The Ruling Class’ Weapon of Marginalizing the Movement

June 1, 2016


The ruling class propaganda machine is sophisticated and very complex. I have struggled for years to describe the many weapons of control used by the ruling class. I see a layered approach from grass, mean spirited attacks to nuanced argument, from opened brittle racism to dog whistles, from clear misogyny to moral self-righteousness, from bitter homophobia to conservative resistance. And the ruling class utilizes all of these specious arguments and weapons of contention as constant incessant attacks.

But the most powerful weapon is marginalization. All of the arguments/contentions, I call them weapons, pale in comparison to marginalization. We beat down each barrier when we are able directly to confront the wrong-headed analysis. But most often, there is no confrontation, no discussion. Only certain voices/positions are allowed to break into the national discussion.

My first experience with the methodology of control utilized by the ruling class was in March 24th and 25th of 1965. That was at the University of Michigan teach-in. It was the first teach-in in the country. Young and dedicated, we believed that proper analysis and persuasive exchange of views would expose the invalidity of the war. There were many positions proffered but one woman (whose name I cannot pull up 50 years plus later) was brilliant. As a result of that first teach in, campuses across the country produced hundreds more teach-ins finally culminating in a nationally televised debate. Naively, I believed this brilliant woman would present our position. Instead, Hans Morgenthau argued the anti-war position. Today, that would be comparable to having Paul Krugman argue for Bernie Sanders’ economic platform.

In the 1960’s, the most powerful weapon for marginalization was assassination. Martin Luther King could not be marginalized. When he had the audacity to establish the class based poor people’s march and vigorously supported the anti-war movement, he was immediately assassinated.

In 1965, the ruling class set the parameters of the discussion when speaking to the American people. Censorship on television was open and blatant. That same process of marginalization continues today. But the ruling class has added tiers of barriers, a stratification designed to insure that substantive debate of those critical issues facing the working class will only reach national discussion in the most extreme circumstances. Only happenstance and luck allow a breakthrough as to what will be discussed. Occupy Wall Street was able to accomplish that breakthrough. Even then, the corporate media began an immediate counter attack. Corporate media claimed there was no program, no organization. All of those arguments were used to blunt the basic discussion which was that the 1% was the enemy of this country.

In the meantime, a section of the ruling class has invented a new blockade/fence. In Dark Money, Jane Mayer outlines how inherited money, Charles and David Koch, Richard Mellon Scaiffe and John Olin have erected a gigantic political wall against any discussion of the failures of the “free market”.

Objective analysis requires a complete and uncompromising rejection of the “free market.” As a method of organization, it is completely unable to address social requirements. In the last 35 years, essentially since 1981, this troika of privileged wealth that never worked a day in their life have spent billions of dollars setting up institutional “think” tanks to place “free” market positions into the national consciousness.

This privileged troika has purchased complete universities and sections of universities. They have obtained control over the corporate media through attack and subversion. Spending billions to protect billions, they had increased the boundaries or limits of discussion available to progressives. They have purchased or silenced measured intellectual analysis. The marginalization of working class analysis becomes almost insurmountable.

In the electoral arena, marginalization comes easy to the ruling class. Electoral campaigns consume enormous amounts of money and energy. Third parties are impotent. Even today (5/30/16) the New York Times carries a discussion only of the Libertarian Party with an obvious  move to undermine Trump’s campaign for the presidency. Since 2000, the Green Party has intentionally accepted marginalization, denying its role as a spoiler and stubbornly refusing to unite with Bernie’s success.

Bernie has somehow broken down the entire corporate marginalization structure. For the first time in at least 50 years, the progressive movement has actually become a movement with a voice that resonates nationally to millions, every day!

For the ruling class, marginalization in the political arena is especially important. The entire electoral process is designed to impose hopelessness on the working class. The purpose of elections is to prove to workers that resistance is impossible, making cynicism and pessimism rampant. That, by itself, suppresses the vote and electoral activity. Not only has Bernie succeeded in forcing discussion of political questions urgent to workers survival, he has instilled enthusiasm in thousands and thousands of workers. More importantly, he has given the working class the powerful weapon of “hope”.

But the ruling class never lets up. They now have a cacophony of voices to siphon off any ray of hope for workers. Thousands of agents repeat without discussion that Hillary is already the presumptive “nominee”. The strategy now is to buttress her chances for winning without conceding programmatic changes or even discussion of programs other than identity politics bereft of working class substance.

And our progressive movement is unfortunately saddled with a history of rampant “individualism”. In my most bitter moods, I call it capitalist individualism. At times it appears progressives can only think about or address their “individual” position regardless of the motion or direction of the movement as a whole. I have written a paper on how righteous intransigence deprives us of a sense of strategy.

The success of Bernie’s campaign owes a huge debt to social media. The corporate media uses every weapon possible to marginalize this candidacy, they ignored the massive rallies, never compared them to Hillary’s anemic, almost nonexistent “rallies”; they declared from the beginning that he was irrelevant to the discussion. Without social media, we would never have known that millions enthusiastically support a progressive platform.

But as with everything in life, there are contradictions. While the social media ties political progressives together, it promotes individual positions apparently independent of collective analysis or responsibility.

My monitoring of responses to discussions does not discern any desire to calibrate positions based upon whether the particular position will build the movement. That is standard against which every analysis must be tested.

The obvious plan of the Democratic elite is to take the nomination and if Hillary loses, blame Bernie. Since “blame the victim” is the modus operandi of the ruling class, it is an easy calculation.

Therefore, I would assert that our line of March is to fight with Bernie for the nomination. Failing that, we must preserve the movement Bernie has built. To do that, progressives must abandon self-righteous individualism and look to Bernie for leadership. It is a tough nut to swallow given our history of righteous intransigence. But it is absolutely necessary if we are not to return to impotence, paralyzed by cynicism and pessimism, with no voice and instead, embrace the power Bernie has given us… Hope!

Yours in Struggle,



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