Independent media and social networking movements continue to bridge lives and lifestyles, the (increasingly small) world over. Collective movements spontaneously emerge, collaborate, simultaneously reflect and mutually contribute to the broad base of ideas constantly being generated, recycled, and renewed, each with their own important cultural perspective and intellectual capital to contribute. This has the potential to create a truly democratic international network of movements where access to information is prized above political indoctrination of any sort. The potential exists today. Yet it may not always be…
There are insidious policies being pushed through in the darkness of collective public blind spots, international trade agreements that lay the framework for a corporate financial elite to control more and more of…well, everything. It may not be obvious at first, when such frameworks just happen to leverage matters with more collective appeal to include clauses that will destroy the vital equal access to information platform that is our current reality online. The seeming incongruence ends when you look at the big picture, and is a harbinger of a larger agenda. Limiting access to those who cannot afford to buy their way in, is how elitist institutions are birthed. This has already been seen with the media. In the U.S., with the recent Comcast merger, we’ve seen the general public react with disturbing acceptance and apathy amid the almost surface level subtext that the media industrial complex feels no real fear or repercussion in removing the mask of its monopoly.
In this day and age of 24/7 media and meme culture: shares, likes and ‘viral-ness’ really do matter. It is evident of a new form of social capital that is already wisely, if often unethically, being used to drive advertising campaigns. The same entities that aggregate big data, like Chevron, are not naïve to the latent political potential for studying trends of distribution and consumption in online media outlets and social media platforms. Some fake photos of the recent protests in Venezuela were recently circulated and students’ movements and allied groups across the world were quick to react viscerally (and authentically, in that sense) in expressing solidarity with the right wing protestors there…even though the pictures weren’t real and the ideology behind each movement isn’t exactly compatible. Still, this sounds good on the surface, we can all support each other’s rights to protest without ulterior motives of political affiliation.
It sounds good until you realize that it is a mistake for any movement to sacrifice political vigilance for solidarity. The ugly back story to the student protests in Venezuela is highlighted by a host of Wikileaks cables that reveal a staggering amount of U.S. involvement in training the opposition leader, infiltrating the student movement, and even overtly funneling U.S. taxpayer dollars into bringing down the anti-imperialist Venezuelan government.
Former US President Jimmy Carter, and his nonpartisan, non-religious NGO, The Carter Center, have been active in Venezuela since 1998, monitoring the transition to democracy away from the bloody right wing regime that filled the pockets of the families of many of the middle and upper class student protestors of today. President Carter, for his part has recently claimed that Venezuela has perhaps the best democratic system in the world. The U.S, by contrast, he charges, comes up increasingly lacking in this department due to democracy-undermining measures like Citizens United. U.S. elections may be won by dollars, but Venezuela’s, according to election observers from all over the world, was won by votes. It goes even deeper than this though, there is a strong anti-imperialist movement showing saliency in South America right now and other South American governments have been quick to show solidarity with the post-Chavez Maduro administration in Venezuela.
Venezuela has long been a ground zero for the anti-imperialist struggle, but this may be changing. It may have in fact already changed. Imperialist forces have launched an almost unprecedented smear campaign on the collective geo-political movement of the global south. And by tentative accounts, it looks like they are winning. They are counting on the general public’s tendency to react with pathos rather than logos. It is counting on people to make swift, reactive opinions based solely on images and stories that show up in their news feeds or various media outlets. It is counting on people NOT to reserve their opinions and actions until the true facts reveal themselves in time, if there remains a valid platform for them to emerge at all.
Indigenous Issues by nature find themselves constantly juxtaposed against the interests of the global capitalist elite, literally at almost every turn. It is completely logical to assume that the success of the recent mass psychological coup in manufacturing public opinion as an output artificially generated by logarithms, big data, media hegemony, and psychological conditioning will only energize their quest for complete dominance of not just public opinion, but of public domains such as the internet, public resources such as the carbon-mitigating, biodiverse forests, and domains such as life-giving water systems. It is time to put on a cloak of heightened vigilance and test our media outputs for poison the way we (hopefully) check the ingredients on a package of processed food. You never know what may be hiding in there…you do have to be careful what you consume…
If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing Malcolm X
If you’re interested in what struggles the media are truly and pathologically ‘blacking out’, you can start catching up here…
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