HomeArticlePropagandists Cry About Bernie’s Online Base Because It’s Effective, Not Because It’s Mean

Propagandists Cry About Bernie’s Online Base Because It’s Effective, Not Because It’s Mean

Sometimes it feels like the only news stories over the last five years have been about mean tweets. Trump’s mean tweets, Sanders supporters’ mean tweets; some days it’s all the headlines ever want to talk about. You’d hardly know humanity is on the precipice of extinction on multiple fronts.

If you are the sort of person who believed that the “Bernie Bro” talking point would vanish after statistics showed the narrative of Sanders’ base consisting mostly of entitled white men to be completely false, then you are probably the sort of person who is often wrong about things. Whether the headlines are about an MSNBC host comparing Berners on Twitter to literal Nazi brown shirts, Meghan McCain bashing Sanders and then calling his supporters “nasty and cruel” for responding, or a Nevada culinary union dishonestly smearing Sanders on healthcare and then shrieking about being “viciously attacked” by online criticism, this garment rending over angry Bernie Bros remains more popular than ever.

Which, as we’ve discussed previously, is ridiculous. Acting like a few angry social media comments are in any way an inappropriate response to a millionaire narrative manager passive-aggressively sabotaging people’s attempts to fight crushing domestic austerity and create a working healthcare system for themselves is cartoonish drama queenery, and anyone who does this should be mocked by the entire world.

The Elizabeth Warren-supporting writer Sam Adler-Bell–a much less powerful player than the wealthy corporate media pundits who are seen on TV by millions every day–shared his experience with incurring the wrath of Sanders supporters on Twitter.

“Thanks to my squishy ‘be nice to Warren’ takes, I’ve experienced a lot of the storied online Bernie Bro attacks,” Adler-Bell tweeted. “And you know what? Not that bad. Pretty normal stuff. Small faction. I mute and move on. Maybe not a national headline that should last 4+ years.”

The popular explanation for these absurd establishment conniptions over the insolent common folk daring to talk back to their masters is that it’s being used to smear Sanders, and of course that’s true; Sanders is consistently attacked for having rude supporters. A more detailed understanding is that it’s also due to a media class whose ivory towers previously insulated them from the reactions of the riff raff being unable to handle a new paradigm where op-eds receive digital comments from an energized populist political faction, and that’s obviously true as well.

But the primary reason the establishment narrative managers are becoming increasingly shrill about the online behavior of Sanders supporters runs much deeper: they’re afraid of it because it’s effective.

I’ve been writing for a long time about the possibility of a grassroots information rebellion in which ordinary people use new media in sufficient numbers to actually seize control of important dominant narratives, and, at least within the limited scope of Sanders’ presidential campaign, we’re seeing an actual model for what such an insurgency might look like. In their endless freeform improvisation on social media, Berners have demonstrated the ability to unearth information and launch it into virality, to collectively send hashtags to the top of Twitter’s trending list like #ILikeBernie#BloombergIsRacist and #WarrenIsASnake, and to meme top presidential campaigns like that of Kamala Harris completely out of existence.

Centrist elitists are fond of saying “Twitter isn’t real life”, meaning the dominant views you’ll see on social media aren’t necessarily reflective of the broader public, and of course that’s true. But clearly Twitter, like any other large and influential media platform, is able to help shape narratives which affect real life. The difference is that unlike other forms of billionaire-owned media, Twitter allows for the possibility of a grassroots campaign by the people to influence those narratives.

Even if you’re not a Sanders supporter I highly recommend keeping tabs on his online base, because it’s a force that is truly something to behold. And also because it sets an example of something that could change the world, if people could just figure out a way to expand their grassroots information rebellion beyond the scope of a single candidate’s presidential campaign.

And that’s the real reason the imperial narrative managers are so freaked out about it. Not because anyone is being “viciously attacked”, but because they understand that narrative control is power. The people collectively seizing control of the dominant narratives within the empire is the stuff of oligarchic nightmares, because whoever controls the narrative controls the world.

Power is the ability to control what happens. Absolute power is controlling what people think about what happens.Humans are story-oriented creatures, so if you can control the stories that the humans are telling about what’s going on, you can control those humans. Any adept manipulator understands this. So they understand that the people taking control of dominant narratives is a direct threat to their rule.

The oligarchs who control the US-centralized empire would literally kill for such a large and highly energized collective advancing pro-establishment narratives of their own free will, but they know they can’t get one because the status quo offers ordinary people nothing to get excited about. They can only obtain narrative control by purchasing it, whether it’s by advertising, buying up media outlets, funding think tanks, or paying online influencers like Mike Bloomberg

You can’t buy grassroots energy. Oligarchs find this endlessly frustrating, like an insecure Wall Street executive who can buy anything in the world besides a large penis. They’ve tried to emulate it, as with the so-called “Resistance” astroturf campaign designed to harness the energy of the 2016 Sanders run and corrall it into support for the Democratic establishment against Trump, but it falls flat without any shiny, attractive thing to positively push toward. So since they can’t replicate grassroots energy they do the next best thing: they attack it.

That’s all you’re ever seeing when imperial narrative managers try to disparage and discredit Berners online. They’re doing the exact same thing they’ve been doing with alternative media and RT: attacking a source of unauthorized narratives because they are unable to control it.

As I said from the very beginning, Sanders’ 2020 campaign is much more interesting as a movement than as a presidential candidacy. If Sanders manages to get in he’ll push for a few changes which will be ferociously opposed every step of the way by existing power structures, and some mild reforms will end up taking place. If the people figure out how to use the power they tapped into during his campaign to take control of dominant narratives, they can actually transform the world.

So let the narrative managers educate you with their fake tears. They are informing you of your power. Use it to wisely. Use it to birth a healthy world into existence.

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Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, checking out my podcast on either YoutubesoundcloudApple podcasts or Spotify, following me on Steemit, throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypalpurchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone, or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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Latest comments

  • Someone on here might be interested in this:

    Maine will hold a primary in March. Did you think Tulsi Gabbard’s campaign was dead in the water? Not in Maine! We’re receiving endless television ads for her, prominently showing her in full battle gear of course. It’s patently obvious what this is all about, the hope that she will take votes away from Sanders. I am registered to vote, but not with a party affiliation, which means I can choose a party affiliation on primary day. I am considering doing this to vote for Sanders, just to say my minuscule screw you to the Democratic Party.

  • New York City mayor Bill de Blasio has endorsed Bernie Sanders for president; I hope that de Blasio has not cursed Mr. Sanders. It is also being hinted that Mike Bloomberg would have Hillary Clinton as his VP. ( If that ever came to pass President Bloomberg would surely die in office. ) United States politics are more entertaining than any soap opera.

  • Elections do not matter. It is there just to perpetuate the “System” under democratic disguise.

    If there is a real threat to the “System” and the power of the ruling elites, those elites will find a way to cancel elections invoking a legitimate reason of some sort (for example an epidemic… or a war or some fake attack like 9/11).

    And it is becoming worst and worst because we are in the return of the days of Noah just before the Second Coming of Jesus and I pray the Rosary to hasten His return because I do have seen enough of all the bs.

    • Oh please, spare us the “End Times” fantasy hysteria. It isn’t happening. But then, your belief in 9/11 being fake shows already that fantasy is more important than reality in your life.

      • Well, on 9/11 I haven’t seen airplane wreckages in the Pentagone and in a field in Pennsylvania on any network or any picture of that. Nothing! Have you?

        And yes, we are in the End Times and I pray the Rosary to hasten the Return of Jesus because if you haven’t seen enough bs, I have.

      • Spoken like a true champion, who somehow has assumed the title of the Arbiter Of Truth. Just exactly what evidence do you have that these are NOT the “end times”, or that 9/11 was NOT an inside job? I place no faith in any religion, but there are a number of factors escorting us down the road to extinction. I don’t know if 9/11 was an inside job or not, but have no doubt that the US Sociopaths In Charge would have orchestrated such if they concluded it would benefit them, which is more important than whether they did or not.

  • http://www.johndayblog.com/2020/02/alohavirus.html
    Dr Clif on Oahu sent me this story last night about a Japanese tourist who landed in Japan with a 102 fever, and tested positive for Wuhan coronavirus on 2/8/20. He had been in Hawaii from 1/28/20 to 2/7/20, on Maui, then Oahu. He got a fever in transit to Japan, it seems (Tylenol before?) and wore a mask on the plane, since he had gotten cold symptoms on Oahu.
    Authorities counting the days think he got infected in Japan, but the spread of incubation estimates I’ve seen is 6-24 days. It’s probably not the same for everybody.
    Dude-San had a cold at a resort on Oahu for 4 days. What a great place to meet people from all over the world!
    Does Hawaii get quarantined now? Just Oahu? What about Maui? Cats out of bag?
    https://www.hawaiinewsnow.com/2020/02/14/governor-japanese-visitor-recently-hawaii-confirmed-have-coronavirus/?outputType=amp#referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s

    CDC director says coronavirus could stay in US through this year and beyond​
    (Huh, What? We’re keeping it OUT! OUT! OUT!)
    “Right now we’re in an aggressive containment mode,” CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield told CNN. “This virus is probably with us beyond this season, beyond this year, and I think eventually the virus will find a foothold and we will get community-based transmission.”
    https://thehill.com/regulation/healthcare/483071-cdc-director-coronavirus-will-stay-with-us-beyond-this-year

  • The spin doctors stay up nights trying to find ways to flip the mass consciousness this way or that. If you want to play their game, you are into competing with some pretty skillful people with a lot of resources behind them. Caitlin has just about as good a mind and heart to play this deadly serious game as anyone I am aware of. Get behind her with your cash and support every way you can, and hold on to the vison of a better world that is possible.

  • If Sanders was 50 I would be concerned but he is not. This is his last hurrah and there is no one i see to take up his banner. He is too old in my opinion to be running for office. I think 75 should be the upper limit. Reagan was too old in his second term and Sanders would be worse. But ce la vie.

    • There are many to take up his banner, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Where is your criticism of Biden’s age? He’s older than Sanders.

  • If Sanders was 50 I would be concerned but he is not. This is his last hurrah and there is no one i see to take up his banner. He is too old in my opinion to be running for office. I think 75 should be the upper limit. Reagan was too old in his second term and Sanders would be worse. But ce la vie.

  • ” They’re doing the exact same thing they’ve been doing with alternative media and RT: attacking a source of unauthorized narratives because they are unable to control it.”

    Maybe that can be changed though.

    https://www.mintpressnews.com/cybernyc-taxpayers-millions-cyber-center-israel-ties-intelligence/264984/

  • MSNBC…. craven, gutless whores for Empire and imperialism, and fervent supporters of Neoliberalism.
    Megan McCain…. spoilt brat daughter of a blood soaked war criminal and ravenous warmonger who wanted to bomb Iran back to the stone age.
    The entire thing is one confected, pretend, Punch & Judy pile of crap.
    Do you really, honestly believe you have Any real say in what happens in the United States, or pretty much anywhere else for that matter.
    You get to tick a few boxes. That’s it.
    All this infantilised talk show and talking heads cretinous rubbish is a waste of your brain cells, and is all just another part of the propaganda matrix.

    • Hello. It’s all about clicks and ad revenue; it’s not even close to “news.” “It’s all about the Benjamin’s, baby!”

      • The ethics of the people who appear on these ‘shows’. Oh wait, they don’t have any ethics. Or morals.
        As you rightly point out, it’s all about the $$$.
        I just boycott them. End of. A waste of space and waste of precious time.
        I find out what they get up too by reading independent sites like this one and numerous others.

  • Somebody should do a study correlating then number of appeals on leftwing sites that everyone please not vote; with Sanders rising popularity. I suspect there is a strong correlation.
    The Oligarchs would love for you to go vote for one of their puppets with the rest of the MSNBC lemmings. The Oligarchs second choice would be for you to stay home and not vote and not participate. What keeps Oligarchs awake at night and causes greedy people to part with billions of dollars worth of propaganda is the thought that you might show up and vote for Bernie.

    • “..appeals on leftwing sites that everyone please not vote…The Oligarchs second choice would be for you to stay home and not vote and not participate. ”

      That’s strange. I’ve seen plenty of criticisms of votism and have written dozens myself (and will be writing more this year). But never once have I seen an advocate for abstention say “don’t participate”. On the contrary, everyone I’ve seen has called for a much greater participation in public affairs as being the essence of citizenship and true democracy, while electoralism as we have it is the “participation” equivalent of McDonald’s, consumerist “politics”.

      So please give some examples of these leftwing sites which counsel non-participation.

      On the contrary, the typical consumer atom of the mass which votes every four years based on nothing but celebrity-worship and who otherwise knows nothing of politics other than a few half-baked uncoordinated opinions, exemplifies the essence of fake-“participation”.

  • “First they ignore you.
    Then they laugh at you.
    Then they fight you.
    Then you win.”
    –Mahatma Ghandi
    The people’s movement fronted by Bernie is now clearly deep into stage three. Which means that victory is in sight!

  • At the next televised democratic debate everyone, including Mike Bloomberg, is going to attack Bernie Sanders. Bernie Sanders is going to be insulted and livid that Mr. Bloomberg ” bought his way into the debate “. It should be real interesting.

    • Gee, Bernie’s never been attacked before, not in his entire lifetime. I wonder if he can handle it?

  • We are co-creating this world going forward.
    It isn’t made yet. This year is particularly full of energy and unpredictable.
    Do good things and surprise everybody. Make something good.
    Just be out there doing good and telling the truth without fear every day.
    Yeah, we’re all gonna’ die. So what?
    Don’t leave Bernie and Tulsi out there trying to move a swamp over by 2 feet.
    http://www.johndayblog.com

  • I agree with most things you say most of the time. There are many things we can do.. the decentralized guerrilla psywar sounds great but I find it hard to find anyone in the real world who cares.. and as for the Town square thing.. an estimated forty million people marched globally in a vane effort to prevent the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. There is people jumping up and down about all sorts of issues everywhere.. marching, protesting, signing partitions.. and if you really want to ramp up the pressure, “blockade” if you have support. BDS has got them scared, but how do I know which petrol to buy, which telecommunications network wont spy on me, which energy company is clean or which bank is ethical.. and speaking of usury.. fractional reserve banking relies totally on debt and the interest payments that create the new money. this whole pyramid scheme relies on constant debt growth, and on a finite planet this is not sustainable. We can undermine their whole scam by not participating.. I believe one of the most effective forms of protest is to boycott these criminal banking cabals. Simple.. DO NOT borrow money.. DO NOT sign on to debt.. snap your credit card..the thing you want or claim to need can wait, and you will appreciate it much more having saved for it.

  • The ” Republican establishment ” gave us Donald Trump; I believe the ” Democratic establishment ” are going to give us Bernie Sanders because of the vile ham-fisted ways that they are attacking him from all sides. Here are two relevant articles:
    https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/02/14/why-bernie-is-democrats-best-hope-beat-trump/
    https://www.truthdig.com/articles/matt-taibbi-democrats-are-unwittingly-handing-sanders-the-nomination/

  • Yep the Nevada culinary union management hates Bernie but union members love Bernie and will be voting for him.

  • Here’s what I see as the big win of the Sanders campaign: starting with the Iowa Carcass and all the way till November, you’ll get to see the most brazen electoral fuckery ever, and the media playing along to the hilt. By the end of it, only the memetically lobotomized still won’t know they’ve been had. And even on the off chance we’d end up with a President Bernie, Bernie the man would still have ample opportunity to disappoint.

    People won’t stand up until hope is lost.

  • While I don’t always agree with everything you write Catlin, I do respect your opinion and find you sometimes make good points that should at least be reflected on. I’m anything but a Bernie fan but I’m also not in bed with Trump either. The closest politician that I can see myself supporting is Rand Paul. The science fiction author L. Neil Smith who I very much appreciate made an interesting comment some time ago. “Voting will be outlawed if it ever really threatens to change things.” Maybe that what the world needs. The absence of voting caused by a sea change in the mind of a significant number of voters fed up with the status quo might bring others to come to the realization that we are living in a “holograph” world where fantasy is the critical instrument in shaping world events and not reality. I’m not a young man anymore and I doubt that I’ll live to see it the day when people start thinking of themselves as “free” but I can at least hope I’ll live long enough to see the process start.

    • Hmmmm

      Well said!

    • Hmmmm

      Sums things up nicely!

    • Originally attributed to Emma Goldman back around 1916 or so.

    • If “not voting” could change anything, then it would be illegal.
      ———
      I support Ron Paul. Big Difference. Rand fell far from the tree, and is a big Trump fascism supporter.
      Hasn’t been the same since he got that severe beat down.

      • I don’t know that he fell so far from the tree. Seems to me that Rand is more focused on being an effective influence than on being right all the time as Ron is. He does support Trump at times, other times not so much. He supports him in opposition to the attempted coup, does not support him in foreign policy. I’m much against voting, as it lends credence to the Sociopaths In Charge, giving them a mandate for tyranny. Gang rape is democracy in action.

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