Writing as Resistance

“The Goal: an era of investigative poesy wherein one can be controversial, radical, and not have the civilization rise up to smite down the bard. To establish and to maintain it. POETS MAY REMAIN IN THE RADIX, UNCOMPROMISING, REVOLUTIONARY, SEDITIOUS, ABSOLUTE.” —Ed Sanders, 1976

Investigative Poetry. Essays. Articles. Poems? Sure.

Revised 2023.

Propaganda as a Language of Power

The first premise is that propaganda is a semiotic system not unlike a culture. It is connected to an identity in the way that it is narrative. It is also acquired in a certain sense like a language is acquired.

It is first picked up unconsciously in the form of indoctrination, but then must be constantly reinforced through a ubiquitous propaganda apparatus. Like a culture, this culture of propaganda needn’t be the stereotypical instance of propaganda most are deluded into thinking represents its sole instance, namely in the form of nationalistic posters, news reports by demagogues, and what have you. These of course exist. But a culture of propaganda is also omnipresent in systems of marketing and advertising, in the very structure of a consumer society that a subjected populace is submitted to in a propaganda-managed democracy.

Perhaps unlike the stereotypical view, variation of perspectives can exist within one unified culture of propaganda. This may more specifically define the particular system of a propaganda-managed democracy. Most nefarious about it is that a variation of perspectives contained within one unified propaganda culture or narrative can lead to the false assumption that no propaganda is functioning at all, that the culture of propaganda is actually the representation of a free society.

The most obvious way to cultivate a pseudo variation of perspectives in a culture of propaganda is to employ a general dialectic. Language and other semiotic systems are already structured in such a dialectic way, so it is no unique property of a culture of propaganda. However what may be unique about it is the way this dialectic is likely used on the one hand to generate illusions of freedom, variation of opinion, the existence of viable movements of dissent. While on the other hand, also being used to divide and conquer populations all united under one rule. The dialectic of a culture of propaganda can generate forms of schismogenesis among subcultures or opposing identities within the same nation-state or ruling power structure.

Another way this dialectic works as a form of obscurity is in masking the inverted totalitarian structure of a propaganda-managed democracy.

A propaganda-managed democracy (like the United States) is really a totalitarian state though with a variation on classical totalitarian states that operate as clear dictatorships. The dictatorship of an inverted totalitarian state is systemic and not embodied in one particular government regime. In this way, in an inverted totalitarian state, a seeming variety in politic rule is enabled say through a two-party system, though with this cycle of diversity of rulers impacting not at all the underlying structure of corporate dictatorship that represents the real core of power within the inverted totalitarian society.

It goes without saying that this corporate dictatorship of sorts, is the product of capitalist economics. Economic pressure within capitalism is authoritarian pressure for all who do not belong to the capitalist or ruling class, which is the vast majority of subjects, the ninety-nine percent.

Another way of conceiving of the inversion in inverted totalitarianism is also to understand the grassroots operation of authoritarian power such as in the contingent social form of the nuclear family.

The nuclear family, perhaps which could also be called an oedipal family unit, is an oppressive and repressive culture of patriarchy. It is a family grouping with a culture of indoctrination at its center that exists as a status quo at the intersection of sex-negativity and reactionary politics.

Power in this grouping is formulated as a privilege of ownership with authority. It is also dependent on the atomization and inequality of family members effectively fractured by the State and capitalist economics.

The exploitation at the core of capitalist economics is obscured through a mythology and cultural neurosis tied to the identity that defines as inadequate any subject who doesn’t go on to reproduce this particular domestic cell of the nuclear family.

In conclusion, what obscures these oppressive social formations are the cultures of propaganda and indoctrination creating perspectives of totality in which they are seen as inevitable and natural through their position as the status quo. The narratives and languages of symbols that make up their semiotics are tied completely to a violence of material subjection, in short to the power of structural rule, meaning that their logic is always tied to the justification or rationalization of power, and reproducing that power as such, to the extent that it is neither transparent, participatory, or even verifiable correct in simple terms of truth value. As such, the language of power, propaganda, is the concrete manifestation of might makes right. It is absolutely unspeakable by the powerless, disenfranchised, and oppressed. Nor is it open to reform through rational discourse. It simply is because it desires to be and cannot be easily undermined or overcome without first going to the root of why it exists in the first place.