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.

Call it Cybernetic Propaganda?

I have written previously about the dialectics of propaganda that could be viewed as inducing schismogenesis, or the gradual differentiation of populations in close contact into opposing extremes. It is posited that such dialectics of propaganda is particular to propaganda-managed democracies in which among other functions, it obscures the underlying inverted totalitarianism of the society. It generates constant conflict regarding an illusion of variety in terms of the political ideology of electable rulers, while the choice of either results in no real tangible effect on the ingrained corporate dictatorship at the core of the society.

It would appear that the dialectics of propaganda could perhaps also have a nudging effect in terms of producing desired opinions within the core targets of perception management within a propaganda-managed democracy.

Good ol’ Quasi-Fascist Tucker

Take a recent example with the imperialist imperative of the United States government to portray the war in Ukraine in a specific way which will prolong and worsen the conflict as a proxy war against Russia, a geopolitical rival.

My eyes simply scanned this headline, and its blurb and especially subtitle, and it produced a specific effect, one that I would like to attempt to analyze.

The main headline is, Russian media, Fox News war narratives converge. Under that, the subhead reads: “Russian media has increasingly seized on Fox News’ primetime segments to paint a critical portrait of the United States and its foreign policy.” Finally, the most important bit to me, reads: Criticism of NATO expansion.

I want to make the argument that this simple layout of information, the way that it is framed, will produce a specific psychological effect on a targeted consumer. In short, it is making those who do not identify with Fox News, realize that if they are to hold the right position—the position which is the opposite of Fox News—that means they must not be critical of United States foreign policy and especially of NATO expansion.

If I’m not mistaken, this is one simple way to disinform. It operates on a very basic psychological principle. It is also a dialectical way that a propaganda-managed democracy can incorporate dissenting opinions, effectively generating an appearance of a free press, while nudging consumers of information away from opinions that are undesired for them to hold.

The technique in general is simply to conflate two positions, to try to discredit one by lumping it in with another.

The anti-war and anti-imperialist position, is a undesired opinion that should be discredited from mainstream corporate and state discourse within the propaganda-managed democracy. Another way that I at least understand it is that the parameters of discourse are being narrowed by demonstrating that the anti-war and anti-imperial positions are unacceptable, and the way I see this happening is in a conflation of two positions, namely the far-left with the far-right. It is perhaps this exclusion of a real left that defines the narrow parameters of an ideology of United States inverted totalitarianism which could be understood as a form of Neoliberal fascism. In particular, a real left is excluded by conflating it with far-right status quo politics.

The dialectics of propaganda in an inverted totalitarian two-party system enables the party which is not currently in power to posture as a legitimate antagonist to the regime. While it is my hypothesis that a real function of such internal antagonism is to contribute to a veneer of a free society in which alternatives to the status quo exist, properly while providing no real material threat to the underlying system of power that goes unchanged regardless of what political party of a two-party system currently is in charge.

There is then another aspect which is nefarious in that a far-right media outlet like Fox News, can be a part of the status quo, and be an extreme reflection of neoliberal fascist ideology, while on the one hand posturing as some meaningful alternative, although also, and this is the crucial part, representing a polar opposite check on narrowing the margins among those targeted demographics whose worldview will be largely informed by holding an opposite opinion to it. Like the conflicts generated between the two-parties, so too is it with conflict generated between dominant representations of the ideologies of those parties in their most emblematic media institutions. Again, each serves the same corporate dictatorship and is a wing of the general ideology of neoliberal fascism, but both through their opposition obscure that not only is there no meaningful opposition, but also the contrivance of opposition serves not only to obscure that but also effectively generate a kind of status of opinion being kept within acceptable margins.

Through this general process of a dialectic of propaganda you can end up with a media institution which can at once portray itself as an underdog, a representation of a silent majority opinion, and merely basically conservative, when it is in point of fact a hugely powerful far-right status quo, whose identity on one part of a ideological spectrum serves to hold in check the opinions of those who define themselves against it within the same ideological spectrum.

For me in particular coming from an anti-war and anti-imperial perspective, I understand the legitimacy of criticism of NATO expansion. Thus I found it notable how the framing of this headline served to lump that in with the status quo ideology of a far-right media institution. It seemed what was clearly to be gained from that wasn’t to dissuade those who identify with that far-right status quo media institution from holding this adversarial position but rather to taint the perspective of anti-imperialism such that those on the other side of the spectrum within the ideology of neoliberal fascism will have their opinions managed within an acceptable margin of being favorable to imperialism. In one and the same time, the operation incorporates an adversarial position while effectively undermining it by cybernetically nudging majority opinion away from it within a spectrum of acceptable opinions.

To conclude, the spectrum of acceptable opinion within the propaganda-managed inverted totalitarian United States is neoliberal fascist ideology. This is an ideology which utterly excludes from its material reality the existence of a real and viable left. It can however incorporate those elements of dissent by effectively introducing them in ways which ultimately set them up to be rejected at least within the general equilibrium of the society.

A far-right status quo that frames itself as a center has effectively succeeded at erasing a left as a political possibility.

And it is the modus operandi of a propaganda-managed democracy to erase certain political possibilities while masquerading as a free society.

End the war in Ukraine,
Free the Russian peace activists,
NATO has got to go we sing.