A reader strolling down the street in Chicago spotted a recruiting poster for “Activist Jobs,” a bit of an oxymoron. “Activism” by implication is volunteer work undertaken because the goal sought by the acts in question is so important to the “activist.” Goal-oriented acts that are compensated are called “work,” not “activism.” But in the photograph below, the two different categories of endeavor are conflated:
The confusion is deliberate and speaks to a larger strategy of the Left, also based on deception.
The American Left has relied on its mastery of the media – enthusiastically aided and abetted by the 90% of national political journalists today that are progressives of one stripe or another – for its political power for decades. Ever since the 1950s, the left has been deliberately creating events in order to attract media attention that pushes a narrative confirming the justice of their demands. It learned that the new medium of television was perfect for creating artificial dramas that would sway support its way.
The Civil Rights Movement was the first to discover this video dramaturgical approach to politics, when racist politicians in the South (every one of them a Democrat, a fact that has been consigned to Orwell’s Memory Hole) brutalized black demonstrators asking for the right to eat at a lunch counter next to whites, or other perfectly just demands. Television audiences worldwide grasped who the villains and heroes were, and the struggle was won once the narrative took hold among Americans. Inevitably, defenders of the old order were marginalized, looking horrible.
In the case of the civil rights struggle, justice triumphed from the activism, as this powerful new weapon was exploited. But the media lesson was learned principally on the Left, as conservatives, and Republicans especially, generally are inept (at best) in managing appearances, which is why the title “Stupid Party” has more than a little justification.
In the later 1960s, the leftist sympathizers with the Communist regime of North Vietnam quickly adapted the tactics of the civil rights demonstrators to their own cause and launched what became disguised as the “anti-war movement” – a movement that was fine with a war won by the communists, but that did not want America fighting for its own ally, South Vietnam. It pretended to be about “peace” but really was about “suurrender.”
The Leftists created “street theatre,” and other telegenic events that attracted coverage, while in Vietnam itself, a few Buddhist monks immolated themselves before television cameras, providing invaluable evidence of the sincerity and dedication of the cause. No American Leftists deliberately offered their lives, of course. But they did stage all sorts of events, building up to huge mass demonstrations in cities hosting large numbers of college students. Without the fear of being drafted and sent to Vietnam, there would have been far fewer men turning out for those demonstrations.
The era saw occasionally brilliant propaganda, such as this poster aimed at creating a sexy façade for the men that evaded their duty, in effect offering the prospect of sexual favors for evading the draft.
Once again, the use of activism, video drama, and demonstrations by a political movement led to victory, though in this case it was tyranny in the form of a brutal Communist dictatorship, not justice, that triumphed. From the standpoint of the hard left, this was a feature, not a defect. It proved to the thinkers on the left that the tool they had generated (activists, street theatre, and a narrative pushed out to a mass audience via television) could be used for any cause, no matter if the narrative being peddled was absolute fiction. Generate an event that grabs attention, and let the progressives who write and comment on the news tell the public what the story is: the left’s cause is good (compassionate, scientific, etc.) and the Republicans or conservatives opposed to them are mean, stupid fanatics.
It has worked on issue after issue. And here we are today with transgender bathrooms and other ornaments of the progressive worldview imposed on the public.
However, with the emergence of Fox News and the internet, alternative narratives gained enough prominence that the propaganda machine started failing, losing its hegemony at first, and at an increasing pace, its credibility.
Donald Trump’s election was in no small part an active rejection of a manufactured narrative that was relentlessly pursued by the media (especially television), aided and abetted by demonstrators creating manufactured drama. The media-political deepthinkers decided that Trump’s crowd should be portrayed as dangerous, violent thugs reminiscent of Hitler’s rise to power. So Robert Creamer, husband of Rep. Jan Schakowski (D-IL) and a longtime shadowy Democrat operative, deployed “troublemakers” to stir up a hoped-for violent response, which could then be televised in an appropriately edited form. The resulting drama was eagerly lapped up by the media lapdogs, and is still believed to be an accurate vision of Trump’s supporters by many people whose media diet follows the priorities of the editors of New York Times.
But this time around, James O’Keefe secretly videotaped Creamer and his colleague Scott Forval chortling about their coup, and released the tapes before the election. Hillary’s campaign was shocked, shocked by the revelation and condemned the tactics, of course. So did all Democrats who try to look respectable. Creamer lost his gig for a while, but has not slunk away in disgrace. He is far too valuable to be shunned. And he is suing O’Keefe for a million dollars.
When candidate Trump popularized the iconic expression “fake news,” he coined a meme that served to throw off balance not just the ostensible current target CNN, but the entire progressive media establishment. Their ability to manufacture outrage has drastically declined along with their credibility. As a result, Democrats have more trouble selling fantasy narratives, such as the outlandish claims made that a GOP revision would cause mass suffering on a horrific scale, The high bidder on the deal was Maxine Waters, who buffoonishly claimed that 700 billion people will lose their insurance.
The progressive worldview is entirely based on fantasies about human nature. From there they go on to create entered systems (communism, socialism, and progressivism) based on the idea of perfecting mankind through the wisdom of the state. Gramsci taught the communists to grab control of education and the media, where they create imaginary worlds for the masses to consume. This technique has been in place for decades, winning its battles no matter which party controls the White House or Congress. Politics is downstream from culture, as Andrew Breitbart taught us.
But that dream machine finally is breaking down, rotting from within as the old media establishment continues to decline, and as the internet lowers entry barriers for newcomers to mass communications like Matt Drudge and this website, among countless other examples.
The workers disguised as “activists” in the posters pictured above may well earn their wages, but I don’t think the donors of the funds paying them will get much for their money, as science in the form of fetal imaging is changing more minds than any abortion fake-activists can.
By breaking up the Gramsciites’ control of mass media, technology has fundamentally damaged the Left’s ability to impose its narratives. And now they face a president who uses the tools of that technology to communicate around them directly to the public in the millions.
Yet because they have no idea what else to do, they compulsively return to the fantasy narrative of Russian “collusion,” and will persist until it backfires, exposing the web of connections of Hillary Clinton, the green movement, and many others, to the Kremlin.