George Orwell famously said, ‘in times of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”. That quote has been echoing around my mind for several weeks now. Of course It didn’t help that during the last couple of weeks I’ve also read two articles by Jonathan Cook on Znet which amplified the reverberations around my mind. The first was a refreshing analysis of the recent hysteria from the mainstream media branding Corbyn’s Labour Party as racist, while the second article, was in response to the rumour that the Labour Party were going to adopt “the four additional working “examples” of anti-semitism drafted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA)”. But it wasn’t just that which was bothering me. It was more like a scab I couldn’t stop picking at. Somewhere, at the back of my brain there was an incessant irritation that I just couldn’t put my finger on.
In recent years I have spent a lot of time researching how certain people dissent from the establishment narratives, while others in almost exactly the same situations accept the propaganda. I understand why, from the perspective of a ruling class attempting to maintain the illusion of democracy, the process of manufacturing consent occurs. I’ve also come to terms with an explanation for how it occurs. What I didn’t understand, was how when a group of people from pretty much the same backgrounds and experiences watch the same news broadcast, some buy into it completely, some just go along with it, and some don’t. What is different about that last group of people and how they experience the illusion that ignites that initial dissent?
A couple of days after reading the Cook articles I was listening to Democracy Now, specifically a memorial for the veteran pacifist and socialist campaigner David McReynolds. It was during this piece that Ed Hedemann discussed a document that had been discovered that appeared to be part of the FBI’s CoIntelPro‘s campaign to sow division among the new left, specifically along the fault lines within the solidarity networks that were being built between the various campaigns and activists. It was while I was listening to this that it dawned on me what had been bothering me.
I don’t doubt for a minute that any loose collection of people, will have members that secretly don’t buy into every professed idea and behaviour of the group. I am sure that there are bankers, sitting in banks thinking to themselves, ‘I don’t buy this capitalism, it is just wrong’. I imagine there are Freemason’s with their trouser leg rolled up, in their secret clubhouses doing their secret handshakes thinking, ‘my god, this really is very childish’. I even imagine that there are groups that are defined as anti-racist groups that contain members that are secretly racist. I don’t doubt that there are capitalists, war-mongers, mysogynists, racists and millionaire-elitists in Corbyn’s Labour Party. I would imagine that there are in most mainstream political parties, based on how our political system functions.
And in light of that, no one within Corbyn’s Labour Party should really be surprised when the rest of us use that information to understand who they are and what they stand for. For instance, I still struggle to not let Blair’s Labour Party cloud my judgement of Corbyn’s Labour Party. When I see the Labour Party I still see public services in collapse under the weight of PFI, I see UK arms being used by Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Israel and Indonesia against civilian populations, I see UK ministers protecting Pinochet from extradition, I see the senior members of the Labour party being celebrated by the likes of Thatcher, Murdoch and Bush Jr., and of course, who can forget Dr David Kelly being pursued in a very public establishment witch-hunt. But all that being said, whatever reservations I did have, clearly the establishment doesn’t see Corbyn’s Labour Party through the same filter they saw Blair’s Labour Party. And much as I would like to believe that Corbyn’s Labour Party will be allowed to make the UK democratic, history and the current hysteria suggests otherwise.
The thing that gave it away for me, in this new course of events, was the changing nature of the attacks on Corbyn specifically. From the moment he was short-listed for the leadership he came under fire time and time and time again. But not for the same reason. It seemed to keep changing from one week to the next. Just from memory, and in no particular order, I can personally recall him being attacked …
1) for not being strong enough,
2) for being unlikely to start a nuclear war,
3) for harbouring secret desires to be a dictator,
4) for allying himself with Irish terrorists,
5) for being manipulated by Trotskyite revolutionaries,
6) for being manipulated by Socialist Workers Party revolutionaries,
7) for dissenting the party whip during the Iraq war,
8) for allying himself with Moslem terrorists,
9) for not verbally jumping to conclusions over Russia,
10) for not looking suitably respectful during a remembrance ceremony,
11) for not singing the national anthem with enough gusto (I don’t actually know what gusto is),
12) for not staying silent when a client of the UK arms industry is killing unarmed civilians,
13) for not opposing brexit,
14) for not opposing brexit strongly enough,
15) for the brexit vote,
16) for not derailing the brexit process,
17) for trying to derail the brexit process,
18) for not agreeing to gag the Labour party,
19) for being too popular,
20) for being too populist,
21) for being too democratic,
22) for being a Nazi,
23) for his son being a Nazi,
24) for being a Communist,
25) for being too honest on his tax returns,
26) for not claiming spurious expenses,
27) for not being respectful enough to the POTUS,
28) for supporting racists,
29) for being a racist,
30) for being too popular with teenagers and young adults,
31) for knowing who Stormzy is (full disclosure, I had to look him up),
32) for employing too many establishment elites in his inner circle,
33) and perhaps my favourite of all, for being a vegetarian that grows his own vegetables !
Now any one of those could well be true, but the fact that the mainstream media have felt the need to print and broadcast all of these attacks since he became leader comes across as bordering on the hysterical.
This series of events has made it quite obvious to anyone paying attention that one of the tactics that the self-styled ‘responsible and liberal’ media uses, is to report what the more disreputable and irresponsible reporters are reporting, in a sort of ‘echo chamber churnalism’. The model goes something like this … ‘The Daily Bile Burp has a story in it today claiming that Corbyn is …”. In doing this, the accusation is repeated, but legal responsibility remains with the original outlet. It also then has the potential to snowball, and become self-perpetuating. The third outlet can now say, ‘several outlets are reporting that Corbyn … ‘. So what started of as laughable tat from an already disreputable source, quickly turns into an establishment wide arms length smear campaign of Corbyn’s Labour Party, and by proxy democratic socialism in general. And of course, when it is proved untrue, the defence will be, “we never made the claim ourselves, we just reported that others were making the claim”.
Anyway, in light of all this I though it might be timely to put up a feature that I recently wrote. It was originally titled “the colonised mind; the empire on which the sun never sets ”. It was published in the Morning Star, 26th June 2018, under the title ‘From the news media to Hollywood, powerful elites control the messages the masses receive’ . To read it here or to download a .txt version of it please click through to the page.