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The Great Recession

category international | anti-capitalism | opinion/analysis author Wednesday July 24, 2013 22:11author by Padddy Hackettauthor email paraichackett at gmail dot com Report this post to the editors

The Financial Crisis, The Crash And The Great Recession

Neither public nor private debt is the problem. Instead public/private debt is a product of the problem of profitability. Because of the lack of profitability debt has ballooned thereby reinforcing the problem.

For capitalism to economically recover a very deep depression involving massive reductions in the value of labour power and social welfare spending is a necessity. The only other (authentic) option is global communist revolution.

Appearances contradict reality!

The current global crisis is a manifestation of a fundamental problem in the process of the accumulation of capital. The problem is the lack of surplus value production. This contradiction has been concealed by decades of accumulating debt. Burgeoning financialisation, involving bull runs since the 1980s, have helped disguise the long-term weakening of the advanced capitalist economies. Economic performance in the United States, Western Europe and Japan has deteriorated since about 1973. The years since the start of the current cycle, which originated in 2001, have been worst of all.

The declining economic dynamism of the advanced capitalist world is rooted in a major sustained fall in profitability caused primarily by the secular over-accumulation of capital. This problem goes back to the early 1970s. By 2000 in the United States, Japan and Germany, the rate of profit of private industrial capital had yet to make a comeback. It had risen no higher than that of the 1970s. With reduced profitability, capitalists had smaller surplus value to add to their labour processes in the form of capital. The perpetuation of reduced profitability since the 1970s has led to a steady falloff in accelerated capital accumulation across the advanced capitalist economies. Economic interventionism by the capitalist state has obstructed the realisation of the conditions for the necessary radical devalorisation of capital. Consequently economic downturn has not been precipitous enough to bring about a full recovery involving an adequate restoration of profitability. The outcome instead is sustained stagnation.

To counter this persistent stagnation states, led by the United States, have been forced to underwrite ever greater volumes of debt through ever more varied and exotic financial forms. Initially, during the 1970s and 1980s, states were obliged to incur ever larger public deficits to sustain growth. But while provisionally keeping the economy relatively stable these deficits also rendered it increasingly stagnant. They thereby promoted the continued stagnation of capital by preventing capital proceeding through its “natural” cycle involving sharp downturns. This interventionism obstructed the return of accelerated capital accumulation. The state is now securing progressively less growth for any given increase in borrowing.

States, in the early 1990s, sought to overcome the problem by a budget balancing policy. Deficit reductions brought about by budget balancing resulted in a significant fall in aggregate demand. Consequently during the first half of the 1990s both Europe and Japan experienced devastating recessions that turned out to be the worst of the post-war period. The U.S. economy, itself, produced the so-called jobless recovery.

Since the middle 1990s, the United States has been obliged to resort to more powerful and risky forms of stimulus to counter the tendency to stagnation. This is why public deficits were replaced with private deficits and asset inflation. In the great stock market run-up of the 1990s wealth on paper, fictitious capital, massively expanded. This development entailed record-breaking borrowing increases. Consequently a powerful expansion of financial capital and consumption was sustained.

Government financial policy together with the general neo-liberal agenda of the bourgeoisie led to the historic equity price bubble of the years 1995-2000. Equity prices rose as an ultimate response to the law of the tendency of the general rate of profit to fall. New investment, free from significant technical composition of capital increases, exacerbated the prevailing over-accumulation of industrial capital. This was followed by the stock market crash and recession of 2000-2001.This development depressed profitability in the non-financial sector to its lowest level since 1980.

Greenspan countered the new cyclical downturn with another round in the inflation of asset prices. By reducing real short-term interest rates to zero for three years, he facilitated an historically unprecedented explosion of household borrowing. This contributed to and fed on rocketing house prices and household wealth. The world housing bubble between 2000 and 2005 was one of the biggest of all time. It made possible a steady rise in consumer spending and residential investment which together drove the expansion.

Bush’s budget deficits together with record household deficits succeeded in obscuring the weakness of the underlying economic recovery by creating the appearance of sustained economic prosperity. The rise in debt-fuelled consumer demand as well as super-cheap credit superficially and provisionally revived the American economy. It also led to a new surge in imports and increases in the balance of payments deficit to record levels.

Simultaneously, instead of increasing investment, productiveness and employment to increase surplus value, individual capitals sought to exploit the hyper-low cost of borrowing to improve their own and their shareholders’ position by way of financial manipulation — paying off their debts, paying out dividends, and buying their own stocks to drive up their value. This financialisation created a fictitious prosperity. The same sort of things had been happening throughout the world economy — in Europe and Japan. In the United States and across the advanced capitalist world since 2000, the contradiction has been as follows: The slowest growth in the “real economy” since the 1970s and the greatest expansion of the fictitious economy.

Just as the stock market bubble of the 1990s eventually burst, the housing bubble eventually deflated. As a consequence, the house-driven expansion during the cyclical upturn moved into reverse. Just as the positive wealth effect of the housing bubble drove the economy forward, the negative effect of the housing crash drove it backward. With the value of their household residences declining and household borrowing collapsing households were forced to consume less. The sub-prime crisis arose as a direct extension of the housing bubble. Because of the ensuing enormity of the banks’ losses credit froze up at the very moment of the slide into recession.

It is clear from the above argument that it does not necessarily follow, as held by much of the Irish Left, that stimulus provided by the capitalist state to its domestic economy is a prescription for providing a way out of recession. Indeed the argument above shows that “artificial stimulus” can constitute a factor that sustains or encourages recession. Most of the Irish Left, including the less passive trade union UNITE, focus its efforts on campaigning for a solution within the framework of capitalism through the medium of the capitalist state which they misidentify as an eternal nanny state. They thereby sustain the illusion that capitalism is potentially a system that can serve the interests of the working class. If this utopianism of the Left were true then there would be no need for communist society. The Euro crisis is a general a product of the very conditions that contributed to the Great Recession.

After the crash of 2008 the contradictions of the Euro grew increasingly visible. Consequently the market increasingly discovered its shortcomings. This manifested itself in the growing economic and financial problems of the so called peripheral states within the Euro zone. States such as Greece, Portugal and Ireland. These economies were running growing budget deficits. This meant that they were compelled to increasingly borrow on the financial markets. But because of the worsening economic conditions under which they were forced to do this, together with other factors, the interest rates at which borrowing was possible for them became increasingly usurious. No longer were they really in a position to borrow on the bond market. This meant they were left with merely two options: a bailout from the EU or default. In this way the economic crisis for these states became a growing problem for the EU itself culminating in a collapse of the Euro and its banking system.

One thing needs to be made clear. The Irish economy did not collapse because of poor regulation, banking and unscrupulous property developers. Pinning the blame on the aforementioned is a form of populism that distracts the attention of the working class from the real problem –the contradictory limits of capitalism. It is because the generation of surplus value within the reproduction process was the central problem facing the Irish economy (and the global economy) that the bubble was created involving vast amounts of debt. To compensate for the absence of economic growth based on profitable industrial production bubble conditions were created that inevitably burst.

The banks of the core Euro zone were bloated and sitting on mountains of toxic debt collected from its periphery and elsewhere (the United States included). Consequently the core was vulnerable to collapse too. Because the core members were not prepared to let their banks collapse they imposed draconian conditions on the states that received financial help from them. This forms part of an attempt to protect its banks by rescuing funds from the periphery that was owed to the core of the European banking system. But the real aim of the markets was not merely to force the peripheral states into default. The underlying aim was the collapse of the Euro itself thereby bringing about the reconfiguration of the European capitalist system.

Ultimately the source of the Euro crisis is not, as some argue, its flawed architecture, rampant financialisation nor the Great Recession itself. Nor was the Euro crisis itself due to reckless spending by both the public and private sectors of Greece, Portugal and Ireland.
These latter factors and the Euro crisis are the result of the failure of the valorisation process to produce surplus value on a scale sufficient to provide the accelerated accumulation of capital. Because of this failure capitalism has been compelled to conduct itself in a way that has led to massive financialisation involving copious credit culminating in the latest financial crisis, crash and economic recession. Debt is not indefinitely sustainable when there obtains abject failure by the system to produce surplus value (profit) on a sufficiently large scale. As I have indicated before, the failure of capitalism to bring about an adequate restoration of profit during the 1974/75 crisis marked a turning point that resulted in the sustained stagnation of capital. The 74/75 dip was not sufficiently deep to overcome the crisis of capitalism. Consequently even if the ECB was to currently dish out mountains of Euro the problem would only partially sort itself out in the short term. In the long term it would lead to a much more acute problem.

Neither public nor private debt is the problem. Instead public/private debt is a product of the problem of profitability. Because of the lack of profitability debt has ballooned thereby reinforcing the problem.

For capitalism to economically recover a very deep depression involving massive reductions in the value of labour power and social welfare spending is a necessity. The only other (authentic) option is global communist revolution.

Related Link: http://paddy-hackett.blogspot.ie/
author by Mike Novackpublication date Fri Jul 26, 2013 16:47Report this post to the editors

"The only other (authentic) option is global communist revolution. "

In other words, you are using "authentic" to mean "communist"? You consider other possible paths inauthentic?

I say this because if we learn anything from the history of the 20th Century it should be that OTHER (to me less desirable) options are at least possible -- happened.

PLEASE --- I am NOT saying this to argue against the communist revolution option. But take your ideological blinders off because that is NOT the only path possible out of depression. When the predictions from theory prove to be false, it's the theory that has to change, not the observations and conclusions.

You might try arguing that the communist revolution path is the best of the possible alternatives giving your reasons why. That shouldn't be too hard considering what some of the other options tried in the 20th Century were.

author by Tpublication date Tue Jul 30, 2013 22:39Report this post to the editors

Whilst I agree with the general thrust of the article, I don't agree with some of the points and arguments made. For example:

One thing needs to be made clear. The Irish economy did not collapse because of poor regulation, banking and unscrupulous property developers. Pinning the blame on the aforementioned is a form of populism that distracts the attention of the working class from the real problem –the contradictory limits of capitalism.

I don't see why it can't be both because clearly if the regulator did his job and there were no unscrupulous banking and property developers then the problem would never have got so bad. That doesn't mean that there aren't underlying structural problems within capitalism that give rise to force that result in the same direction for the economy. As to unscrupulous people, these exist but the reasons or the environments that encourage such behaviour are due to the nature of capitalism but very likely other political and economic systems can lead to the same behaviour in other ways.

I think what the above quote is trying to do is say: look forget about corruption the problem was capitalism and the working class really need to understand this. But you can't just ask people to make that leap because they do know there was corruption and that there were many factors in play. By being dismissive of the complexity, I think this weakness the overall argument. And even the way main point of the article seems to be:

The only other (authentic) option is global communist revolution

You can't and won't ever convince people to make complete life changing decision with appeals to do so. People are cautious and tend to go with the devil they know than the one they don't know. They will only change and go over to some other system either when they understand and trust it or when they have nothing left to lose.

author by Paddy Hackettpublication date Sun Aug 04, 2013 15:23author email paraichackett at gmail dot comReport this post to the editors

The very nature of banking and property developers is that of being unscrupulous. They are inherently unscrupulous by virtue of the fact that capital is inherently “unscrupulous”. All are infected, including the working class, by capitalism. The state is, by its very nature, capitalist and thereby unscrupulous. Consequently it cannot regulate capitalism in a way that serves the interests of non-capitalists.
In all bubbles past present and future unscrupulous capitalist activity becomes rampant.This is a law. Agents are inevitably conditioned by how they are related to the social relations of production. Your reference to other political and economic systems lacks specificity. Consequently I cannot comment. But I can say that under communist society unscrupulous financial activity cannot be since there cannot be any financial relations under communism.

I never "make appeals to make complete life changing decisions". I merely state the facts. Communism is the only fundamental solution to the problems of the working class. It is really the working class that chooses its own political option: Actively accept capitalism or communism! There is no half-capitalism or communism just as there are no half-pregnant women. Scientists or mathematicians don’t make appeals to the mass of the population to accept their scientific or mathematical discoveries. But that does not make their approach erroneous. Of course the working class will not make life changing decisions if the truth is hidden from it. You don’t help a patient by informing her/him that s/he is just thirsty when s/he has diabetes type two.

I never suggested that corruption should be forgotten about. The Irish bourgeois and even "left" media perennially envelope the public with propaganda claiming that property developers and bankers were the source of the economic and financial problems that grip Ireland. In contrast they were merely symptoms of the problem --not the cause. I try to outline the fundamental economic causes of the problem in my piece published in Indymedia. By mistakenly blaming these indigenous actors the bourgeoisie and its agency distract from the source of the problem --the fundamental character of the capitalist process of production and the need to dissolve it. This constitutes both an ideological and propagandistic device designed to obstruct the working class from replacing capitalism with communism.

Your criticism of my piece is essentially suggesting that the working class is a blind amorphous blob. Consequently the enlightened intelligentsia must lie in order to direct this amorphous blob. I cannot support such a thesis so prevalent in the Irish Left.

“I think what the above quote is trying to do is say: look forget about corruption the problem was capitalism and the working class really need to understand this. But you can't just ask people to make that leap because they do know there was corruption and that there were many factors in play. By being dismissive of the complexity, I think this weakness the overall argument. And even the way main point of the article seems to be:

You can't and won't ever convince people to make complete life changing decision with appeals to do so. People are cautious and tend to go with the devil they know than the one they don't know. They will only change and go over to some other system either when they understand and trust it or when they have nothing left to lose.”

Simply, as you seem to suggest in the above quotation, blaming the Fianna Fail Party, Irish bankers and property developers is a far from complex explanation. History refutes the aforementioned thesis of yours. The American Revolution, The Great French Revolution and the Russian Revolution refutes your argument.

Related Link: http://paddy-hackett.blogspot.ie/
author by gurglepublication date Mon Aug 05, 2013 20:19Report this post to the editors

Your belief that we can just inform people and they will then be smart enough to rise up and do the right thing is rather quaint and naive. These are the same people who live to watch xfactor, endless sports and reality TV, and express joy over the royal baby, ignore political prisoners, endless wars, spying, the stealing of our resources by corporate and financial terrorists in collusion with politicians, and seem quite happy to bounce between tweedledum and tweedkledee when voting every 5 years or so, oblivious to the fact that both are just service providers to the rich.

I know it's considered elitist to say that most people aren't really very smart, and that good leftists are expected not to dare to say so in public, against nature, the evidence of their senses and in a most nobly PC manner. However, the fact is most of them just aren't very smart. All it takes to convince the majority of them of pretty much anything is a few well funded regularly repeated soundbites from the media. Hell most of them still believe that there is a man in the sky watching everything they do and grading them!

That is why those who have seen the true nature of the system they live in end up forever banging their heads against a wall and screaming like Cassandra at a bovine indifferent public marching towards the evisceration of their own post war social gains, at least until they burn out and give up.

And that is why we will never have anything like a communist revolution, at least before the oil runs out.
The systems of control are just too good, and the bread and circuses are just too shiny and tempting for most of the, lets face it, intellectually challenged and selfish, public. And those systems of control and shiny distractions just get better all the time.

Democracy: a tyranny of the stupid.

And we're stuck with it for a while I'm afraid. Enjoy dreaming of a world where people do what is logical and makes sense for their own longer term survival and the survival of their ecosystem. In this one, we are a mindlessly reproducing virus, led by self serving sociopaths which acts in a manner that is irrational, stupid and destroys the host and with it our only known life support system.

It's time leftist thinking grasped the nettle and factored the complete stupidity of most of the public into it's thinking, or it will remain forever daydreaming and irrelevant in the face of the challenges we face.

author by JoeMcpublication date Tue Aug 06, 2013 11:20Report this post to the editors

Time for leftist thinking to become rightist thinking in other words -how come nobody around here ever thought of that before? Alright ,alright I get you ....... too stupid , duh . Thanks for the announcement all the same,gurgle.

author by gurglepublication date Tue Aug 06, 2013 20:14Report this post to the editors

Not what I'm saying.

Just because humanity is too stupid to act rationally and preserve it's own support mechanisms and ecosystem, and falls for the same old bull every time does not mean that I want to take advantage of that stupidity like the right wing sociopaths do. I want a better world for everyone. with some reasonable constraints to ensure a long harmonious existence with our environment and with each other and our fellow earthlings. The current situation is totally out of control.

Even though their behaviour often exasperates me, I ain't no right winger and I still want what's best for humankind. Some sort of reasonable equilibrium with our environment. Community based thinking. A roof over everyone's head, food on everyone's table. decent education, Justice, fairness, no huge concentrations of power. The return of the commons. dismantling of corrupt inept corporate / military / state power etc etc. Probably much the same stuff you want Joe. But I also realise that the stupidity, selfishness and gullibility of humanity must also be taken into account in order to try and get there. Plus the fact that 1-10% of the population are sociopathic.

Much current left wing thinking assumes wrongly that if the information is presented, everyone will see the light, rise up and there will be some sort of communist / socialist revolution. Fantasy.

The fact is, we have had the internet for quite a while now. Every library has internet access these days. All the information is out there. There has never been greater access to left literature, social theory, details of how the right are screwing over the population, details of the pollution created by corporations, the inequity in the system, etc etc. The public has had every chance to inform itself.

Yet all the population look up mostly is this kinda shit:

The left need to factor this into their thinking more. That's all I'm saying. The left need to accept that all humans are not created equal. 65% are pretty dumb. I know it's not PC to say this but it's a fact. It's time the left acknowledged this and other facts and stopped trying to live in PC la la land.

Even if you manage to wake some of them up, a dumb angry mob is easily manipulated , and any half assed attempt at revolution by mobs of these people is easily steered by clever background machinations or agent provocateurs by the likes of NED and co. Combine that with a systematic media hatchet job and maybe some greased palms and a quick counter revolution in the confusion that reigns afterwards.

New ideas are needed to overcome these new tactics and the obvious weaknesses of the public.

I think one thing maybe we really need right now is a new text on revolution in the 21st century. A new revolutionary handbook to counter many of the new tactics and factors in a new age.

However, I don't know how the hell we can ever overcome the obstacle of mass stupidity short of a long term population control and eugenic breeding and education program. But logical or not, such ideas are totally taboo and we can never go there can we?. Not even in an incentivised voluntary manner. So the alternative is that we need to allow for the widespread stupidity of the public in our social organisational thinking. But we need to also discuss the long term. And what happens after "the revolution". And such discussion should not be constrained by the usual PC bullshit. This is serious. Sticking our head in the sand is no longer an option because there are huge disasters looming whose solutions involve "grasping the nettle" on several fronts which are to say the least unpalatable to the ideals of middle class PC lefties.

author by gurglepublication date Tue Aug 06, 2013 20:34Report this post to the editors

And no....before you go there, I'm not advocating the final solution here. Just some common sense incentivised social policies before it gets too late

author by Tpublication date Tue Aug 06, 2013 23:29Report this post to the editors

Yes, I realize that the nature of capitalism itself gives rise to corruption but a reading of the article above does not give that impression.

Overall though and I guess this is what Gurgle is saying, is that the Left seems to have a certain idealism about how things should happen, particularly when it comes to the "revolution" -which I don't dispute is needed, but it has a certain overlap with the Christian themes the main one being the "second coming". In the Christian view (and especially the more radical believers), it is something to be believed as an act of faith, but the second coming is also the event which saves humanity or at least a certain portion.

In the Left version of this, the revolution will save us and indeed if done right it is the only thing that can remotely save us from impending ecological, climatic and pollution disaster. But the Left also hangs onto the idealism that as Gurgle says if presented with the information they will do the right thing. -i.e. it is almost a matter of faith to believe that this is how it will happen. Information is there every day in peoples faces and they do f**k all about it and have no interest in it. They light up and get really interest when the topic / news item concerns some celeb or another. Our immediate gut reaction may well be to refer this as stupidity and it could be, but stepping back, we could also take a psychological look at it and say, deep down people are aware of the issues but because of numerous reasons and apathy could be one, insecurity maybe another and so forth, they are in denial and prefer to focus on the distraction because that helps deal with the cognitive dissonance if indeed they are suffering from it. My own experience in many a discussion unfortunately though is that people are only vaguely aware of the threats and don't have any of the detail.

And this is what I mean by the complexity of understanding where people are and where they are likely to go.

There are far too many taboos on the Left in how we talk or debate numerous topics. There are a lot of unstated taboos but eventually you tune into them and then tune them out and not to be mentioned again. And they are not just actual topics but also sets of assumptions as with the one where we are supposed to believe the "working class" are completely logical and automatically make the right decision if given the right information or analysis.

So much of Left political thought arises from idealism and that is okay, because it is in all cases about building a better, equitable and of late sustainable world. Right wing political thought has very little to offer and is concerned about personnel gain although it too invokes the idealism of perfect markets to back its case, even though that is complete nonesense since there is and can be no such thing as perfect markets.

To continue, however, this idealism of the end goal seems to carry over into broader areas of Left thought. Instead we should be taking a more scientific view and analysis of how things work and change.

author by JoeMcpublication date Wed Aug 07, 2013 14:45Report this post to the editors

These "new ideas needed" , this new textament on revolution in the 21st century ,
what use will they be given the masses' stupidity ? Casting pearls before swine surely?

author by Tpublication date Wed Aug 07, 2013 17:11Report this post to the editors

You do not seem to acknowledge that the present propaganda system is pretty close to perfection and it is built on a foundation of careful study of the psychological factors that allow the marketers, advertisers and political progandanists to know exactly how to tweak the rhethoric and pick up on certain aspects or needs of people and amplify and distort these to their own needs. Chomsky of course many years ago gave a really good analysis of the system and I am sure he is not the last word on it.

For example the old trick of divide and conquer and how to deal with activists is tried and tested for many years and yet it still works. How come no mass learning has occurred to counter-act this? -see for example "How To Win The Media War Against Grassroots Activists: Stratfor’s Strategies" at http://dgrnewsservice.org/2013/08/02/how-to-win-the-med...gies/

In another vein how come the masses in Egypt have still not managed a revolution? A certain amount of learning has happened because they got rid of Murbarak and seemed to be satisfied with that for a few short months until it appeared the masses realized that getting rid of him changed nothing because the whole structure was still in place. Then protests started again to push for deeper change but there would appear to be many at different levels of "revolutionary" consciousness and the present slightly secular crowd are quite happily going to deal with the IMF and their austerity policies.

Rather than respond with reflexive one-liners perhaps you can enlighten us as to why the masses there have not progressed very far?

author by JoeMcpublication date Wed Aug 07, 2013 19:55Report this post to the editors

I do not acknowledge that the present propaganda system is pretty close to perfection .How do you account for the findings of the US national poll released last month : Snowden: Survey Says Majority Of US Voters See NSA Leaker Edward Snowden As Whistle Blower, Not Traitor: Quinnipiac Poll
In the US, 55 percent of voters support Edward Snowden's leaking of NSA documents versus 34 percent who do not :
“Respondents also said the government's anti-terrorism efforts go too far restricting civil liberties, by 45 percent to 40 percent. This represents a sharp reversal from a January 2010 poll that found that 63 percent of voters thought the government's anti-terror activities didn't go far enough to adequately protect the country, compared to 25 percent who did. “

Propaganda has its limits ; the slick marketing is being believed by fewer and fewer people . The state knows this – that’s why it has to spy on the "stupid masses" and build up the forces of repression.

author by Tpublication date Wed Aug 07, 2013 21:54Report this post to the editors

Thats interesting that back in 2010 63 percent thought the anti-terrorist efforts didn't go far enough. It will be interesting to see if the figure goes back up once the media coverage of Snowden dies down.

Anyhow I don't think those statistics on that very specific issue proves much.

As to the perfection of the propaganda system, it doesn't have to be wholly perfect all of the time so long as when some issue or crisis breaks that the system is able to take control of it and change the narrative. And a good example of that is the way the narrative on the financial crisis has changed in Ireland since it first broke in 2008. It has now simply turned into a constant media stream about the government spending too much and fat cat civil servants. And the thing is time and time again, when I have tried to discuss the crisis/recession/depression with people, they have been so thoroughly indoctrinated by the media, they simply parrot the same line as you get in the Irish mainstream media.

Your last point is: Propaganda has its limits ; the slick marketing is being believed by fewer and fewer people .....

I heard the equivalent of this pre-crisis about the political system in general. People are copping on. They aren't. If that was the case we would be heading directly in a few short years to a situation where the population would totally reject the status quo. What a statement like this fails to take into account is that as time progresses, we forget. For example, consider what you might have read yesterday in the newspaper or elsewhere. Can you remember? Probably. How about something last week? Maybe. Last month? possibly. Last year. Not really. Ten years ago. Unlikely.

Our memories of things decay over time unless they are really important to us. The other thing is whatever (political) wisdom or experience we build up over our lives, as we all drop off the end - say consider 10 year blocks of people; a huge body of collective memory and knowledge is lost. Then there are 10 years of young people coming into the system and in the vast majority of cases unaware of the national political history and corruption. How many teenagers do you know percentagewise that are famililar with how the political system works and all the broken promises made that show the flaws in the system. You would be lucky if it was 5%. The propaganda system is pretty much able to rewrite recent history and it does. This and the above factors show how people are not going to be copping on such that we reach rejection of the system. The whole way rejection will happen is when the system itself collapses for whatever reason.

author by JoeMcpublication date Thu Aug 08, 2013 15:58Report this post to the editors

As Indymedia editor T patiently waits for the media coverage of Snowden to die down, he finds that capitalism’s near perfect propaganda system doesn’t have to be so perfect after all : a “change of narrative” is all that’s required to keep the ovine masses bleating happily as their houses get repossessed etc. etc.
There’s an even older propaganda "trick" than the narrative-change one that T mentions . It's a rhetorical device that he seems to have picked up on - I'm sure subliminally . It’s called “changing the subject”. The figures I provided yesterday showed that people in the US do not believe the “near perfect” propaganda being fed them by their government . These sourced statistics T finds so "interesting" that he blithely ignores them in his reply -“I don't think those statistics on that very specific issue proves much” - before moving on to speculate about his ten year mental blocks:

Here then for T. is another example of state repression being used as imperialism’s “near perfect propaganda” system breaks down in the face of ugly reality .

The Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) today issued a statement strongly protesting the decision by European communications satellite services provider Intelsat to take Iranian channels, including the English-language news channel Press TV, off the air. http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/06/29/311416/iran-me...irib/

author by gurglepublication date Sun Aug 11, 2013 19:38Report this post to the editors

I'm afraid that I have to agree with T and chomsky here Joe.
Firstly, did you see how easily the snowden story became a case of "where's wally" and "ooh look obama is pissed at the russians" instead of discussing the actual revelations in detail (apart from RT )?
For example, how many people can talk to you about the details of xkeyscore or prism, however everyone knows about bradley manning's huge punitive sentence and that the US can get france / spain to block their airspace to evo morales presidential plane, and that Snowden can never hide forever from the reach of the US except in the "evil gay hating russian mafia state". The message that whistleblowers will be punished got out loud and clear but the details of the revelations had rather more limited circulation.

Secondly, did you notice an increase in the number of TV programs rehashing 9/11 and other terrorism lately including the big budget "path to 9/11" with harvey keitel. etc etc.

Thirdly, did you notice the recent outing of a "paedophile dark net" which was apparently thanks to all the the NSA spying. How convenient. (actually it was more complex than this but this is how the media sold it) They can out these things at will, yet they only do it when their power is challenged. Clearly they don't care too much about such "illegal activities" except to use as a foil for bad publicity. Not surprising as history shows that the powerful are often intimately involved in hedonistic criminality. Can't be throwing useful people under the bus can we? Better to just blackmail them and keep them onside.

Fourthly did you notice the whole "closing all the embassies" scaremongering nonsense designed to reinforce the lie that all this spying is only there for the purposes exposing terrorists and protecting US embassies from terrorists.

Did you notice the latest protests threatening to boycott the winter games over a misinterpretation of the "illegal to spread homosexual propaganda to minors" law. Reminds me of the whole pussy riot storm in a teacup again. This kind of thing is rehashed on a regular basis to demonise the one state able to stand up to the US. Between the Gay lobby and the other NGOs inside Russia receiving funding from US sources to foment internal dissent and external demonisation and mistrust. I'm sadly disappointed that I haven't heard half as much from the Gay lobby about the awful treatment of Bradley manning though. Rather curious that eh?

The whole thing is like a well oiled machine which kicks in whenever there is a crisis, papering over any uncomfortable information, framing the discussion in a safe way, rewriting history and bombarding the bovine tv watching majority over and over with the same propaganda soundbites until they are repeating them among themselves on cue. Various mouthpieces and think tanks propagate the party lines far and wide and across the most influential internet fora. We've all met them, even here on indy.

You can prove this by bringing up snowden with people. You generally get the same response. "Shure we knew they spied on us". "God, Snowden / manning is really fucked now". "Where is he now?".
Thing is, when you point out the details and actual implications of Prism and xkeyscore (assuming they let you speak that long without starting yet another vapid conversation about football instead!) and ask them would they mind if you had that access to their online activities, they are often shocked.

Most people are easily led Joe. They seem to have serious problems processing complex or technical information or subtleties, unless it is spelled out to them. Even then they choose to stay in denial, believing their US protecters and keepers are benign and have only the best intentions. And they forget very quickly and are easily reprogrammed with a few soundbites repeated over and over in an authoritative way.

The debacles in Tunisia, Libya, Syria and in Egypt show the reality of revolution in the modern world. Very disheartening. Incidentally Tony Cartalucci predicted Mohammed El Baradei in Egypt ages ago. Looks like he was close to the mark.

It's a very disheartening time to be a revolutionary in Ireland. In 1916 the people in the streets mocked and ridiculed the revolutionaries. I think today, the majority are far more comprehensively brainwashed than they were then. The task would now be much harder.

Of course, If you try to discuss any of this with most ordinary folk, they immediately parrot the term "conspiracy theory" and switch off. A beautifully programmed knee jerk routine which shuts down any subversive discussion. A stroke of genius taken from psychological literature and propagated widely around the time of the warren commission report.

The fear of seeming foolish would seem to override most things in an image conscious vapid zombie consumer society. We will worry about our image all the way back into the workhouse it seems, even as whatever social gains have been made since WWII have been totally dismantled by cynical and sociopathic neo liberal ideological forces dominant in the US and in Europe

author by JoeMcpublication date Mon Aug 12, 2013 16:22Report this post to the editors

I think it’s YOU who has picked up on the propaganda : it’s a very bad time to be a revolutionary , the average person is an ox who only wants to watch 9/11 movies on TV ;the all powerful people who run the system have got it so well sussed out – they know the stupid masses care more about sport than they do about the future of their children ; the sheep have short memories, they’ll put up with anything, let them eat cake etc.That’s what rulers throughout history have always themselves believed and it’s what they want those they rule to feel as well – i.e. that the status quo is the natural order of things and that the elite are invincible because they are more brainy than the rest of the world.

I agree with some of the things you say about the propaganda being directed against Russia in the guise of support for gay rights . Some western gay rights groups have thankfully become sensitive to this - some clearly have not . But at the same time as pointing to the role of Western intelligence agencies , shouldn't it be acknowledged that there is repression in Russia and that gays there are being oppressed - should supporters of gay rights remain silent when gays are batoned off the streets of St. Petersburg ? I think it would be wrong to allow the rotten manipulations of Western intelligence agencies to undermine overall support for what should be a basic human right .

author by NLGF pers cappublication date Mon Aug 12, 2013 19:50Report this post to the editors

You are right about some of the anti Russian propaganda but Putin has delivered a severe set back to gay rights in Russia.

Its important when criticising the Russian anti Gay laws to make it clear that you have nothing to do wit US hypocrisy on the issue.

Putin is wrong on Gay rights. But he is correct to give sanctuary to Snowden and to support the Syrian government.

I'll be posting an event about a protest at the Russian Embassy but I'll make it clear that Obamas concern re LGBTQ rights in Russia is not to be trusted.

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