Corporate Media Control

August 8, 2016

Articles

In determining the strategy and tactics of struggle, the first step is to assess the forces arrayed against the working class. In contemporary society, the most powerful institution blocking united working class action(s) against the ruling class is The Corporate Media.

The working class is dispersed. Factories no longer concentrate large numbers of workers in confined geographical locations. Factories are placed throughout the world and automated. Reduction in transportation costs allows capitalists to strategically locate operations according to labor costs, labor militancy or labor consciousness. And these corporations can move with ease.

In addition, based upon a series of automation and computer driven technological advances, a large number of workers are left out of the production process.

This brief but easily recognized description of capitalist contemporary development reveals that the objective modes of production no longer promote proletarian consciousness. For example, The Ford Rouge Plant in 1941 brought together somewhere between 80000 to 100000 workers. It now has 6000 at most. Miners are not crowded together and dependent upon the company store for sustenance. Instead huge machines top off mountains.

Financial capital controls production. Speculation now not only can ruin a company it can bankrupt a country. Strategy and tactics by progressives cannot depend on past actions to marshal working class support. These objective conditions explain why the progressive agenda has no voice. Until Bernie ran in The Democratic primary, there was almost no discussion of the concentration of wealth.  There sure was no discussion of the fact that 1/10th of 1% own approximately 50% of this country. Once Bernie began to outline these problems, there was an immediate attraction to his campaign.

Bernie was able to crystalize the evolving intellectual work that had been done into a political movement. Thomas Piketty, Capitalism in the 21st Century became a best seller shocking the ruling class. Immediately, a range of criticism appeared. One commentator claimed it was the least read best seller in history. The Wall Street Journal, of course, attacked it with every argument they could conceive.

Occupy Wall Street mobilized millions but had no strategy to consolidate power. It was Bernie’s campaign that struck the match as Nina Turner stated. It was a strategy to build a movement and fight for power. It was the strategy that mobilized millions. The strategy was to run in the Democratic Party for the Democratic nomination. His ability to win 22 states, to secure 13 million voters, to raise money from ordinary workers, set the basis for discussion of the progressive agenda. At the same time, Bernie raised the consciousness of millions of workers to demand a working class agenda. It was his strategy that produced all of these accomplishments.

It was social media that provided Bernie an avenue of communication. Without social media, Bernie would never have been able to mount such a powerful campaign. The corporate media did not simply ignore his candidacy. It general, they attacked Bernie as a fringe candidate with no support. Commentators tried to end his viability by attacking him as a socialist. By contrast, the corporate media gave Donald Trump a billion dollars of advertising to bolster his candidacy and his racist, misogynistic anti working class rants.

I have taken to calling it the corrupt corporate media. The power of the corporate media is clear. Able to decide what millions of people will hear and see, the corporate media establishes the basis for consciousness by the working class. Daily, the corporate media describes working class people killing each other, stealing the government, and every other attack on the working class that is possible. The corrupt corporate media is able to do this without people acknowledging the fact that there is actual news to be heard. The corrupt corporate media is able to frame the issue. For instance, as far the corrupt corporate media is concerned this is an election of Trump versus Hillary. However, this election involves the Republican Party with its racist, misogynistic, anti-working class platform combined with a base that is probably more reactionary than the platform itself. The election will decide whether the Democratic Party with 13 million Bernie Democrats and a progressive platform will be elected. By making Hillary the only question, they can then attack her rather than discuss the difference between the two programs.

The ruling class is well versed in the necessity to create and mold consciousness. The New York Times 8/03/2016 p. B1 carries a headline: “Big Banks Make a Pitch for Hearts and Minds”. The article reveals the agenda of the banks.

“SINCE THE 2008 FINANCIAL CRISIS, AMERICAN BANKS HAVE SPENT MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ON ADVETISING, CONSULTANTS AND SOCIAL MEDIA INITIATIES, SEEKING TO PORTRAY THEMSELVES AS SOMETHING OTHER THAN GREEDY RISK-TAKERS. AND YET, EIGHT YEARS LATER, ANGER AND RESENTMENT PERSISTS. SO THE BANKS ARE RAMPING UP THEIR EFFORS – AND TRYING NEW WAYS – TO CONVINCE THE PUBLIC THAT THEY ARE NOT AS BAS AS POLITICIANS MAKE THEM OUT TO BE. CITIGROUP, WHICH WAS RESCUED BY TAXPAYERS AFTER NEARLY COLLAPSING DURING THE FINANCIAL CRISIS, IS USING ITS ROLE AS THE SOLE BANKING SPONSOR OF THE SUMMER OLYMPICS AND PARALYMPICS TO MAKE THE CASE FOR THE VIRTUES OF BEING A BIG GLOBAL BANK. JPMORGAN CHASE’S CHIEF EXECUTIVE, JAMIE DIMON, RECENTLY WROTE AN OP-ED ARTICLE IN THE NEW YORK TIMES TO ANNOUNCE HOW THE NATION’S LARGEST BANK WAS RAISING THE WAGES OF THOUSANDS OF ITS LOWEST-PAID WORKERS. AND BANK OF AMERICA HAS HIRED BOB DYLAN’S SON JESSE TO PRODUCE A SERIES OF VIDEOS EXPLAINING TO BANK EMPLOYEES THAT THEIR PRIMARY PURPOSE IS NOT TO REAP QUICK PROFITS, BUT TO HELP EXPAND THE ECONOMY.” END OF QUOTATION FROM NEW YORK TIMES 8/3/16 P. B1

Progressives cannot spend millions explaining the effect of financial capital on the lives of working people. The article contains an important admission:

“IN ADDITION TO THE TELEVISION AD CAMPAIGN, CITIGROUP’S CHIEF EXECUTIVE, MIKE CORBAT, HAS BEEN LAYING OUT THE CASE FOR BIG BANKS IN SPEECHES FAR FROM WALL STREET AND WASHINGTON – IN PLACES LIKE THE GREATER OMAHA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. LARGE GLOBAL BANKS LIKE CITIGROUP, MR. CORBAT SAID IN A SPEECH LAST OCTOBER, ARE BETTER EQUIPPED TO HELP MULTINATIONAL COMPANIES ACROSS THE WORLD EXHCNAGE CURRENCIES AND MAKE PAYMENTS. THAT, IN TURN, HELPS INCREASE THE GLOBAL ECONOMY, HE SAID. BUT MANY AMERICANS ARE ALSO STARTING TO QUESTION THE BENEFITS OF GLOBALIZAION, WHICH IS AT THE HEART OF WALL STREET’S ARGUMENT FOR STAYING BIG. THE VOTE IN BRITAIN TO LEAVE THE EUROPEAN UNION AND THE POPLUARITY OF DONALD J. TRUMP’S PROTECTIONIST VIEWS DO NOT HELP THE BIG GLOBAL BANKS.” END OF QUOTATION FROM NEW YORK TIMES 8/3/16 P. B1

The article reveals that banks are designed to assist large multinational corporations, not working people. They do not support small businesses nor do they promote employment. That is why Bernie demanded that these banks be broken up. I would add that we should have state banks in every state in the country. That way we could have economic support from small businesses. Politically, the role of the big banks is to fund Republicans and corporate Democrats.

I have not watched the “news” for years, contending that such news is nothing but propaganda. But it worse than that. The corrupt corporate media are political operatives with political agendas. Fox “News” openly propagandizes for the Republican Party. After years of racists, misogynistic, anti-union and anti-working class misinformation, Fox News handed the Republican Party nomination to Donald Trump.

The rest of the corporate media has a different agenda. This section of the ruling class assumes the power to define the parameters of “acceptable” political discussion. Their agenda is to protect the “center”. They even question whether the “center” is holding. The reason they fight to hold the “center”, is because that is a way to make every other discussion a fringe discussion.

To the corporate media, the center is not what the majority of working people support. The corporate media uses elections to provide the appearance of possible reform while defining a narrative that will protect the ruling class.

A section of the corporate media is creating a narrative to have so-called moderate Republican’s and corporate Democrats unite in a newly initiated “center”. Certain individuals are urging Hillary to move to the right to capture disaffected Republicans. The purpose is to establish Trump as fringe and Bernie Democrats as fringe positions. For all the hours of slavish support of Hillary, Krugman opposes that narrative.

QUOTATION FROM THE NEW YORK TIMES OF PAUL KRUGMAN 8/5/16 P. A25

“BUT AT LEAST SOME COMMENTATORS ARE CALLING HER TO DO SOMETHING VERY DIFFERENT – TO MAKE A RIGHT TURN, MOVING THE DEMOCRATIC AGENDA TOWARD THE PREFERENCES OF THOSE FLEEING THE SINKING REPUBLICAN SHIP. THE IDEA, I GUESS, IS TO OFFER TO CREATE AN AMERICAN VERSION OF A EUROPEAN-STYLE GRAND COALITION OF THE CENTER-LEFT AND THE CENTER-RIGHT. I DON’T THINK THERE’S MUCH PROSPECT THAT MRS. CLINTON WILL ACTUALLY DO THAT. BUT IF BY ANY CHANCE SHE AND THOSE AROUND HER ARE TEMPTED TO TAKE THIS RECOMMENDATION SERIOUSLY: DON’T.” New York Times 08/05/16 P. A25 of Paul Krugman

There are absolutely no commentators in the corporate media discussing the building of Bernie’s movement. On the contrary, the corrupt corporate media always supports political analysis for moves to the right. Krugman at least recognizes this dishonesty.

QUOTATION OF PAUL KRUGMAN OF THE NEW YORK TIMES 8/5/16 P. A25

THE TRUMPIFICATION OF THE G.O.P DIDN’T COME OUT OF NOWHERE. ON THE CONTRARY, IT WAS THE NATURAL OUTCOME OF A CYNICAL STRATEGY: LONG AGO, CONSERVATIVES DECIDED TO HARNESS RACIAL RESENTMENT TO SELL RIGHT-WING ECONOMIC POLICIES TO WORKING-CLASS WHITES, ESPECIALLY IN THE SOUTH. THIS STRATEGY BROUGHT MANY ELECTROAL VICTORIES; BUT ALWAYS AT THE RISK THAT THE RACIAL RESENTMENT WOULD RUN OUT OF CONTROL, LEAVNG THE ECONOMIC CONSERVATIVES – WHOSE IDEAS NEVER HAD MUCH POPULAR SUPPORT – STRANDED. AND THAT IS WHAT HAS JUST HAPPENED. SO NOW THE STRATEGY THAT RIGHTISTS HAD USED TO SELL POLICIES THAT WERE NEITHER POPULAR NOR SUCCESSUFL HAS BLOWN UP IN THEIR FACES. AND THE DEMOCRATIC RESPONSE SHOULD BE TO ADOPT SOME OF THOSE POLICIES? SAY WHAT? ALSO, I CANT HELP BUT NOTICE A CURIOUS PATTERN IN THE REOMMENDATIONS OF SOME SELF-PROCLAIMED CENTRISTS. WHEN REPUBLICANS WERE IN THE ASCENDANT, CENTRISTS URGED DEMOCRATS TO ADAPT BY MOVING RIGHT. NOW THAT REPUBLICANS ARE IN TROUBLE, WITH SOME FEELING THAT THEY HAVE NO CHAOICE EXCEPT TO VOTE DEMOCRATIC, THESE SAME CENTRISTS ARE URGING DEMOCRATS TO ADAPTY BY MOVING RIGHT. FUNNY HOW THAT WORKS.” New York Times 8/5/16 P. A25 of Paul Krugman

But the more important factor which Krugman completely ignores is that there is absolutely no commentator expressing Bernie’s continuation of the movement. The corporate media is pulling all stops to turn 13 million voters into a fringe position now eliminated by Bernie’s failure to win the nomination. However, Bernie endorsed Hillary. That means his voice must be acknowledged. We must fight for that voice. Again, only social media can keep the voice alive. Unfortunately, the Green Party is pulling all stops to turn Bernie’s movement into a fringe movement. See New York Times 8/7/16. As usual, The Green Party’s strategy unites with the corporate media’s agenda.

Bernie has great skill in navigating these waters. And it will take incredible effort to ensure that his voice remains a national voice against the combined efforts of the corporate media and fringe groups including The Green Party to marginalize and make irrelevant the power movement that Bernie has created.

The corporate media has the power to frame the issue and too often progressives buy into that discussion as framed. For instance, left, right, center are terms without definition. One would think the political center would be those issues on which the great majority people agree. At least 70% of the American people believe that the current distribution of wealth is unfair and should be changed. Yet the corporate media does not even include that position in the analysis. The same is true for the removal of the cap on social security taxes, or expansion of social security, and on and on. In fact, the corporate media excludes any discussion of majority support when discussing the center.

That gets to the question of war. It is clear that the American people do not want endless war. However, every effort is made by the corporate media to set up the basis for war actions whether it is bombing Syria or attacking Russia. Left out of all corporate media discussion is the dangers of endless war and endless attacks. Also, left out of any discussion is the failures of past actions.

For the corporate media the center is that which allows the transfer of power to that section of the ruling class whose platform resonates with sufficient numbers to keep the discussion within “acceptable parameters.” The transfer of power is designed to quiet opposition and provide the appearance of reform and democracy.

That gets to the foolishness of left positions that say if Democrats lose they (undefined) will listen. Not one time in the last 50 years has a Democratic loss resulted in a turn to the left. In fact, it always results in moves to the right. The left and the Green party refuse to acknowledge the objective facts of history.

The transfer of power to quiet opposition and to keep discussion within acceptable parameters is the precise reason why the corporate media frames the question as one person against the other person (Hillary versus Trump) not as one program versus another. In fact, the entire system is structured to avoid any discussion of program. One would think that such power would require an endless discussion of strategy and tactic in order to break through the corporate media silence.  On the contrary, the Green Party simply announces a “better” program. A better program that will not be discussed and not be voted on. That is because the Green Party does not believe the transfer of power is at all relevant.

 

The corporate media is not monolithic except to the extent of confining the discussion to preclude their definition of “fringe” positions from being heard. A section of the corporate media would define the center as “moderate” Republicans and corporate Democrats and no one else. While most pundits and media “news people” would generally agree with this position many would bring Trump supporters into the “center” if they do not openly spout racial epithets.

 

Some would contend that the very existence of Bill Maher, Stephen Colbert and John Stewart establishes free speech in this country. But these individuals are defined as outside “mainstream” media. These individuals prove only that the corporate media does not perceive a threat to the fight for power. Because the ruling class as expressed by the corporate media is concerned only about the transfer of power, the corporate media can control those individuals and those parties who will take power.

Bernie’s breakthrough threatened that control. For that reason, the corruption of the electoral process was exposed as the corporate media in league with corporate Democrats simply stole the nominating process. But that only means that we have a national progressive voice and that we must protect Bernie’s agenda and his voice. Trying to build a further fractious left is not only an agenda of failure; it appears to consciously act to weaken any struggle for power.

This paper is designed to require all positions to be prefaced by strategy and tactics for implementation. Obviously, my position is that Bernie has provided a template for struggle. Alternative actions must address the forces arrayed against the progressive agenda. Unless that is addressed, the position becomes pie in the sky or as one post said playing to lose. I would add – they play to lose or to unite with the right wing.

To repeat – strategy and tactics define the actual program rather than that previously stated.

Yours in Struggle,

Ron

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