Dec 02, 2023 Letters
Today, more than ever before, we are witnessing how the mainstream media and those who control social media are attempting to exercise strong control of what is being disseminated. The Ukraine and Israel war has brought this into focus. We have to bear in mind that the one % of super rich controls over 85% of the means of disseminating information.
Just for information, three companies, BlackRock, State Street and Vanguard are the largest shareholders, 88%, of all S&P 500 companies. The amount of money in circulation in the world is 440 trillion. These three CEOs control 66 trillion. BlackRock and Vanguard are the two largest shareholders in the six major media companies that control more than 90% of the U.S. media landscape. I hope readers appreciate the connection. They control the companies, and they exercise influence over our minds. The extremely rich owns Twitter, Google, Facebook and the list is long. Most of the TV stations, publishing houses, News Papers, magazines etc. are owned by the capitalist class,
We must also consider the concept written about by Gramsci, “Cultural hegemony” where we are socialized by the ruling elites to defend their interests. Bob Marley sang about liberating ourselves from mental slavery while others insist so many are colonial in their mentality. Karl Marx wrote extensively about ideology explaining that every socioeconomic system generates an ideological superstructure that we internalize that which defends and justifies the existing socioeconomic formation. This was clear, as when the capitalist revolution took place there had to be the creation of a new ideology to justify capitalism. While Catholicism was the ideological justification of capitalism, Protestantism and Calvinist ethics were the ideological justification of the emerging capitalist elites
Without this, the minority of exploitative elites would not survive. This is why today if one criticizes capitalism even ordinary workers would attack the ones who dare to criticize their beloved system capitalism. They would even cuss the critics as if they themselves have been attacked. Today we see how PPPites and PNCites at the lower level of the socioeconomic ladder would attack even physically those who dare criticize their party. Bear in mind that large sections of the population in England and France fought to defend their beloved king, ordained by God. It would be comedic if not serious how even the educated who know the concept of socialization, indoctrination would argue strongly to defend what they know instead of opening their minds to new ideas. I saw this quote on social media, “You must always be willing to truly consider evidence that contradicts your beliefs. And admit the possibility that you may be wrong. Intelligence is not knowing everything. It’s the ability to challenge everything you know”.
I gave myself the opportunity to listen to a lecture by a famous American Professor and writer, Richard Wolf. He discussed what he considers as the greatest purge in American History. He said that during the 1930s President Roosevelt solved the problems facing the working people by taxing the rich corporations not because he was a radical, as he was a conventional rich kid, but because he was pressured by “a coalition of communists, Socialists and unions, many of which were the result of the struggles of the communist and socialist parties.
So, at the end of World War 2, the enraged capitalists who knew this was because of this coalition went to work to destroy this coalition to prevent this from happening again. They determined that the weakest link was the communist parties. The capitalists went to work using their ownership of the mass media to demonise them. So, “the communist activists who were the leaders of unionization in many industries, and in the struggle against fascism in Italy, Germany Japan, became not leaders, not heroes, but demons, converted into agents of a foreign power, the USSR.
Let’s not forget for the five years 1940 to 1945, the USA and USSR were allies fighting the fascists of Germany, Italy and Japan. “They were our friends, our supporters, suddenly turned into arch enemies”. So, after the death of Roosevelt there was a political purge. “Government, big business and conservatives went on a tear to arrest communists, to deport many of them back to countries they left 40 years ago; to demonise them as agents of a foreign power, and not leaders who had succeeded, is giving workers the benefits of government programmes the likes of which never occurred in the history of the USA and never happened again”. Business realized that to roll it back they had to destroy that coalition. And now begins the Mcarthy period. So, they went after communists wherever they worked, “no longer heroes, veterans leaders of union movements and when they were finished with the Communists they went after the two socialist parties claiming that socialism was the same as communism but just spelt differently. Then they went against the trade unions” From 33% unionized workers in 1945 to today 10%, reduced to a shadow”.
The workers were traumatized now all their leaders who fought for them “were demonized and cast as the sum total of all evil. It was drummed into them not to have anything to do with those people critical of capitalism nor those with socialist ideas. All these were now evil. These ideas were no “longer taught in school not allowed in the newspaper. This lasted over 50 years. Politics destroyed a whole part of the American political spectrum”. The coalition which caused taxes to be imposed on the rich and for increasing benefits to the working people was broken.
In 1947 a law called the Taft Hartley law was passed. This law went against the communist, the socialist and the trade unions. This law made it illegal for trade unions to elect communists and socialists as leaders. They could not democratically elect their leaders. It prevented communists and socialists from being democratically elected as leaders. Today anti-communism is an ideology impressed into the minds of most through the process of cultural hegemony. Their information bias is what is fed to them by the elite controlled media. They refuse to listen to any criticism of capitalism and as soon as one criticizes capitalism, they regurgitate all the ills of socialism, how undemocratic it is. They are blinded to the atrocities of the present system, forgetting slavery, colonialism etc.
Now I hope that some at least recognize what took place and make a serious attempt to open their minds. Bear in mind it is in the interest of the ruling elites to demonise any possible alternative. But even if they do not want socialism at least they should come to the realization that an alternative to the present system is necessary. Capitalism replaced feudalism and now the evidence abounds that it can no longer advance humanity and need to be replaced just like it replaced feudalism: 170 poor capitalist countries and seven rich imperialist countries is the evidence that poor countries traverse a capitalist path to nowhere.
Just want to make one point re “democracy”, it was over 300 years after the capitalist revolution that the capitalist West adopted universal suffrage and this was not given but fought for by the communists, socialists and trade unions. Bear in mind there was no local or global counter revolution. We were drilled that Russia and socialist countries do not have democracy meaning elections western style. However, let’s not forget these countries were relatively backward and subject to local and global counter revolution. I am not advocating a socialist revolution here in Guyana. My intention is just to have our people open their minds to recognize the controls exercised over the information that we receive. To appreciate the force of cultural hegemony, socialization etc. To question what they know and open their minds to alternative views instead of cussing those with opposing views. Remember most of us are working people and so we need to recognize our interests and organise to defend our interests instead of spending a lot of time defending the interest of the ruling economic elites.
Remember race was/is a divisive tool used by the elites to divide the working people. United we are strong. Solidarity forever but even the unions don’t teach this song anymore. The leaders for life are not interested in a strong united trade union.
DSc Sociology, LLB
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