HomeArticlePeople Will Never, Ever Rebel As Long As They’re Successfully Propagandized

People Will Never, Ever Rebel As Long As They’re Successfully Propagandized

Our predicament is simple to describe.

Since the dawn of civilization, powerful individuals have controlled the stories people tell themselves about who they are, who’s in charge, how a good citizen behaves, what groups should be loved, what groups should be hated, and what’s really going on in the world. When you study what we call history, you’re mostly just reading the ancient proto-propaganda of whatever kingdom happened to win the last war during that period of time. When you study what we call religion, you’re mostly reading stories that were advanced by ancient governments explaining why the people should be meek, forgiving taxpayers instead of rising up and killing their wealthy exploiters.

This continues to this day. We fill our children’s heads with lies about how the world works, how the government works, how the media works, and, on a deeper level, how their own consciousness works, and the entire process is shaped to funnel power toward the people who control our stories. The modern schooling system was largely formed by John D Rockefeller, widely considered the wealthiest person in modern history, in order to create generations of docile gear-turners for the industrial plutocratic machine. Modern schooling is essentially mainstream media in a building; it promotes authorized narratives day in and day out to ensure that children will have a reaction of cognitive dissonance and rejection when confronted with information which contradicts those narratives.

This funnels the populace seamlessly into the narrative control matrix of adulthood, where childhood indoctrination into mainstream narratives lubricates the way for continual programming of credulous minds with mass media propaganda. All the print, TV and online media they are presented with supports the status quo-supporting agendas of the same plutocratic class that John D Rockefeller dominated all those years ago. This ensures that no matter how bad things get, no matter how severely our spirits are crushed by end-stage metastatic neoliberalism, no matter how many stupid, pointless wars we’re duped into, no matter how much further we are drawn along the path toward extinction via climate chaos or nuclear war, we will never revolt to overthrow our rulers.

That’s three paragraphs. Our predicament is simple to describe and easy to understand. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to solve.

Everyone has at some point known someone in some kind of an abusive relationship, whether it be with a partner, a family member, or a job, and we all know that helpless feeling of being unable to help someone who refuses to walk away from the source of their abuse.

“Just leave him!” we say in exasperation. “The door’s right there! It’s not locked!”

But it’s never that simple. It’s never that simple because, although the abusee is indeed physically capable of walking out the door, the thoughts that are in their head keep them from choosing that option.

This is because no abuser is simply violent or cruel: they are also necessarily manipulative. If they weren’t manipulative, there wouldn’t be any “abusive relationship”; there’d just be someone doing something horrible one time, followed by a hasty exit out the door. There can’t be an ongoing relationship that is abusive unless there’s some glue holding the abusee in place, and that glue always consists primarily of believed narrative.

“I didn’t mean it. I love you. I just get frustrated sometimes because of your stupidity.”

“You can’t leave; you’ll never make it out there on your own. You need me.”

“I’m the only one who’ll ever be there for you. Nobody else will ever love you because you’re so disgusting.”

“Your children need their father. You have to stay.”

“I need you! I’ll die without you!”

“I’m not doing that. You’re paranoid and crazy.”

“Your inability to forgive me means something is wrong with you.”

They seldom say it so overtly, because if they did its malignancy would be easy to spot, but those are the ideas which get subtly implanted into the abusee’s head day after day after day by way of skillful manipulation.

“It’s her own fault for staying,” someone will inevitably say.

No it isn’t. Not really. The abuser is at fault for the overt abuse, and the abuser is also at fault for the psychological manipulations which keep the abusee in place in spite of terrible cruelty. It’s all one thing, and it’s entirely the abuser’s fault.

Humanity’s predicament is the same. I often hear revolutionary-minded thinkers voicing frustration at the mainstream public for choosing to stay within this transparently abusive dynamic instead of rising up and forcing change, and yes, it is self-evident that the citizenry could easily use its vastly superior numbers to do that if it collectively chose to. The door is right there. It’s not even locked.

But the people aren’t failing to choose the door because they love being abused, they’re failing to choose the door because they’ve been manipulated into not choosing it. From cradle to grave they’re pummeled with stories telling them that this is the only way things can be, in exactly the same way a battered wife or a cult member are pummeled with stories about how leaving is impossible.

The difficulty of our times is not that we are locked up; we aren’t. The difficulty is that far too many of us are manipulated into choosing a prison cell over freedom.

The fact of the matter is that a populace will never rise up against its oppressors as long as it is being successfully propagandized not to. It will never, ever happen. The majority will choose the prison cell every time.

You’d expect that more dissident thinking would be pouring into solving this dilemma, but not much is. People talk about elections and political strategies, they talk about who has the most correct ideology, they talk about rising up and seizing the means of production due to unacceptable material conditions, they wax philosophical about the tyranny of the state and the immorality of coercion, but they rarely address the elephant in the room that you can’t get a populace to oust the status quo when they do not want to.

Nothing will ever be done about our predicament as long as powerful people are controlling the stories that the majority of the public believe. This is as true today as it was in John D Rockefeller’s time, which was as true as when Rome chose to spread the “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s” submissiveness of Christianity throughout the Empire. The only difference is that now the powerful have a century of post-Bernays propaganda science under their belt, and a whole lot of research and development can happen in a hundred years.

So what’s the solution? How do you awaken a populace that is not just manipulated into choosing its prison cell every time, but is also manipulated into believing that any suggestion that they’re in a prison cell is a crazy conspiracy theory?

Well, what do you do when a loved one is in an abusive relationship? It never works to shake them and scream “You’re being abused!”; that just causes them to tighten up and dig in deeper with their abuser’s narratives about how this is the only way things can be and anyone who says otherwise is crazy. What works is to lovingly help that sovereign spark within them gather evidence that the narratives they’re being fed by their abuser are lies. Point out every time where reality contradicts the stories they’ve been told. Weaken their trust in the old stories while strengthening their confidence in their own perception and their sense of entitlement and worthiness. Help them to see that they’re being lied to, and that they deserve better.

This breaking of trust needs to happen within the respective partisan echo chambers of those who are being propagandized. It’s useless to increase the distrust of CNN and MSNBC among Trump’s base, for example, but it’s very useful to increase their distrust in right-wing narratives. It’s useless to increase Democrats’ distrust in Trump and Fox News, but it’s very useful to get them skeptical of the narrative control machine they’ve been plugged into. Each head of the two-headed one-party system needs to be attacked in a way that makes sense inside each of its respective echo chambers.

Mostly, though, what we need is we need is for more thinkers to be more focused on the real problem. I know some influential minds read this blog; if they can help seed the idea out among the movers and shakers of dissident thought that propaganda is our first and foremost problem, we just might get somewhere. We need a major shift of focus onto the narrative control matrix and the obstacle that it poses to revolution, and everyone can help shift us there in their own way.

The propaganda machine won’t be adequately disrupted without intensive effort, and until it is we’re going to keep selecting the prison cell every time.

___________________________

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Latest comments

  • The conditioning of our minds starts when we are small children and is a relentless process. Edward Bernays, nephew of Freud, considered the father of modern “Public Relations” aka propaganda or manipulation of the minds of the masses, proved how easily governments and the power structure they represent, could direct the thought processes of the masses. You should write an article about that bastard Bernays, it would open a lot of your readers’ eyes to how the 24/7 consumerist state that controls us all came into being.

  • Thank you
    I enjoyed your post

  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tBs8ccGwbz8
    “PROPAGANDA” North Korea Documentary Film, [97 minutes]

    Don’t bother about the origin of the video, it’s immaterial to the message

  • Best strike I could muster against the Machine was to just not breed.

    Fewer serfs in the next generation for the Trumps and their ilk to exploit.

    Apparently, a lot of other commoners have come to the same conclusion; not that our declining numbers will have any noticeable impact on the lifestyle of The 1%, however.

  • Obviously, I couldn’t disagree with the main thrust of the text that propaganda is a very important problem for anybody seeking to influence society. I don’t think that’s a problem that needs to be pointed out to libertarians, though: their well-financed pro-billionaire nonsense is already far more widely and successfully promoted than its utter absurdity and fakeness would lead one to expect. Apart from that, here are two individual points that I would object to:
    .
    >powerful individuals have controlled the stories…
    .
    Not only they have. Everybody has participated in the shaping of the common stories to a degree, since every individual or group ultimately has to deal with the world according to his/its own circumstances, and produces their stories, or their variants of existing stories, in the process. You can never completely deprive humans of common sense and the ability to reach insights. In order to work, even the manipulation has to be based on abusing and distorting these true insights, so that the manipulated still has a sort of passive influence on the narrative that manipulates him. This is also connected to the fact that power is gradient: every individual has *some* degree of power and, accordingly, influence. Therefore, not *all* widely recognised truths are rubbish, and not everything in the common stories is.
    .
    >The modern schooling system was largely formed by John D Rockefeller
    .
    This is vastly oversimplified. Even the linked article speaks of Rockefeller’s influence only when discussing the US school system, not ‘the modern school system’ all over the world; and then it does on to blame the US system on Prussian influence. That said, the linked article lumps together all education reform since the American Civil war, also accusing John Dewey of having been an enemy of individual autonomy, when he was the exact opposite. In fact, modern education has elements of Rockefeller and elements of Dewey in it; rejecting it all is not a good idea.
    .
    The grand narrative of the linked text is one of evil totalitarian egalitarian internationalist socialists such as Dewey in cahoots with anti-capitalist capitalists such as Rockefeller promoting big gubmint to subvert traditional American national conservative values such as Jeezus, the Constitooshun and rugged individualism. In other words, this is typical American right-wing, Alex Jones-style, reactionary, conspiratorial drivel. (It also mentions that, as a Rockefeller has allegedly revealed, ‘the Feminist movement in the 1960′s was manufactured so that women would have to enter the workforce and so that more taxes could be collected’) I would neither trust nor promote it by linking to it.

    • Foundling – for a troll you are endlessly inventive in your nitpicking criticisms of Caitlin’s essays. I just wonder if your work is funded, or are you just made uncomfortable by the themes of Caitlin’s essays.

  • Interesting read after a somewhat poignant discussion in the car with my youngest daughter on the way home from one of her university exams today. She asked me about some political shenanigans going on in our country (Canada) and my response was what she has come to expect from me: “Honey, they’re all criminals. I’ve come to view voting and the entire ‘democratic’ process as akin to trying to fix a car by changing the driver. The system or game doesn’t change because you change the people in charge. All that changes are the stories we tell ourselves about the current ‘leadership’, our country, and the direction it may or may not be heading. Don’t ever believe a word that comes out of a politician’s mouth, or what you are told by the media to think. Judge these people by their actions, not their words.”

    • yes, let’s get the heck off the rigged car that endangers the passengers and walk or build an alternative car.
      we already know what the alternative looks like.

    • Wise advice.

  • Every revolution is the rise of a new, I’ll use Ms. Johnstone’s term, a new narrative. A new propaganda story that competes with the old, official one. A revolution is always the battle between two propaganda stories, competing for believers. When the new one gets enough believers, then the old one falls.
    ———
    A few examples. The 1960’s were the rise of a counter-culture that combated the American/western culture coming out of the toxic 50’s. In that they were very successful. They failed to convert that to political power. And then they failed to protect their gains against the eventual counter-revolution. Also, more recently, look at Ukraine. That of course was the CIA producing a revolutionary narrative that overthrew the existing one. Just join the west, join the EU, and life will be wonderful in the land of milk and honey, just like you see on TV.
    ————
    The key point is that what the world needs is a competing propaganda line that is more appealing that the existing one. The trick is trying to get it through the most intense propaganda barrage aimed at people today that the world has ever seen. I suggest people-to-people contact replacing people-to-screen contact is what will sell and take hold of people. But, maybe I’m just an old hippie talking, still wanting people to “Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out”. Note that the last two parts of that still seem very relevant to today, tune in to the truth about the world, drop out so you don’t work for the machine any longer.

    • If turning on to some good weed helps people to drop out of their ideational strait jackets, so be it!

  • Yes, Indeed, what a predicament. It’s amazing how much overlap there is with this article. I think that’s because we start to see the bigger patterns better. Nobility is how robber barons framed their taking possession of new lands. Now Fortune 500 is seen as the pinnacle of success, rather than as inditement for crimes. https://medium.com/the-gentle-revolution/the-human-failure-8f9014cabae
    But I think the metaphor of the abused partner is not even deep enough. Our biology is so deeply imbedded in the current reality, that it’s not even propaganda, but deep rooted convictions we think are normal. The waking up needs, I fear, more anger, more pain, more revelations, more clarity, and very possibly see people being happy when having escaped the imprisoning frames. What more would make us wonder, what more is possible?

    • Our conditioning does indeed go very deep. It takes shocks and a lot of conscious work to get free of it. This lengthy work is one reason w have run out of time for this thorough inner housecleaning to make place in sufficient numbers of people. We need something that works quicker – something we don’t have yet. We really need to find it before the jig is up for our species.

  • “For as man thinketh in his heart, so he is.” (Proverbs 23:6)

    “Mind precedes all things, dominates them, creates them.” (Opening words of Dhammapada)

    The battle for the mind is primary over all other concerns. The main currents of the Noosphere (the field of thought that envelopes the Earth) determine the destiny of all life within it’s embrace.

  • Caitlin,
    The incessant whines of entitlement and equality drown out the cries of genuine human suffering in the world. As identity group victims we can avoid personal responsibility for our collective socio-economic disorder. ‘By God, it’s the rich who have done this to us’. It’s not our individual and collective self-indulgence–the iphone 8 with unlimited data, the new 50′ flat screen, Super Bowl Sundays, the mortgages on everything we have accumulated, but can’t afford. No! ‘It’s the rich who have done this to us’. News alert–it’s not the rich who have destroyed western civilization. It is our ignorant, self-indulgent, materialistic collective mindset that has enslaved us. The masses kneel down and lick the hand of the money master, while convincing themselves that they are free. The group labels that define us–religious, political, racial, et. al–are nothing more than a reflection of our complicity in the wicked abuse of power to which we pledge our unwavering devotion and support. The above is a hard truth to swallow, but so is the fact that our individual decisions and choices have consequences that affect the quality of our lives and the lives of countless others. In his book, “A History of Central Banking and The Enslavement of Mankind”, author Stephen Mitford Goodson, a previous director of the South African Reserve Bank, cuts directly to the heart of the matter. The international private central banks and their debt-based money systems have enslaved all mankind. Our common predicament is not the making of those who became wealthy through hard work, sacrifice and individual determination. It is a direct result of our own willful ignorance, self-indulgence, and fear, that the owners of the corrupt international central banking system have achieved unassailable power, immeasurable and fraudulently acquired wealth, and brought western culture to its knees. As Goodson makes clear in his book, usury and debt-based central banking systems are the root cause of endless wars, abject poverty and global economic chaos. It’s important to remember that identity politics is a creation of the money powers. The sole purpose of identity politics is the entertainment, manipulation and control of the masses. The money powers can keep the ignorant, self-indulgent masses under control much easier than they can put debt chains around the neck of the free man.

    • The rich have done this to us. But we need not remain passive victims of their abuse.

      • exactly. we’ve known the problem all along. let’s reject the machine and work on alternative ways. BDS and alternative building simultaneously!

    • The raindrop never blames itself for the flood.

  • Groundhog Day number 26,901…………………… getting tired of “the same rerun” yet? Yes? Well, then, what you all are going to have to do is not continue to point out to each other what’s wrong with whatever you want to call the present arrangement. What you MUST do is use your imaginations to imagine, in the greatest detail, a better way for ALL people to behave on a day-to-day basis.
    ..
    The way that things are in the world today — at the precipice of nuclear war and environmental catastrophe — are NOT the way things HAVE to be. The way things ARE is because of the continued use/acceptance of an ANCIENT, now-deadly arrangement in which the vast majority of wealth and LARGE-SCALE capital equipment are owned or controlled by a microscopic percentage of the population for its own astronomical profit. This is the arrangement in the US, Russia and China (so too in the US’s vassal states of the EU, Japan, Australia and Canada).
    ..
    This fatally-flawed economic arrangement requires a wildly-expanding human population and, unfortunately, for only the US so far, perpetual war. This is why China’s one-child policy was dropped and the Chinese government has taken measures to increase its population of already 1.4 billion (how many billion would be enough, Mr. Xi?); Russia is encouraging and economically promoting large families and the US is required to have well over a million immigrants a year and hundreds of thousands of H1B to keep wages of the labor force low and maximize the profits of the microscopic percentage.
    ..
    These three nations are trying to out-intimidate each other. I think of the situation as akin to three gunslingers pointing guns at each other — similar to the stand-off at the end of the classic movie “The Good, The Bad And the Ugly”. Each of the three believes with all of its might that it is the exceptional, indispensable nation… the fastest gun.
    ..
    Who is going to be the last man standing?
    ..
    Here’s one possible scenario. The nation that pulls the trigger first, either by accident or intent, kills one of his opponents. The nation that was NOT shot then shoots the nation that pulled the trigger. One thing is for certain — the nation that pulls the trigger first dies; one of the other two dies; and the one that pulled the trigger last is the “victor”. Unfortunately, humanity dies from radiation poisoning.
    ..
    The present, fatally-flawed economic arrangement is what must be re-designed to one which does NOT require a wildly-growing human population, international trade (at first, anyway), and, in the case of the US, perpetual wars to provide profit to private and public investments in the MIC.
    ..
    So, just exactly WHAT MUST BE the “solid ground” which can be the foundation of this new economic system in each and every nation of the world?
    ..
    WHAT DOES THAT NEW ARRANGEMENT LOOK LIKE? That is the ultimate question for each and every one of us to discuss with EACH OTHER, ALL OVER THE WORLD. The microscopic percentages in the three big powers are not only NOT going to provide us any assistance, they will resist with all of their power any attempt to change the present arrangement, even if they know that the present arrangement will lead to human extinction. The answer to that question will most certainly NOT suddenly make itself known to our minds by our minds attempting to go back to the state our “minds” were in on the day of our birth or by sitting around bitching about the present arrangement.
    ..
    One thing is certain. Although we did not realize it, the day in our lives that we first thought/accepted/believed that we were inherently better, or more exceptional, or more indispensable, than someone else was the day that we accepted that human extinction was inevitable. If we cannot collectively understand why that MUST be true, and that “doing unto others as we would have them do unto us” is the one and only way for humanity to proceed, we will be incapable of designing a new arrangement that will NOT lead to human extinction. Starting off a discussion or international negotiation by saying “I am better than you; you will either do what I say or you will destroy you” instantly, quite understandably ends the discussion and leads only to increasing conflict and inevitable extinction.
    ..
    So, can we commenters on Caitlin’s great web site agree on absolutely ANYTHING about that new world that we’d all like to be living in, or are we going to go one to Groundhog Day number 26,902 in which we are STILL incapable of imagining anything different that Groundhog Day number 26,901? What I am saying is that WE have got to break out of Groundhog Day ourselves…… right here, right now, TODAY! I’m ready. Are you?

  • Your writing just gets better and better -thank you for coalescing so well what my intuition tells me, you can always recognize the truth when you hear it.

    I banged my head against a metaphorical wall for decades trying to show friends a better way. All for naught, now I see why.

    There’s an old phrase – “A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still”

  • I sent this to my father, a self-proclaimed Marxist living in rural northeastern Pennsylvania and wanted to share his response:

    “Intriguing although I fear not exactly accessible to those in that echo chamber of which she speaks. Try to explain this to the Wysox, PA populace and you’d be met with the glazed eyes and two barrels.”

    Love,

    Josh

    • Some people are stuck in the Matrix. It is like Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. Caitlin is trying to describe reality, but everyone stuck in the Cave cannot understand it.

  • But you’ve been propagandized about many things, no? Take climate change. You believe 80 parts per million of CO2 is enough to destroy all of humanity. You are being a good leftie environmentalist. As I once was. I am still an environmentalist, but our problems are pesticides and pharmaceuticals and plastics and over development. Your understanding of the depth of their propaganda is weak. Buy getting well meaning people fooled about something that important they make change impossible. And of course any changes will benefit them, like carbon trading schemes run by Goldman Sachs. Its a form of scientific insanity, but all good lefties buy into it, because they are NOT thinking scientifically, they are thinking emotionally. Fooled by the narrative. Hypnotised by fear.

    Many leftist leaders are fakes- in reality they are undercover- they are spies- and they will disrupt any progress. The leader of Ireland for many years- de Valera- was actually a British spy. So- who now is a spy? There are many. Without exposing them we have no chance. But so few even know that they exist.

    Your understanding of how their propaganda really works needs to become more sophisticated.

    The right wing is actually right about some things.

    Even Darwinism is propaganda! I’m sure I lost you right there. But it isn’t even science. How is it falsifiable? Where is the experiment? What does it do to us to believe we are the product of trillions of random mutations? Its a form of scientific insanity, but all good lefties buy into it, because they are not thinking scientifically. For good reason they became anti-religion. So they became pro-science So they use science against us, as is seen by their surveillance programs.

    Start with climate alarmism. Start here: How the global warming scare began:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyUDGfCNC-k

    You must realize that there is more than reasonable doubt about climate alarmism and leftie environmentalists look like stupid chicken littles and it is very sad. The safety of vaccines is infinitely more important. But lefties want to vaccinate everyone for their entire lives! It’s a form of scientific insanity, but all good lefties buy into it, because they are not thinking scientifically, they are thinking emotionally.

    peace- bob

    • How many troll lines do you have out Bob?

  • “Humanity’s predicament is the same.”

    There’s an important difference. [This is libertarian-speak, so hold your ears] The abused individual had choices. Humanity cannot be said to have exercised a choice simply because 51% (or any other majority percentage) of humans act a certain way.

  • Hmm, I wonder whether the only thing powerful enough to topple today’s tower of vested interests would be a new religion. Sadly, tomorrow’s tower of vested interests would inexorably rise from the ashes. Perhaps human nature simply leads large groups to become hierarchical?

    • “Perhaps human nature simply leads large groups to become hierarchical?”

      I think it was Ben Franklin who made a comment on the order of [paraphrasing] People who would give up liberty for security deserve neither. But it seems to be human nature to do that, so people form governments to protect themselves from various threats, real and imagined, and governments cannot function without limiting individuals’ options. I think Hierarchy evolves because those who covet the ability to wield government authority tend to be the ones we should least trust to do so.

    • Scientology perhaps?

  • Caitlin, thank you for hosting this continuous public forum. Concentration of wealth is the single most toxic element of life. Wealth buys power and power grabs wealth. But how do we convince the wealthy to give some of it up short of taking it from their cold, dead hands? If demonstrating the positive feedback system of wealth and power will result in runaway global extinction via climate disaster or nuclear disaster isn’t enough, then . . . what is?

    And speaking of history books. They will record two issues from the 2016 US-ian election.
    1. The electoral college stole the election from Clinton.
    2. There was collusion between Trump and Russ-ians.

    They will ignore, distract and divert us away from the fact that Clinton stole the primary from Sanders and the whole damn general election should be null and void. And what is even worse? Sanders plays along with it. Some revolutionary.

    • “Wealth buys power and power grabs wealth. But how do we convince the wealthy to give some of it up short of taking it from their cold, dead hands?”

      I think when a corrupt purchase of government power is bought, the seller is moderately more unethical than the buyer. We already have theoretical authority over the sellers, but we as a group just don’t have the will to exercise it wisely. Besides, if we decided to take it from their cold dead hands, we’d be petitioning the sellers to help us, and given what we’ve seen thus far, we should probably expect to be refused.

    • We need to remember the Sanders cop out to Hillary, and not let him fool so many again.

      • Images also provide powerful messages to those who pause to reflect upon their possible meanings. Did I dream this or is there a vid of HC visiting one of the Rockefeller heirs, walking in the yard, chatting and then casually strolling by an owl statue displayed in his home? Did I imagine it or did anyone else notice the fresh wound on Bernie’s cheek that appeared shortly after the DNC debacle? Of course it was most likely something innocuous but it almost looked like someone hit him hard while wearing a big diamond ring or something. Still, that’s better than ending up as an early morning “message” such as a young DNC employee lying dead on a DC street shortly after that same major cluster folk – or did we collectively imagine that one?

  • Thanks caitlyn.

    Great article as always. Hit the very root of the problem.

    People stay with there situation as they feel there is no way out of a deliberate debt trap,
    and must continue working to service the mortgage, pay the car loan, credit card and mantain a status quo.
    The abused partner also feels crippled by the fear of becoming a single mother, living in a flat with no car
    stranded in the outer suburbs.

    Socialism could work if not sabotaged at every turn. An example of this is of course Venezuela.
    The building of a million homes is very noble and very necessary although mostly highrise, affectively drawing
    people into the cities to work in the mills and factories in order to chase the carrot on a stick.
    Which indicates to me that people are still forced to pursue a consumer lifestyle.
    Not conforming is not an option.

    I owe I owe It’s off to work I go.

    • Right Phil, money is the chain that binds us to the system that is destroying the world.

  • knowing is nothing, unless you have the courage to act on it. realizing that you’re not alone but one of many is immensely empowering. keeping faith in fellow human beings — minus a small group of psychopathic and sociopathic thieves and their jack-booted soldiers — is absolutely essential to achieve justice and peace.

  • Unfortunately most human beings are completely brainwashed about everything!! How many humans actually truly know how to love themselves; never mind truly love somebody else?? How many human beings have rules they will never break; no matter what?? As my late aunt used to say ” human beings are the only dysfunctional species on this planet “!!

  • Caitlin, good article, though my life’s experiences don’t agree with quiet a bit of it. Unfortunately, I’ve been at the coal face so to speak, (as a Union President, in Australia) and I can vouch for your words when you say, “folks don’t realise the POWER they hold in their own hands”, which I’ve discovered is IMMENSE. One time the Union was up against the Government and the ALLEGED protector of Unionists, the A.C.T.U. (Australian Council Trades Union.) the later of which is SUPPOSED to ensure the well being of it’s members. Sadly that group failed totally to fulfill it’s obligations and assist us in our endevours, leaving our small group of people to fend for ourselves. We were told we needed a Union to represent us in Court. As we had resigned from the previous Union that had failed us miserably, we resigned and went on our own. Forming a totally autonomous group unafillated with the accepted groups. Our numbers ranged between 90-130 people. We were the drivers of the Metropolitan Electric Rail Service and we were demanding a better deal. Let down by every organisation that was supposed to support us, we simply broke away and did our own thing. At first I was refused to be listened to, told I had no authority to speak on behalf of the people I allegedly represented, so I went back and got each and ever Driver to sign a petition clearly stating I was authorised to negotiate on their behalf. The Court accepted this authorisation and allowed me the floor. Negotiations went badly and we were left with no other choice, but to with hold our labor, go on strike . I had the 100% support of my members with this decision. We were on strike for two days, but during that period it was obvious the support was quickly dwindling as folks just sat around and their wives were getting quiet antsy and were fearing the worst, instead of supporting their husbands in getting a better deal. The longer the negotiations went on, the more the support for the strike dwindled, until it reached about 35% still supporting the strike. Fortunately, the negotiations were successful and we succeeded in getting a better deal.
    However, the lessons I learnt from that experience, were invaluable. I learnt that a small group of people had enormous power within their hands to negotiate with if they held their ground. But to win, you had to be prepared to fight what your looking for AND fight to HOLD it. If your not prepared to do that, you will lose it. FACT.
    Today, folks are not prepared to even voice their approval, in fact it would appear people deliberately IGNORE what’s going on around them, using whatever pretext they are favorite with. Then when they are unemployed and thrown out onto the street with cold and hungry kids crying out, they sit there stunned, wonder what the hell just happened. By then, the horse has well and truly bolted and they are stuck with it. Check out similar behavior during the Depression, folks have learnt nothing from history. Every one of us, has been supplied with SELF PRESERVATION INSTINCTS, these cannot be wiped from our minds, but they can be buried, which our education system seems to be hell bent upon doing. Once those instincts surface, people will begin to rally together with like minded people, again, as in the depression, and work together for the benefit of the whole. Sadly, to reach such a stage, requires a whole lot of pain for everyone, before the penny drops, and people realise the World will not change, unless we all get together and pull as one.

    • true words from real experience. nonetheless, we must have faith in each other, as that’s all we got.

  • Caitlin , I think we may have been greatly “misunderestimating” the regular people of this country. I wrote earlier today of my discovery over the course of decades that some 15 to 30 minutes below the surface, almost every working person I engaged with knows we need a revolution. Sites like PickYourCandidate.com brought out that out of some 20 Republican and Democratic candidates some 60% to 70% of respondents aligned most closely with Dennis Kucinich – at a time when regular working people often had no access to the Web.

    Four years ago, when I would go over Bernie’s economic program with fellow bus riders I didn’t have to argue or persuade, people would just light up! It’s not just that they needed those programs, it’s that finally someone with apparent power was recognizing the reality of their lives and really seeing them!

    So if people see through the media and they have their own ideas, how is it that it can still control our minds? I’ve been wondering about this for a long time.

    When I would ask any regular person about whether we’re being told the truth, it’s like “hell no, it’s all a bunch of lies!” But one after another they would then go into a riff about all those other stupid lazy people sitting on their couches stuffing their faces and believing what they were told. At first I used to believe that too, but what began to bother me is that I wasn’t finding those stupid lazy mental zombies. They must exist, we all agreed. Where were they? Was everyone I talked to special and different, like in Lake Woebegone?

    And yet even if we all know we’re being lied to and manipulated television still has huge power over our minds. I can feel it. I mostly avoid television, but when I do watch it, it leaves me feeling helpless, powerless, depressed. Why should I be depressed about a world where everything was prettier and easier? A world where everyone was basically content, no one worked every day past the point of exhaustion, no one lived in fear of ruin if they got sick or got arrested or if their car broke down or if they lost their temper at their boss and lost their job. A world where no one was in a state of perpetual panic over the mortgage, medical bills and prescription drug costs, and husbands and wives didn’t fight over which one to pay. Mothers didn’t live in terror of getting reported for leaving children home alone, children didn’t blackmail parents with the threat of calling Child Welfare and men didn’t live in terror that someone would notice that their daughter gave them a hard-on and report them. People’s lives on television, the lives of apparently normal people, were so much easier, and their problems while dramatic (often involving a very bad person who needs killing) so much simpler.

    But even more devastating and even more invisible is that on television no one questioned the news, no one questioned the system, except for some oddball misfits. Everyone was basically content.

    Then one day it hit me, that *these* were the stupid lazy people who everyone points at! Watching television we enter into an imaginary world of stupid gullible people with basically easy happy lives who never question the narrative, and we imagine (and resent) all those other stupid lazy people out there we imagine watching this imaginary world and believing in it!

    If that’s true, if that’s all that’s left of television’s power over our minds, the the hold that it has on us has grown fragile indeed. Perhaps we’re just an Emperor’s New Clothes moment away from breaking the spell!

  • Well put, Caitlin. History, such as some of the facts are known, confirms this to a large extent. There is another element I’d like to add, and that is about the path of least resistance. I believe that people will always take the path of least resistance when they can’t avoid a decision – either to act of to change their understanding.

    The first and easiest option is, as you rightly say, to dismiss the anti-propaganda argument. The second option, if forced to decide, is to take the path of least resistance – to do as little as possible and to change as little as possible, no matter that the change might even improve their life and reduce suffering. As you say, it is easier to remain in a prison.

    I watched a series of short videos recently by Peak Prosperity (https://www.peakprosperity.com/crashcourse) which outlined, amongst other things, very simplistically how the global money system worked and how it was manipulated for the benefit of the few. What I liked about it was that it was very easy to follow, logically broken down into digestible steps that anyone could understand.

    What I’d love to see is a kind of Wiki that dismantles the ‘official’ narratives, and translates each one into the real truth, so that a reader could browse through the Wiki to get a quick high level understanding of how the various narratives tie together, and who benefits from them and how. To see and understand the bigger picture.

    I think it is this apparent complexity of the propaganda, and its context, that confuses most people and makes them put it into the ‘too hard basket’, so even though someone knows that a particular story, for example the current Argentinian one, is contrived and manufactured – they don’t know how it fits into the bigger picture.

    We, and I speak for myself here too, need a ready source of structured and interlinked information that pierces through the propaganda, and reveals each piece for what it is and how it furthers the agendas of the powerful. So, instead of having thousands of articles, videos, podcasts and other unstructured opinions and comments, it all needs to be assembled into some kind of database, hence the Wiki idea, that people can work their way through to understand the bigger picture.

    Once they ‘get’ the big picture, the ‘aha’ moment, then they become enlightened – and from then on can see the narratives for what they really are. This, after all, is what enlightenment is all about – seeing the truth, the reality, free of all distortion.

  • Xlnt column, Caitlin. Keep on speaking the truth, kicking arse and taking names,

    Ronald Gold Coast

  • The commitment of our lives to the struggle for freedom is the extreme challenge. To be enslaved by ourselves, by others, is an unacceptable form of death. ”To one who, journeying through night and fog, Is mired neck –deep in an unwholesome bog, Experience, like the rising of the dawn, Reveals the path that he should not have gone” Joel Fred Bink.

  • You have touched on this before and I think that it is worth repeating. Our hominid brains are super sensitive to fear. That is what the narratives magnify all the time!
    It has taken me a long time (77 now) to sort this out. Fear is imaginary and the antidote is actually quite simple. The opposite of fear is acceptance. I can hear howls of outrage! So much is wrong, so much has to be changed and so on. But what if this is …what is.

    • I’m 70 and have lived a varied and interesting life. I have learned that what you suggest–lying back like a surrender monkey–is the coward’s way. As a Marxist, I believe in saying what is, but I also believe that knowing what is, is only the first step. The next step is to change what is into something better. When you say “hominid brain” what you are actually describing is the lizard brain. As humans, we also have the frontal cortex. We can think. If we choose to. And we can act on what we think. What needs to be encouraged is critical thinking and learning what is true and what is not true.

      As Marx said in his Theses on Feuerbach: “The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.”

  • when you’re unaware, you’re unaware that you’re unaware. then stockholm sysndrome is another layer on top of the demoralization layer. yuri bezmenov said to g edward griffin that once a group is demoralized nothing, no amount of information can be utilized by the demoralized to alter the program. schools need to be set up where children can be treated like adults and given the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth…..not disneyland and cinderella non sense. wasn’t admiral farragut commander of his own ship at 12 or something like that. we (the uninitiated) are trained to lie and baby our children rather than empower them. ya junior this fat guy with a red and white suit flies around with reindeer, jumps down the chimmney and leaves you a pile of toys you don’t need, but only if your a good boy or girl.what chance do we have to help the next generation from breaking their enslavement filling them with garbage like that?

  • I couldn’t agree more Caitlin. I think the key factor is as you mentioned; “powerful individuals”. In every human era, there have been manipulative people who use wealth to corrupt the system. No King or Lord was ever poor. They were the most wealthy of their time. i think it is fairly accurate to say that the major problem that society needs to deal with is excessive wealth. That is how the news gets co-opted. That’s how government gets co-opted. What everyone should be working towards right now is dramatically increased taxation of the rich. The rich have been obsessed with reducing taxes for a reason. They use the money to subvert democracy. If you want to limit the clout that rich people have you need to take their money away.

    Societies that tax wealth highly (Scandinavia) have much happier people in general. If you want to stop the endless wars, Wall Street excesses, government capture by corporations, corporate take over of the news and all the other problems we face, start by limiting the amount of money that a single person can amass. Then go after corporate influence in government and news media (undo Citizens United, bring back the fairness doctrine, etc.).

    Nothing is going to get fixed, and no system will last, as long as the problem of the concentration of wealth is not faced head on.

      • when the government works for the rich, people find paying taxes to that government onerous, and rejecting taxation (and the government itself) becomes an act of rebellion. and yeah, the rich want people to blame the government as the enemy.

        however, more and more people see through that propaganda. “taking back the country” as a conservative motto can be understood in that context.

        we should reframe (and correct) the debate from whether the govt is the enemy to what kind of government (or society), egalitarian / communist or individualist / capitalist, we want.

      • If we take most of their money away, they will not be able to buy up TV stations or newspapers. They can’t bribe politicians. They can’t effectively propagandize people. They also can’t capture government agencies without the influence of money. The major problem does boil down to concentration of wealth, and as that has gotten worse, the propaganda has escalated dramatically. As you know, they repealed the Smith-Mundt act in 2013 under Obama, which prevented US government propaganda.

        • I should add, one good place to start is to attack the propaganda that taxing wealth is bad. Make it clear that taxing wealth is fantastic. Make it a major progressive talking point. The reaction from the wealthy will be swift and unrelenting. But we need to keep hammering the point until it becomes a political issue in the election.

  • I’d take it one step back – Chomsky said it succinctly:

    “People not only don’t know what’s happening to them, they don’t even know that they don’t know.”

    With the dominance of the MSM propaganda machine, the masses have no way of knowing.

    • It’s OK to cut them some slack, but don’t give “the masses” a free pass. They can know in the same way we know. They don’t care to, or don’t bother to, or don’t grasp the value of understanding the things we’re talking about, but they had choices and they made them, often with heavy reliance on mystical thinking and cognitive dissonance.

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