How to Fight Western Propaganda
by Andre Vltchek - CounterPunch
First they manufacture monstrous lies, and then they tell us that we should be objective!
First they manufacture monstrous lies, and then they tell us that we should be objective!
Is love objective; is passion?
Are dreams defendable, logically and philosophically?
When a house is attacked by brigands, when a village is overran by gangsters, when smoke, fire and cries for help are coming from every corner, should we award ourselves with the luxury of time to calculate, analyze and aim at complete logical, ethical, holistic and objective solutions?
I strongly believe no! We are obliged to fight those who are burning our dwellings, to hit with full force those who are attempting to rape our women, and to confront fire with fire when innocent beings are slaughtered.
When the most powerful and the most destructive force on earth employs all its persuasive might, utilizing everything from the mainstream media to educational facilities, in order to justify its crimes, when it spreads its poisonous propaganda and lies in order to oppress the world and suppress hope, do we step back and begin endless and detailed work on precise and objective narratives? Or do we confront lies and propaganda with our own narrative, supported by our intuition, passion and dreams for a better world?
The Empire lies continuously. It lies in the morning, during the day, in the evening, even at night, when most of the people are sound asleep. It has been doing it for decades and centuries. For grand deceits it relies on countless numbers of propagandists who pose as academics, teaches, journalists and “public intellectuals”. Perfection in the art of disinformation has been reached. Western advertising (so much admired and used by the German Nazis) has some common roots with propaganda, although propaganda is much older and “complete”.
It appears that even some leaders of the Empire now believe in most of their fabrications, and most of the citizens certainly do. Otherwise, how could they sleep at night?
The western propaganda apparatus is enormously efficient and effective. It is also brilliant in how it ensures that its inventions get channeled, distributed, and accepted in all corners of the world. The system through which disinformation spreads, is incredibly complex. Servile local media and academia on all continents work hard to guarantee that only one narrative is allowed to penetrate the brains of billions.
The results are: intellectual cowardice and ignorance, all over the world, but especially in the West and in its client states.
What are we, who oppose the regime, supposed to do?
First of all, things are not as hopeless as they used to be.
This is not the morbid unipolar world that we experienced in the early 90’s. Now Venezuela, Russia, China, and Iran support large media outlets that are opposed to the Empire. Powerful television stations emerged: RT, Press TV, TeleSUR and CCTV. Huge English language Internet-based magazines and sites in the United States, Canada and Russia are also exposing the lies of the official Western propagandists: Counterpunch, Information Clearing House, Global Research, Veterans News, Strategic Culture, New Eastern Outlook quickly come to mind. And there are hundreds of important sites doing the same in Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese and French languages.
The fight is on: the fight for an intellectually multi-polar world. It is a tough, mortal fight! It is a crucial battle, simply because the metastases of the Western propaganda cancer have spread everywhere, contaminated all continents, and even some of the most courageous countries and brains that are earnestly fighting against the Western imperialism and fascism! No one is immune. To be frank, all of us are contaminated.
Unless we win this battle, by first clearly identifying and proving “their narrative” as fraudulent, and later by offering humanist and compassionate perceptions, we cannot even dream about the revolution, or about any significant changes in arrangement of the world.
How do we achieve victory? How do we convince the masses, those billions of people? How do we open their eyes and make them see that the Western regime is dishonest, toxic, poisonous and destructive? Most of humanity is hooked on the Empire’s propaganda; that propaganda which is not only spread by mainstream media outlets, but also by pop music, soap operas, social media, advertisement, consumerism, ‘fashion trends’ and by many other covert means; cultural, religious and media junk that leads to total emotional and intellectual stupor and is administered like some highly addictive narcotic, regularly and persistently.
Do we counter the tactics and strategy of the destructive and ruthless Empire with our honesty, with research, with telling and writing meticulously investigated facts?
The Empire perverts facts. It repeats lies through its loudspeakers and tubes. It shouts them thousands and thousands of times, until they sink into the sub conscious of people, penetrate the skin, spread all through their brains.
Good will, naive honesty, “speaking truth to power”, could this change the world and the power itself? I highly doubt it.
The Empire and its power are illegitimate, and they are criminal. Is there any point of speaking truth to a gangster? Hardly! Truth should be spoken to people, to masses, not to those who are terrorizing the world.
By talking to villains, by begging them to stop torturing others, we are legitimizing their crimes, and we are acknowledging their power. By trying to appease gangsters, people are putting themselves at their mercy.
I absolutely refuse to be in such position!
To win over billions of people, we have to inspire them, to fire them up. We have to outrage them, embrace them, shame them, make them laugh and make them cry. We have to make sure that they get goose bumps when they see our films, read our books and essays, listen to our speeches.
We have to detox them, make them feel again, wake up natural instincts in them.
Simple truth as a detox agent will not work. The poison of our adversaries has sunk too deeply. Most of the people are too lethargic and too immune to simple, quietly stated truths!
We have tried, and others have tried as well. My acquaintance (but definitely not my comrade) John Perkins, former US apparatchik educated by the State Department, wrote a detailed account of his horrid deeds in Ecuador, Indonesia and elsewhere – “Confession of An Economic Hitman”. It is a meticulous, detailed account of how the West destabilizes poor countries, using corruption, money, alcohol, and sex. The book sold millions of copies, worldwide. And yet, nothing changed! It did not trigger a popular revolution in the United States. There were no protests, no demands for regime change in Washington.
In the recent past, I wrote and published two academic, or at least semi-academic books, packed with great details, quotes and tons of footnotes: one on Indonesia, a country used by the West as a model horror scenario for the rest of the world, after the 1965-US-sponsored military coup. The coup killed 2-3 million people, murdered all intellectualism, and lobotomized the 4th most populous country on earth. The book is called “Indonesia – Archipelago of Fear”. The second book, unique because it covers an enormous part of the world – Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia (“Oceania – Neocolonialism, Nukes and Bones”), showed how the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and France, literally divided and destroyed the great South Pacific island cultures and the people. Now classes are being taught using my books, but only a very limited number of people are influenced by the facts exposed in them. The elites in both Indonesia and Oceania made sure that the books are not widely read by the people.
I have spent years and years compiling facts, researching, investigating. The revolutionary effectiveness of my academic work is – I have to admit – nearly zero.
It is easy to see the contrast: when I write an essay, a powerfully crafted, emotional essay, demanding justice, accusing the Empire of murder and theft, I get millions of readers on all continents, as well as translations to dozens of languages!
Why do I write this; why do I share this with my readers? Because we should all be realistic. We have to see, to understand, what people want – what they demand. The people are unhappy and scared. Most of them don’t know why. They hate the system, they are lonely, frustrated, they know that they are lied to and exploited. But they cannot define those lies. And academic books, exposing the lies are too complex for them to read since the masses have no time to read thousands of indigestible pages or the necessary education to allow them to understand what they are reading.
It is our duty to address those people, the majority, otherwise what kind of revolutionaries are we? After all, we are supposed to create for our brothers and sisters, not for a few researchers at the universities, especially when we realize that most of the universities are serving the Empire by regurgitating official nomenclature and supporting demagogues.
The Empire speaks, writes and then repeats some outrageous lies, about its benevolence, and exceptionality of its rule, or about the “evils” of the Soviet Union, China, Iran, Venezuela, North Korea or Cuba. This is done daily. In fact it is designed so that almost every human being gets his or her dose of the toxin at least several times a day.
We feel we have to react – we begin spending years of our lives, meticulously proving, step by step, that the Empire’s propaganda is either one big fat lie, or exaggeration, or both. After we compile our arguments, we publish the results in some small publishing house, most likely in the form of a slender book, but almost nobody reads it because of its tiny circulation, and because the findings are usually too complex, too hard to digest, and simply because the facts do not shock anybody, anymore. One million more innocent people were murdered somewhere in Africa, in the Middle East, in Asia; what else is new?
Researching and trying to tell the truth, fully and honestly, we feel that we are doing great, professional, scientific work. All the while the propagandists of the Empire are dying of laughter watching us! We are representing little danger to them. They are winning effortlessly!
Why is that? Doesn’t the detailed truth matter?
It does – from the point of higher principles it matters. Ethically it matters. Morally it matters. Philosophically it matters.
But strategically, when one is engaged in an ideological war, it does not matter that much! The truth yes, always; the truth matters! But simplified, digestible truth, presented powerfully and emotionally!
When immorality is ravishing the world, when it is charging mercilessly, when innocent millions are dying, what matters is to stop the slaughter, first by identifying the murderous force, then by containing it.
Language has to be strong, emotions raw.
When facing murderous hordes, poetry, emotionally charged songs, and patriotic odes have always been more effective than deep academic studies. And so were political novels and films, passionate documentaries, even explicit cartoons and posters.
Some would ask: “Just because they are lying, should we lie as well?” No! We should try to be as truthful as we can. But our message should be often “abridged”, so the billions, not just those selected few, could understand it.
It does not mean that the quality of our work should suffer. Simplicity is often more difficult to achieve than encyclopedic works with thousands of footnotes.
Sun Tzu’s “Art of War” is short, just a pamphlet, straight to the point. And so is the “Communist Manifesto”, and ‘J’accuse!”
Our revolutionary work does not have to be necessarily brief, but it has to be presented in a way that could be understood by many. I am constantly experimenting with the form, while never compromising on substance. My recent book, “Exposing Lies of the Empire” has more than 800 pages, but I made sure that it is packed with fascinating stories, with testimonies of people from all corners of the globe, with colorful description of both victims and tyrants. I don’t want my books to collect dust in university libraries. I want them to mobilize people.
I truly believe that there is not much time for “objectivity” in any battle, including those ideological ones, especially when these are battles for the survival of humanity!
The lies of the enemy have to be confronted. They are toxic, monstrous lies!
Once the destruction stops, millions of innocent men, women and children will cease being sacrificed, and we can return to our complex philosophical concepts, to details and to nuances.
But before we win our final battles against imperialism, nihilism, fascism, exceptionalism, selfishness and greed, we have to fully and effectively utilize our most powerful weapons: our visions of a better world, our love for humanity, our passion for justice. Our determination and our beliefs have to be presented in a loud, potent, even “dogmatic” manner, our voice should be creative, artistic, powerful!
The house is on fire, comrades! The entire town is turning to ashes. The entire planet is plundered, devastated, lobotomized.
We cannot confront bigots with nukes and battleships. But our talents, our muses, and our hearts are here, with us, ready to join the battle.
Let us outsmart our enemies; let us make sure that the world begins laughing at them! Have you seen them, those pathetic losers, the buffoons – the CEO’s? Have you listened to those Prime Ministers and Presidents, those servants of the “market”? Let us convince the masses that their tyrants –the imperialists, the neo-colonialists and all their dogmatic preachers – are nothing more than pitiful, greedy, poisonous fools! Let us discredit them! Let us ridicule them.
They are robbing and murdering millions. Let us begin by at least pissing on them!
Let us fight Western propaganda by first exposing those who are really behind it. Let’s get personal.
Let’s turn this revolution into something creative, hilarious, truly fun!
Andre Vltchek is a philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He covered wars and conflicts in dozens of countries. His latest books are: “Exposing Lies Of The Empire” and “Fighting Against Western Imperialism”.Discussion with Noam Chomsky: On Western Terrorism. Point of No Return is his critically acclaimed political novel. Oceania – a book on Western imperialism in the South Pacific. His provocative book about Indonesia: “Indonesia – The Archipelago of Fear”. Andre is making films for teleSUR and Press TV. After living for many years in Latin America and Oceania, Vltchek presently resides and works in East Asia and the Middle East. He can be reached through his website or his Twitter.