ruling power in our society” and called it an “invisible government”.
Today, the invisible government has never been more powerful and less understood. In my career as a journalist and film-maker, I have never known propaganda to insinuate our lives as it does now, and to go unchallenged.
Imagine two cities. Both are under siege by the forces of the government of that country. Both cities are occupied by fanatics, who commit terrible atrocities, such as beheading people.
But there is a vital difference. In one siege, the government soldiers are described as liberators by Western reporters embedded with them, who enthusiastically report their battles and air strikes. There are front page pictures of these heroic soldiers giving a V-sign for victory.
There is scant mention of civilian casualties.
(IMAGE: The U.S. Army, Flickr)
(IMAGE: The U.S. Army, Flickr)
In the second city – in another country nearby – almost exactly the same thing is happening. Government forces are laying siege to a city controlled by the same breed of fanatics.
The difference is that these fanatics are supported, supplied and armed by “us” – by the United States and Britain. They even have a media centre that is funded by Britain and America.
Another difference is that the government soldiers laying siege to this city are the bad guys, condemned for assaulting and bombing the city – which is exactly what the good soldiers do in the first city.
Confusing? Not really.
Such is the basic double standard that is the essence of propaganda. I am referring, of course, to the current siege of the city of Mosul by the government forces of Iraq, who are backed by the United States and Britain, and to the siege of Aleppo by the government forces of Syria, backed by Russia.
One is good; the other is bad.
What is seldom reported is that both cities would not be occupied by fanatics and ravaged by war if Britain and the United States had not invaded Iraq in 2003.
That criminal enterprise was launched on lies strikingly similar to the propaganda that now distorts our understanding of the civil war in Syria.
Without this drumbeat of propaganda dressed up as news, the monstrous ISIS and Al-Qaida and al-Nusra and the rest of the jihadist gang might not exist, and the people of Syria might not be fighting for their lives today.
Some may remember in 2003 a succession of BBC reporters turning to the camera and telling us that Blair was “vindicated” for what turned out to be the crime of the century. The US television networks produced the same validation for George W. Bush. Fox News brought on Henry Kissinger to effuse over Colin Powell’s fabrications.
Former US president George W Bush (IMAGE: Peter Stevens, Flickr).
Former US president George W Bush (IMAGE: Peter Stevens, Flickr).
The same year, soon after the invasion, I filmed an interview in Washington with Charles Lewis, the renowned American investigative journalist. I asked him,
“What would have happened if the freest media in the world had seriously challenged what turned out to be crude propaganda?”
He replied that if journalists had done their job, “there is a very, very good chance we would not have gone to war in Iraq”.
It was a shocking statement, and one supported by other famous journalists to whom I put the same question – Dan Rather of CBS, David Rose of the Observer and journalists and producers in the BBC, who wished to remain anonymous.
In other words, had journalists done their job, had they challenged and investigated the propaganda instead of amplifying it, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children would be alive today, and
there would be no ISIS and no siege of Aleppo or Mosul.
There would have been no atrocity on the London Underground on 7th July 2005.
There would have been no flight of millions of refugees;
there would be no miserable camps.
When the terrorist atrocity happened in Paris last November, President Francoise Hollande immediately sent planes to bomb Syria – and more terrorism followed, predictably, the product of Hollande’s bombast about France being “at war” and “showing no mercy”.
That state violence and jihadist violence feed off each other is the truth that no national leader has the courage to speak.
“When the truth is replaced by silence,” said the Soviet dissident Yevtushenko, “the silence is a lie.”
The attack on Iraq, the attack on Libya, the attack on Syria happened because the leader in each of these countries was not a puppet of the West. The human rights record of a Saddam or a Gaddafi was irrelevant. They did not obey orders and surrender control of their country.
The same fate awaited Slobodan Milosevic once he had refused to sign an “agreement” that demanded the occupation of Serbia and its conversion to a market economy. His people were bombed, and he was prosecuted in The Hague.
Independence of this kind is intolerable.
As WikLeaks has revealed, it was only when the Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in 2009 rejected an oil pipeline, running through his country from Qatar to Europe, that he was attacked.
From that moment, the CIA planned to destroy the government of Syria with jihadist fanatics – the same fanatics currently holding the people of Mosul and eastern Aleppo hostage.
Why is this not news? The former British Foreign Office official Carne Ross, who was responsible for operating sanctions against Iraq, told me: “We would feed journalists factoids of sanitised intelligence, or we would freeze them out. That is how it worked.”
The West’s medieval client, Saudi Arabia – to which the US and Britain sell billions of dollars’ worth of arms – is at present destroying Yemen, a country so poor that in the best of times, half the children are malnourished.
Look on YouTube and you will see the kind of massive bombs – “our” bombs – that the Saudis use against dirt-poor villages, and against weddings, and funerals.
The explosions look like small atomic bombs. The bomb aimers in Saudi Arabia work side-by-side with British officers.
This fact is not on the evening news.
Propaganda is most effective when our consent is engineered by those with a fine education – Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, Columbia – and with careers on the BBC, the Guardian, the New York Times, the Washington Post.
These organisations are known as the liberal media.
They present themselves as enlightened, progressive tribunes of the moral zeitgeist.
They are anti-racist, pro-feminist and pro-LGBT.
And they love war.
While they speak up for feminism, they support rapacious wars that deny the rights of countless women, including the right to life.
In 2011, Libya, then a modern state, was destroyed on the pretext that Muammar Gaddafi was about to commit genocide on his own people. That was the incessant news; and there was no evidence. It was a lie.
An anti-Gaddafi rally, Libya 2011. (IMAGE: mojomogwai, Flickr)
An anti-Gaddafi rally, Libya 2011. (IMAGE: mojomogwai, Flickr)
In fact, Britain, Europe and the United States wanted what they like to call “regime change” in Libya, the biggest oil producer in Africa.
Gaddafi’s influence in the continent and, above all, his independence were intolerable.
So he was murdered with a knife in his rear by fanatics, backed by America, Britain and France.
Hillary Clinton cheered his gruesome death for the camera, declaring, “We came, we saw, he died!”
The destruction of Libya was a media triumph.
As the war drums were beaten, Jonathan Freedland wrote in the Guardian: “Though the risks are very real, the case for intervention remains strong.”
Intervention – what a polite, benign, Guardian word, whose real meaning, for Libya, was death and destruction.
According to its own records, Nato launched 9,700 “strike sorties” against Libya, of which more than a third were aimed at civilian targets. They included missiles with uranium warheads.
Look at the photographs of the rubble of Misurata and Sirte, and the mass graves identified by the Red Cross.
The UNICEF report on the children killed says, “most [of them]under the age of 10”.
As a direct consequence, Sirte became the capital of ISIS.
Ukraine is another media triumph. Respectable liberal newspapers such as the New York Times, the Washington Post and the Guardian, and mainstream broadcasters such as the BBC, NBC, CBS, CNN have played a critical role in conditioning their viewers to accept a new and dangerous cold war.
All have misrepresented events in Ukraine as a malign act by Russia when, in fact, the coup in Ukraine in 2014 was the work of the United States, aided by Germany and Nato.
This inversion of reality is so pervasive that Washington’s military intimidation of Russia is not news; it is suppressed behind a smear and scare campaign of the kind I grew up with during the first cold war. Once again, the Ruskies are coming to get us, led by another Stalin, whom The Economist depicts as the devil.
The suppression of the truth about Ukraine is one of the most complete news blackouts I can remember. The fascists who engineered the coup in Kiev are the same breed that backed the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941.
Of all the scares about the rise of fascist anti-Semitism in Europe, no leader ever mentions the fascists in Ukraine – except Vladimir Putin, but he does not count.
Russian president Vladimir Putin. (IMAGE: IoSonoUnaFotoCamera, Flickr).
Russian president Vladimir Putin. (IMAGE: IoSonoUnaFotoCamera, Flickr).
Many in the Western media have worked hard to present the ethnic Russian-speaking population of Ukraine as outsiders in their own country, as agents of Moscow, almost never as Ukrainians seeking a federation within Ukraine and as Ukrainian citizens resisting a foreign-orchestrated coup against their elected government.
There is almost the joie d’esprit of a class reunion of warmongers. The drum-beaters of the Washington Post inciting war with Russia are the very same editorial writers who published the lie that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.
To most of us, the American presidential campaign is a media freak show, in which Donald Trump is the arch villain.
But Trump is loathed by those with power in the United States for reasons that have little to do with his obnoxious behaviour and opinions. To the invisible government in Washington, the unpredictable Trump is an obstacle to America’s design for the 21stcentury.
This is to maintain the dominance of the United States and to subjugate Russia, and, if possible, China.
To the militarists in Washington, the real problem with Trump is that, in his lucid moments, he seems not to want a war with Russia; he wants to talk with the Russian president, not fight him; he says he wants to talk with the president of China.
In the first debate with Hillary Clinton, Trump promised not to be the first to introduce nuclear weapons into a conflict. He said, “I would certainly not do first strike. Once the nuclear alternative happens, it’s over.” That was not news.
Did he really mean it? Who knows? He often contradicts himself. But what is clear is that Trump is considered a serious threat to the status quo maintained by the vast national security machine that runs the United States, regardless of who is in the White House.
The CIA wants him beaten.
The Pentagon wants him beaten.
The media wants him beaten.
Even his own party wants him beaten.
He is a threat to the rulers of the world – unlike Clinton who has left no doubt she is prepared to go to war with nuclear-armed Russia and China.
US Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump. (IMAGE: Gage Skidmore, Flickr)
US Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump. (IMAGE: Gage Skidmore, Flickr)
Clinton has the form, as she often boasts. Indeed, her record is proven. As a senator, she backed the bloodbath in Iraq. When she ran against Obama in 2008, she threatened to “totally obliterate” Iran. As Secretary of State, she colluded in the destruction of governments in Libya and Honduras and set in train the baiting of China.
She has now pledged to support a No Fly Zone in Syria — a direct provocation for war with Russia. Clinton may well become the most dangerous president of the United States in my lifetime –a distinction for which the competition is fierce.
Without a shred of evidence, she has accused Russia of supporting Trump and hacking her emails. Released by WikiLeaks, these emails tell us that what Clinton says in private, in speeches to the rich and powerful, is the opposite of what she says in public.
That is why silencing and threatening Julian Assange is so important. As the editor of WikiLeaks, Assange knows the truth.
And let me assure those who are concerned, he is well, and WikiLeaks is operating on all cylinders.
Today, the greatest build-up of American-led forces since World War Two is under way – in the Caucasus and eastern Europe, on the border with Russia, and in Asia and the Pacific, where China is the target.
Keep that in mind when the presidential election circus reaches its finale on November 8th, If the winner is Clinton, a Greek chorus of witless commentators will celebrate her coronation as a great step forward for women. None will mention Clinton’s victims:
the women of Syria,
the women of Iraq,
the women of Libya.
None will mention the civil defence drills being conducted in Russia. None will recall Edward Bernays’ “torches of freedom”.
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. (IMAGE: iprimages, Flickr)
Democratic presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton. (IMAGE: iprimages, Flickr)
George Bush’s press spokesman once called the media “complicit enablers”.
Coming from a senior official in an administration whose lies, enabled by the media, caused such suffering, that description is a warning from history.
In 1946, the Nuremberg Tribunal prosecutor said of the German media:
“Before every major aggression, they initiated a press campaign calculated to weaken their victims and to prepare the German people psychologically for the attack. In the propaganda system, it was the daily press and the radio that were the most important weapons.”

This is adapted from an address to the Sheffield Festival of Words, Sheffield, – the films and journalism of John Pilger


A superb piece from George Monbiot, covering a lot of ground about a system that some people are not even aware exists. It is important that people start to wake up to the this. We are sleep walking our way towards disaster, be it climate change, economic and social collapse or catastrophic war.

Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems

Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative?

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher at the White House.


Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism.

The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, has no name.
Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug.
Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it.

Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?
Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises:
the financial meltdown of 2007‑8,
the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse,
the slow collapse of public health and education,
resurgent child poverty,
the epidemic of loneliness,
the collapse of ecosystems,
the rise of Donald Trump.

But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has – or had – a name.

What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?

So pervasive has neoliberalism become that we seldom even recognise it as an ideology. We appear to accept the proposition that this utopian, millenarian faith describes a neutral force; a kind of biological law, like Darwin’s theory of evolution. But the philosophy arose as a conscious attempt to reshape human life and shift the locus of power.

Neoliberalism sees competition as the defining characteristic of human relations. It redefines citizens as consumers, whose democratic choices are best exercised by buying and selling, a process that rewards merit and punishes inefficiency. It maintains that “the market” delivers benefits that could never be achieved by planning.

Attempts to limit competition are treated as inimical to liberty. Tax and regulation should be minimised, public services should be privatised. The organisation of labour and collective bargaining by trade unions are portrayed as market distortions that impede the formation of a natural hierarchy of winners and losers.
Inequality is recast as virtuous: a reward for utility and a generator of wealth, which trickles down to enrich everyone.
Efforts to create a more equal society are both counterproductive and morally corrosive. The market ensures that everyone gets what they deserve.

We internalise and reproduce its creeds. The rich persuade themselves that they acquired their wealth through merit, ignoring the advantages – such as education, inheritance and class – that may have helped to secure it.

The poor begin to blame themselves for their failures, even when they can do little to change their circumstances.

  • Never mind structural unemployment: if you don’t have a job it’s because you are unenterprising.
  • Never mind the impossible costs of housing: if your credit card is maxed out, you’re feckless and improvident.
  • Never mind that your children no longer have a school playing field: if they get fat, it’s your fault.

In a world governed by competition, those who fall behind become defined and self-defined as losers. Among the results, as Paul Verhaeghe documents in his book What About Me? are epidemics of self-harm, eating disorders, depression, loneliness, performance anxiety and social phobia.

Perhaps it’s unsurprising that Britain, in which neoliberal ideology has been most rigorously applied, is the loneliness capital of Europe. We are all neoliberals now.

The term neoliberalism was coined at a meeting in Paris in 1938.

Among the delegates were two men who came to define the ideology, Ludwig von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. Both exiles from Austria, they saw social democracy, exemplified by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and the gradual development of Britain’s welfare state, as manifestations of a collectivism that occupied the same spectrum as nazism and communism.

In The Road to Serfdom, published in 1944, Hayek argued that government planning, by crushing individualism, would lead inexorably to totalitarian control.
Like Mises’s book Bureaucracy, The Road to Serfdom was widely read. It came to the attention of some very wealthy people, who saw in the philosophy an opportunity to free themselves from regulation and tax. When, in 1947, Hayek founded the first organisation that would spread the doctrine of neoliberalism – the Mont Pelerin Society – it was supported financially by millionaires and their foundations.

With their help, he began to create what Daniel Stedman Jones describes in Masters of the Universe as “a kind of neoliberal international”: a transatlantic network of academics, businessmen, journalists and activists.

The movement’s rich backers funded a series of thinktanks which would refine and promote the ideology. Among them were the American Enterprise Institute, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato Institute, the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Centre for Policy Studies and the Adam Smith Institute. They also financed academic positions and departments, particularly at the universities of Chicago and Virginia.

As it evolved, neoliberalism became more strident. Hayek’s view that governments should regulate competition to prevent monopolies from forming gave way – among American apostles such as Milton Friedman – to the belief that monopoly power could be seen as a reward for efficiency.

Something else happened during this transition: the movement lost its name. In 1951, Friedman was happy to describe himself as a neoliberal. But soon after that, the term began to disappear. Stranger still, even as the ideology became crisper and the movement more coherent, the lost name was not replaced by any common alternative.

At first, despite its lavish funding, neoliberalism remained at the margins. The postwar consensus was almost universal: John Maynard Keynes’s economic prescriptions were widely applied, full employment and the relief of poverty were common goals in the US and much of western Europe, top rates of tax were high and governments sought social outcomes without embarrassment, developing new public services and safety nets.

But in the 1970s, when Keynesian policies began to fall apart and economic crises struck on both sides of the Atlantic, neoliberal ideas began to enter the mainstream. As Friedman remarked, “when the time came that you had to change … there was an alternative ready there to be picked up”.
With the help of sympathetic journalists and political advisers, elements of neoliberalism, especially its prescriptions for monetary policy, were adopted by Jimmy Carter’s administration in the US and Jim Callaghan’s government in Britain.

After Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan took power, the rest of the package soon followed:
massive tax cuts for the rich,
the crushing of trade unions,
outsourcing and
competition in public services.
Through the IMF, the World Bank, the Maastricht treaty and the World Trade Organisation, neoliberal policies were imposed – often without democratic consent – on much of the world.

Most remarkable was its adoption among parties that once belonged to the left: Labour and the Democrats, for example. As Stedman Jones notes, “it is hard to think of another utopia to have been as fully realised.”

It may seem strange that a doctrine promising choice and freedom should have been promoted with the slogan “there is no alternative”.
But, as Hayek remarked on a visit to Pinochet’s Chile – one of the first nations in which the programme was comprehensively applied –

“my personal preference leans toward a liberal dictatorship rather than toward a democratic government devoid of liberalism”.

The freedom that neoliberalism offers, which sounds so beguiling when expressed in general terms, turns out to mean freedom for the pike, not for the minnows.

Freedom from trade unions and collective bargaining means;
the freedom to suppress wages.
Freedom from regulation means the freedom to poison rivers,
endanger workers,
charge iniquitous rates of interest and
design exotic financial instruments.
Freedom from tax means freedom from the distribution of wealth that lifts people out of poverty.

As Naomi Klein documents in The Shock Doctrine, neoliberal theorists advocated the use of crises to impose unpopular policies while people were distracted: for example, in the aftermath of Pinochet’s coup, the Iraq war and Hurricane Katrina, which Friedman described as; “an opportunity to radically reform the educational system” in New Orleans.

Where neoliberal policies cannot be imposed domestically, they are imposed internationally, through trade treaties incorporating “investor-state dispute settlement”: offshore tribunals in which corporations can press for the removal of social and environmental protections.

When parliaments have voted to restrict sales of cigarettes, protect water supplies from mining companies, freeze energy bills or prevent pharmaceutical firms from ripping off the state, corporations have sued, often successfully. Democracy is reduced to theatre.

Another paradox of neoliberalism is that universal competition relies upon universal quantification and comparison. The result is that workers, job-seekers and public services of every kind are subject to a pettifogging, stifling regime of assessment and monitoring, designed to identify the winners and punish the losers.
The doctrine that Von Mises proposed would free us from the bureaucratic nightmare of central planning has instead created one.

Neoliberalism was not conceived as a self-serving racket, but it rapidly became one. Economic growth has been markedly slower in the neoliberal era (since 1980 in Britain and the US) than it was in the preceding decades; but not for the very rich.
Inequality in the distribution of both income and wealth, after 60 years of decline, rose rapidly in this era, due to the smashing of trade unions, tax reductions, rising rents, privatisation and deregulation.

The privatisation or marketisation of public services such as energy, water, trains, health, education, roads and prisons has enabled corporations to set up tollbooths in front of essential assets and charge rent, either to citizens or to government, for their use. Rent is another term for unearned income.
When you pay an inflated price for a train ticket, only part of the fare compensates the operators for the money they spend on fuel, wages, rolling stock and other outlays.
The rest reflects the fact that they have you over a barrel.

Those who own and run the UK’s privatised or semi-privatised services make stupendous fortunes by investing little and charging much. In Russia and India, oligarchs acquired state assets through firesales. In Mexico, Carlos Slim was granted control of almost all landline and mobile phone services and soon became the world’s richest man.

Financialisation, as Andrew Sayer notes in Why We Can’t Afford the Rich, has had a similar impact. “Like rent,” he argues, “interest is … unearned income that accrues without any effort”.
As the poor become poorer and the rich become richer, the rich acquire increasing control over another crucial asset: money.
Interest payments, overwhelmingly, are a transfer of money from the poor to the rich.
As property prices and the withdrawal of state funding load people with debt (think of the switch from student grants to student loans), the banks and their executives clean up.

Sayer argues that the past four decades have been characterised by a transfer of wealth not only from the poor to the rich, but within the ranks of the wealthy: from those who make their money by producing new goods or services to those who make their money by controlling existing assets and harvesting rent, interest or capital gains.
Earned income has been supplanted by unearned income.

Neoliberal policies are everywhere beset by market failures. Not only are the banks too big to fail, but so are the corporations now charged with delivering public services. As Tony Judt pointed out in Ill Fares the Land, Hayek forgot that vital national services cannot be allowed to collapse, which means that competition cannot run its course.
Business takes the profits, the state keeps the risk.

The greater the failure, the more extreme the ideology becomes.
Governments use neoliberal crises as both excuse and opportunity to;
cut taxes,
privatise remaining public services,
rip holes in the social safety net,
deregulate corporations and
re-regulate citizens.

The self-hating state now sinks its teeth into every organ of the public sector. Perhaps the most dangerous impact of neoliberalism is not the economic crises it has caused, but the political crisis.
As the domain of the state is reduced, our ability to change the course of our lives through voting also contracts.
Instead, neoliberal theory asserts, “people can exercise choice through spending”.
But some have more to spend than others: in the great consumer or shareholder democracy, votes are not equally distributed. The result is a disempowerment of the poor and middle.
As parties of the right and former left adopt similar neoliberal policies, disempowerment turns to disenfranchisement.
Large numbers of people have been shed from politics.

Chris Hedges remarks that;

“fascist movements build their base not from the politically active but the politically inactive, the ‘losers’ who feel, often correctly, they have no voice or role to play in the political establishment”.

When political debate no longer speaks to us, people become responsive instead to slogans, symbols and sensation. To the admirers of Trump, for example, facts and arguments appear irrelevant.

Judt explained that when the thick mesh of interactions between people and the state has been reduced to nothing but authority and obedience, the only remaining force that binds us is state power.
The totalitarianism Hayek feared is more likely to emerge when governments, having lost the moral authority that arises from the delivery of public services, are reduced to “cajoling, threatening and ultimately coercing people to obey them”.

Like communism, neoliberalism is the God that failed.
But the zombie doctrine staggers on, and one of the reasons is its anonymity. Or rather, a cluster of anonymities.

The invisible doctrine of the invisible hand is promoted by invisible backers. Slowly, very slowly, we have begun to discover the names of a few of them. We find that the Institute of Economic Affairs, which has argued forcefully in the media against the further regulation of the tobacco industry, has been secretly funded by British American Tobacco since 1963. We discover that Charles and David Koch, two of the richest men in the world, founded the institute that set up the Tea Party movement.
We find that Charles Koch, in establishing one of his thinktanks, noted that
“in order to avoid undesirable criticism, how the organisation is controlled and directed should not be widely advertised”.

The words used by neoliberalism often conceal more than they elucidate. “The market” sounds like a natural system that might bear upon us equally, like gravity or atmospheric pressure. But it is fraught with power relations.
What “the market wants” tends to mean what corporations and their bosses want.

“Investment”, as Sayer notes, means two quite different things.

One is the funding of productive and socially useful activities,
the other is the purchase of existing assets to milk them for rent, interest, dividends and capital gains.

Using the same word for different activities “camouflages the sources of wealth”, leading us to confuse wealth extraction with wealth creation.

A century ago, the nouveau riche were disparaged by those who had inherited their money. Entrepreneurs sought social acceptance by passing themselves off as rentiers. Today, the relationship has been reversed: the rentiers and inheritors style themselves entrepreneurs. They claim to have earned their unearned income.

These anonymities and confusions mesh with the namelessness and placelessness of modern capitalism:

The anonymity of neoliberalism is fiercely guarded.
Those who are influenced by Hayek, Mises and Friedman tend to reject the term, maintaining – with some justice – that it is used today only pejoratively. But they offer us no substitute.
Some describe themselves as classical liberals or libertarians, but these descriptions are both misleading and curiously self-effacing, as they suggest that there is nothing novel about The Road to Serfdom, Bureaucracy or Friedman’s classic work, Capitalism and Freedom.

For all that, there is something admirable about the neoliberal project, at least in its early stages. It was a distinctive, innovative philosophy promoted by a coherent network of thinkers and activists with a clear plan of action. It was patient and persistent. The Road to Serfdom became the path to power.


  • Author Paulo Freire wrote in his book “Pedagogy of the Oppressed”:

    “The generosity of the oppressors is nourished by an unjust order, which must be maintained in order to justify that generosity. “

     I was deeply shocked 3 days ago when I found out that the Royal British Legion gala Remembrance event was sponsored by the war monger corporations Lockheed Martin and BAE Systems!

    I wouldn’t even fill in my Census form because of Lockheed!

    The RBL does a huge amount of good work for people who would be destitute and struggling because of the MoD.
    But Fuck ME!
    Two of the most devastating warmonger corporations of the Military Industrial complex sponsoring a Remembrance event for those who had fallen in two World Wars???
    Absolutely in the worst possible taste imaginable!? LockHeed Martin and BAE Systems weapons manufacturers sponsor the Gala Poppy Ball.

    Remembrance charity ball sponsored by Lockheed, veterans and activists outraged

    Reuters / Luke MacGregor
    Anti-war activists have criticized the Royal British Legion for its decision to allow one of the world’s largest defense contractors to sponsor its annual ‘Poppyrocks Ball’.

    The ball, which was held last week in the prestigious HAC in the City of London, is hosted to raise money and awareness for the Royal British Legion, which “helps the whole Armed Forces community through welfare, comradeship and representation.”

    According to the Poppyrocks ball website, the event was organized by the Royal British Legion Young Professionals Branch, an organization to “educate and encourage” 18-40 year olds to donate to the charity.

    The charity are also considered to be the UK’s “custodian of Remembrance.” Their duties include coordinating the Poppy Appeal, an initiative designed to commemorate fallen and serving soldiers, and raise money to assist returning servicemen and their families.

    Earlier this month, Lockheed Martin, which has helped to produce the UK’s Trident weapons system, said it was “thrilled”to be the sponsor of the ball, especially as 2014 marked the centenary of the First World War.

    “We owe a great deal to those who have given so much themselves and our company strives to serve and honor those who have served us,” Lockheed Martin Chief Executive Stephen Ball Said.

    While the Royal British Legion has said that the traditional paper red and green poppies were about “remembrance and hope” and not a show of support for war, religion or politics, other groups have been critical about what is represents.

    “While many people wear [poppies] to remember the people who have died in wars, they are also being used to promote arms companies and the organizations they are associated with,” Lindsey German, convener of the Stop the War Coalition told RT.

    “The relationship only results in promoting current and future wars,” she added.

    Guardian columnist George Monbiot also expressed discomfort with the RBL’s choice of sponsor.

    “It turns out that @PoppyLegion strongly linked to arms trade. Until now I’ve bought a poppy every year. No longer,” he tweeted.

Dr Robert J. Lifton is a psychologist who studied and identified the techniques of mass thought control and group think used in propaganda and in cults (of all forms, including political and pseudo-religious).

Dr. Robert J. Lifton’s Eight Criteria for Thought Reform

  1. Milieu Control.
    This involves the control of information and communication both within the environment and, ultimately, within the individual, resulting in a significant degree of isolation from society at large.
  2. Mystical Manipulation.
    There is manipulation of experiences that appear spontaneous but in fact were planned and orchestrated by the group or its leaders in order to demonstrate divine authority or spiritual advancement or some special gift or talent that will then allow the leader to reinterpret events, scripture, and experiences as he or she wishes.
  3. Demand for Purity.
    The world is viewed as black and white and the members are constantly exhorted to conform to the ideology of the group and strive for perfection. The induction of guilt and/or shame is a powerful control device used here.
  4. Confession.
    Sins, as defined by the group, are to be confessed either to a personal monitor or publicly to the group. There is no confidentiality; members’ “sins,” “attitudes,” and “faults” are discussed and exploited by the leaders.
  5. Sacred Science.
    The group’s doctrine or ideology is considered to be the ultimate Truth, beyond all questioning or dispute. Truth is not to be found outside the group. The leader, as the spokesperson for God or for all humanity, is likewise above criticism.
  6. Loading the Language.
    The group interprets or uses words and phrases in new ways so that often the outside world does not understand. This jargon consists of thought-terminating clich�s, which serve to alter members’ thought processes to conform to the group’s way of thinking.
  7. Doctrine over person.
    Member’s personal experiences are subordinated to the sacred science and any contrary experiences must be denied or reinterpreted to fit the ideology of the group.
  8. Dispensing of existence.
    The group has the prerogative to decide who has the right to exist and who does not. This is usually not literal but means that those in the outside world are not saved, unenlightened, unconscious and they must be converted to the group’s ideology. If they do not join the group or are critical of the group, then they must be rejected by the members. Thus, the outside world loses all credibility.
    In conjunction, should any member leave the group, he or she must be rejected also. (Lifton, 1989)


Giambalvo, Carol: “What is a Thought Reform Consultant?”
Langone, Michael, Ph.D.: “Cults and Mind Control”
Lifton, Robert J., M.D.: “Cult Formation”
Lifton, Robert J., M.D.: “Cult Formation” – abstract
Lifton, Robert J., M.D.: “Lifton’s Eight Criteria for Thought Reform”
Lifton, Robert J., M.D.: “Lifton’s Eight Criteria for Thought Reform”
Lifton, Robert, J. M.D.: “Cult Formation”
Singer, Margaret T., Ph.D.: “Undue Influence and Written Documents: Psychological Aspects”
Singet Margaret, Ph.D.: “Thought Reform Exists: Organized, Programmatic Influence”
Zimbardo, Philip, Ph.D.: “Mind Control: Psychological Reality or Mindless Rhetoric?”
√ Lifton, Robert, J.: “Thought Reform & the Psychology of Totalism”
≈ Cult Information Center – UK
≈ – link
≈ FactNet – link
≈ InfoCult – link
≈ Religious Groups Awareness Network – REGAIN – link
≈ Skeptic’s Refuge – link

Lifton, Robert J., M.D.: “Cult Formation”
Lifton, Robert J., M.D.: “Cult Formation” – abstract
Lifton, Robert J., M.D.: “Lifton’s Eight Criteria for Thought Reform”
Lifton, Robert J., M.D.: “Lifton’s Eight Criteria for Thought Reform”
Lifton, Robert, J. M.D.: “Cult Formation”

“Common sense is a chaotic aggregate of disparate conceptions, and one can find there anything that one like.”

“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born”

“All men are intellectuals, but not all men have in society the function of intellectuals”

“I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.”

“Ideas and opinions are not spontaneously “born” in each individual brain: they have had a centre of formation, or irradiation, of dissemination, of persuasion-a group of men, or a single individual even, which has developed them and presented them in the political form of current reality.”

“The crisis creates situations which are dangerous in the short run, since the various strata of the population are not all capable of orienting themselves equally swiftly, or of reorganising with the same rhythm. The traditional ruling class, which has numerous trained cadres, changes men and programmes and, with greater speed than is achieved by the subordinate classes, reabsorbs the control that was slipping from its grasp. Perhaps it may make sacrifices, and expose itself to an uncertain future by demagogic promises; but it retains power, reinforces it for the time being, and uses it to crush its adversary and disperse his leading cadres, who cannot be be very numerous or highly trained.”

― Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks.


“I hate the indifferent. I believe that living means taking sides. Those who really live cannot help being a citizen and a partisan. Indifference and apathy are parasitism, perversion, not life. That is why I hate the indifferent.

The indifference is the deadweight of history. The indifference operates with great power on history. The indifference operates passively, but it operates. It is fate, that which cannot be counted on. It twists programs and ruins the best-conceived plans. It is the raw material that ruins intelligence. That what happens, the evil that weighs upon all, happens because the human mass abdicates to their will; allows laws to be promulgated that only the revolt could nullify, and leaves men that only a mutiny will be able to overthrow to achieve the power. The mass ignores because it is careless and then it seems like it is the product of fate that runs over everything and everyone: the one who consents as well as the one who dissents; the one who knew as well as the one who didn’t know; the active as well as the indifferent. Some whimper piously, others curse obscenely, but nobody, or very few ask themselves: If I had tried to impose my will, would this have happened?

I also hate the indifferent because of that: because their whimpering of eternally innocent ones annoys me. I make each one liable: how they have tackled with the task that life has given and gives them every day, what have they done, and especially, what they have not done. And I feel I have the right to be inexorable and not squander my compassion, of not sharing my tears with them.

I am a partisan, I am alive, I feel the pulse of the activity of the future city that those on my side are building is alive in their conscience. And in it, the social chain does not rest on a few; nothing of what happens in it is a matter of luck, nor the product of fate, but the intelligent work of the citizens. Nobody in it is looking from the window of the sacrifice and the drain of a few. Alive, I am a partisan. That is why I hate the ones that don’t take sides, I hate the indifferent.”
― Antonio Gramsci




Prison Notebooks

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Antonio Gramsci, depicted in 1922

The Prison Notebooks (Italian: Quaderni del carcere [kwaˈdɛrni del ˈkartʃere]) were a series of essays written by the Italian MarxistAntonio Gramsci. Gramsci was imprisoned by the Italian Fascist regime in 1926. The notebooks were written between 1929 and 1935, when Gramsci was released from prison on grounds of ill-health. He died in April 1937.

He wrote more than 30 notebooks and 3,000 pages of history and analysis during his imprisonment. Although written unsystematically, the Prison Notebooks are considered a highly original contribution to 20th century political theory. Gramsci drew insights from varying sources – not only other Marxists but also thinkers such as Niccolò Machiavelli, Vilfredo Pareto, Georges Sorel and Benedetto Croce. His notebooks cover a wide range of topics, including Italian history and nationalism, the French Revolution, Fascism, Fordism, civil society,folklore, religion and high and popular culture,

The notebooks were smuggled out of prison in the 1930s. They were not published until the 1950s and were first translated into English in the 1970s.

Some ideas in Marxist theory, critical theory and educational theory that are associated with Gramsci’s name:

  • Cultural hegemony as a means of maintaining the capitalist state.
  • The need for popular workers’ education to encourage development of intellectuals from the working class.
  • The distinction between political society (the police, the army, legal system, etc.) which dominates directly and coercively, and civil society (the family, the education system, trade unions, etc.) where leadership is constituted through ideology or by means of consent.
  • “Absolute historicism“.
  • A critique of economic determinism that opposes fatalistic interpretations of Marxism.
  • A critique of philosophical materialism.


For more details on this topic, see Cultural hegemony.

Hegemony was a concept previously used by Marxists such as Vladimir Ilyich Lenin to indicate the political leadership of the working-class in a democratic revolution, but developed by Gramsci into an acute analysis to explain why the ‘inevitable’ socialist revolution predicted by orthodox Marxism had not occurred by the early 20th century. Capitalism, it seemed, was even more entrenched than ever. Capitalism, Gramsci suggested, maintained control not just through violence and political and economic coercion, but also ideologically, through a hegemonic culture in which the values of the bourgeoisie became the ‘common sense‘ values of all. Thus a consensus culture developed in which people in the working-class identified their own good with the good of the bourgeoisie, and helped to maintain the status quo rather than revolting.

The working class needed to develop a culture of its own, which would overthrow the notion that bourgeois values represented ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ values for society, and would attract the oppressed and intellectual classes to the cause of the proletariat. Lenin held that culture was ‘ancillary’ to political objectives but for Gramsci it was fundamental to the attainment of power that cultural hegemony be achieved first. In Gramsci’s view, any class that wishes to dominate in modern conditions has to move beyond its own narrow ‘economic-corporate’ interests, to exert intellectual and moral leadership, and to make alliances and compromises with a variety of forces. Gramsci calls this union of social forces a ‘historic bloc’, taking a term from Georges Sorel. This bloc forms the basis of consent to a certain social order, which produces and re-produces the hegemony of the dominant class through a nexus of institutions, social relations and ideas. In this manner, Gramsci developed a theory that emphasised the importance of the superstructure in both maintaining and fracturing relations of the base.

Gramsci stated that, in the West, bourgeois cultural values were tied to religion, and therefore much of his polemic against hegemonic culture is aimed at religious norms and values. He was impressed by the power Roman Catholicism had over men’s minds and the care the Church had taken to prevent an excessive gap developing between the religion of the learned and that of the less educated. Gramsci believed that it was Marxism’s task to marry the purely intellectual critique of religion found inRenaissance humanism to the elements of the Reformation that had appealed to the masses. For Gramsci, Marxism could supersede religion only if it met people’s spiritual needs, and to do so people would have to recognise it as an expression of their own experience.

For Gramsci, hegemonic dominance ultimately relied on coercion, and in a “crisis of authority” the “masks of consent” slip away, revealing the fist of force.

Intellectuals and education

Gramsci gave much thought to the question of the role of intellectuals in society. Famously, he stated that all men are intellectuals, in that all have intellectual and rational faculties, but not all men have the social function of intellectuals. He claimed that modern intellectuals were not simply talkers, but directors and organisers who helped build society and produce hegemony by means of ideological apparatuses such as education and the media. Furthermore, he distinguished between a ‘traditional’ intelligentsia which sees itself (wrongly) as a class apart from society, and the thinking groups which every class produces from its own ranks ‘organically’. Such ‘organic’ intellectuals do not simply describe social life in accordance with scientific rules, but rather articulate, through the language of culture, the feelings and experiences which the masses could not express for themselves. The need to create a working-class culture relates to Gramsci’s call for a kind of education that could develop working-class intellectuals, who would not simply introduce Marxist ideology from outside the proletariat, but rather renovate and make critical of the status quo the already existing intellectual activity of the masses. His ideas about an education system for this purpose correspond with the notion of critical pedagogy and popular education as theorised and practised in later decades by Paulo Freire in Brazil, and have much in common with the thought of Frantz Fanon. For this reason, partisans of adult and popular education consider Gramsci an important voice to this day. (For the results of this kind of thought in education, see the latests reports of PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) on the education in Brazil).

State and civil society

Gramsci’s theory of hegemony is tied to his conception of the capitalist state, which he claims rules through force plus consent. The state is not to be understood in the narrow sense of the government; instead, Gramsci divides it between ‘political society’, which is the arena of political institutions and legal constitutional control, and ‘civil society‘, which is commonly seen as the ‘private’ or ‘non-state’ sphere, differentiated from both the state and the economy. The former is the realm of force and the latter of consent. He stresses, however, that the division is purely conceptual and that the two, in reality, often overlap.

Gramsci claims that hegemony lies under modern capitalism and that the bourgeoisie can maintain its economic control by allowing certain demands made by trade unions and mass political parties within civil society to be met by the political sphere.

Thus, the bourgeoisie engages in Passive Revolution by going beyond its immediate economic interests and allowing the forms of its hegemony to change. Gramsci posits that movements such as reformism and fascism, as well as the ‘scientific management‘ and assembly line methods of Frederick Taylor and Henry Ford respectively, are examples of this.

Drawing from Machiavelli, he argues that ‘The Modern Prince’ – the revolutionary party – is the force that will allow the working-class to develop organic intellectuals and an alternative hegemony within civil society. For Gramsci, the complex nature of modern civil society means that the only tactic capable of undermining bourgeois hegemony and leading to socialism is a ‘war of position’ (analogous to trench warfare); this war of position would then give way to a ‘war of movement’ (or frontal attack). Gramsci saw ‘war of movement’ as being exemplified by the storming of the Winter Palace during the Russian Revolution.

Despite his claim that the lines between the two may be blurred, Gramsci rejects the state-worship that results from identifying political society with civil society, as was done by the Jacobins and Fascists. He believes the proletariat’s historical task is to create a ‘regulated society’ and defines the ‘withering away of the state‘ as the full development of civil society’s ability to regulate itself.


Gramsci, like the early Marx, was an emphatic proponent of historicism. In Gramsci’s view, all meaning derives from the relation between human practical activity (or “praxis“) and the “objective” historical and social processes of which it is a part. Ideas cannot be understood outside their social and historical context, apart from their function and origin. The concepts by which we organise our knowledge of the world do not derive primarily from our relation to things, but rather from the social relations between the users of those concepts. As a result, there is no such thing as an unchanging “human nature“, but only an idea of such which varies historically. Furthermore, philosophy and science do not “reflect” a reality independent of man, but rather are only “true” in that they express the real developmental trend of a given historical situation.

For the majority of Marxists, truth was truth no matter when and where it is known, and scientific knowledge (which included Marxism) accumulated historically as the advance of truth in this everyday sense. On this view, Marxism could not be said to not belong to the illusory realm of the superstructure because it is a science. In contrast, Gramsci believed Marxism was “true” in the socially pragmatic sense, in that by articulating the class consciousness of the proletariat, it expressed the “truth” of its times better than any other theory. This anti-scientistic and anti-positivist stance was indebted to the influence of Benedetto Croce. However, it should be underlined that Gramsci’s was an “absolute historicism” that broke with the Hegelian and idealist tenor of Croce’s thinking and its tendency to secure a metaphysical synthesis in historical “destiny”.

Though Gramsci repudiates the charge, his historical account of truth has been criticised as a form of relativism.

Critique of “economism”

In a famous pre-prison article entitled “The Revolution against Das Kapital“, Gramsci claimed that the October Revolution in Russia had invalidated the idea that socialist revolution had to await the full development of capitalist forces of production. This reflected his view that Marxism was not a determinist philosophy. The principle of the causal “primacy” of the forces of production, he held, was a misconception of Marxism. Both economic changes and cultural changes are expressions of a “basic historical process”, and it is difficult to say which sphere has primacy over the other. The fatalistic belief, widespread within the workers’ movement in its earliest years, that it would inevitably triumph due to “historical laws”, was, in Gramsci’s view, a product of the historical circumstances of an oppressed class restricted mainly to defensive action, and was to be abandoned as a hindrance once the working-class became able to take the initiative. Because Marxism is a “philosophy of praxis”, it cannot rely on unseen “historical laws” as the agents of social change. History is defined by human praxis and therefore includes human will. Nonetheless, will-power cannot achieve anything it likes in any given situation: when the consciousness of the working-class reaches the stage of development necessary for action, historical circumstances will be encountered which cannot be arbitrarily altered. It is not, however, predetermined by historical inevitability as to which of several possible developments will take place as a result.

His critique of economism also extended to that practised by the syndicalists of the Italian trade unions. He believed that many trade unionists had settled for a reformist, gradualist approach in that they had refused to struggle on the political front in addition to the economic front. While Gramsci envisioned the trade unions as one organ of a counter-hegemonic force in capitalist society, the trade union leaders simply saw these organizations as a means to improve conditions within the existing structure. Gramsci referred to the views of these trade unionists as “vulgar economism”, which he equated to covert reformism and even liberalism.

Critique of Materialism

By virtue of his belief that human history and collective praxis determine whether any philosophical question is meaningful or not, Gramsci’s views run contrary to the metaphysical materialism and ‘copy’ theory of perception advanced by Engels and Lenin, though he does not explicitly state this. For Gramsci, Marxism does not deal with a reality that exists in and for itself, independent of humanity. The concept of an objective universe outside of human history and human praxis was, in his view, analogous to belief in God; there could be no objectivity, but only a universal intersubjectivity to be established in a future communist society. Natural history was thus only meaningful in relation to human history. On his view philosophical materialism, like primitive common sense, resulted from a lack of critical thought, and could not, as Lenin[1] claimed, be said to oppose religious superstition. Despite this, Gramsci resigned himself to the existence of this arguably cruder form of Marxism: the proletariat’s status as a dependent class meant that Marxism, as its philosophy, could often only be expressed in the form of popular superstition and common sense. Nonetheless, it was necessary to effectively challenge the ideologies of the educated classes, and to do so Marxists must present their philosophy in a more sophisticated guise, and attempt to genuinely understand their opponents’ views.


External links

Further reading