Economics and Government and Social Issues06 Nov 2011 12:49 pm

As a veteran of so many social movements since the 60’s I view the recent efforts in Arab nations, the US Tea Partyers, and the #OWS (OccupyWall Street) with a mixture of hope and skepticism. My hope is small in comparison to my skepticism because like previous social movements I think they underestimate, what they are up against. Too many people trust in the purity of entities such as alternative and social media.

After personally observing how the student revolutions were infiltrated, corrupted, and finally co-opted by the corporate/military/industrial complex I am aware of how the integrity of a noble cause can be not only destroyed, but end up serving the long term interests of the establishment (the 1% in today’s lingo).

There were many other movements that have and are suffering the same fate as the anti-war student movement of the 60’s. In fact the majority of the others fared much worse than the students movement. A short list would include the civil rights and women’s movements, the ecological movement, and the anti-war movements of both Gulf Wars.

Please read the following quote numerous times. In fact make a copy of it and put it on your fridge, on a home wall hanging, or any place where you will see and review it often.

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this
unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is
the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are
molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have
never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our
democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must
cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly
functioning society. In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in
the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical
thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of
persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the
masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.” – Edward Bernays – Propaganda – 1928

Look at the year that was stated. Almost a century ago our world was already dominated by perceptual managers. Mr. Bernays was not heralding a new strategy, but a science of social psychology which had developed to the point where he could confidently identify propaganda as the most powerful and pervasive ingredient of maintaining a democracy. In fact, Mr. Bernays and his ilk did and do believe that the very survival of democracy is dependent on the successful control of the public mind.

In my previous post What Money Can Do, I mentioned amongst other things the fact that the wealthy can and do employ some of our greatest minds to insure and expand their power, wealth and control. There is no social movement that will not be monitored, infiltrated, corrupted and influenced by the perceptual managers and PR minions of the wealthy.

Every day the techniques and strategies of social influence and perceptual management are being refined, honed and expanded upon in the practical laboratory we call modern society. The sophisticated techniques used by our intelligence and military agencies in torture, propaganda, brain washing, and removing resistance are being adapted and deployed domestically by the wealthy to further their agenda and to insure their continued dominance.

Just as our government gathered and employed some of the best physicists for the Manhattan Project for the atomic bomb, the military industrial complex currently employs geniuses in the realm of social psychology. Terms such as spin doctors greatly downplays the sphere of influence of the perceptual managers who are working around the clock in their devotion to win our hearts and minds and make us dependent on those who are exploiting us and attacking our standard of living and quality of life.

All those who are feeling that the internet and social media are the tools of the next revolution should keep in mind that the internet was originally a pentagon project, and its main goals and objectives in terms of global and domestic surveillance and influence are still in tact. I see no indication that “they” have lost control of their project. In fact each day I see more and more signs of how they are once again successfully co-opting and incorporating all these Arab, European and domestic social movements into assets of their social engineering.

The desire for the powerful and ambitious to control and exploit the masses is not new, and as Bernays points out, it has a privileged role in democratic systems. Even in the earliest social democracies that existed over two thousand years ago the benefits of mechanisms such as bribery, corruption, deceit and torture were generally known by those in power. In the earliest democracies oratory was heralded and many politicians adopted the skill set of the conman.

Yet, over two thousand years the level of sophistication of propagandists, conmen and perceptual managers has mushroomed. One could say the effectiveness and knowledge of the techniques of persuasion and influence have grown geometrically with the birth of the sciences of social psychology and public relations.

Anyone who truly yearns for lasting and meaningful social change must understand and fully appreciate how potent are the forces able to corrupt, co-opt, redirect, or envelop any social movement. Everything said by or about a movement is monitored and analyzed and processed by perceptual managers. Every word uttered is an opportunity for the spin doctors and propagandists to find a point of entry into joining or redirecting the movement. Every moment new ways for a movements words to be reinterpreted or emotionally experienced are pondered. Without even knowing it followers of a social movement may be straying from the original intent into a version which is being promoted by the establishment.

The problem is that the average person does not have the time nor energy to sift through all of the words being said and have sufficient vigilance to keep their support of the movement pure. Movements themselves and their spokesman often do not see how subtle changes in language or in acceptance of minor ways their ideas are being framed by outside influences (media, splinter groups, etc.) are not only undermining but often altering the core issues of the movement. oftentimes altering the very proposals which have the most potential for dramatic social change. That level of thought and vigilance is more realistically able to be accomplished by the perceptual managers and their employers.

Significant, lasting and beneficial social change is still possible. Our desire to create harmonious and humane societies is a valid one. The goal of constructing societies which improve the quality of human life is not unrealistic or even idealistic. Yet, it is not the direction in which we are moving and until we fully recognize and divorce ourselves from the mechanisms of power, fear and hatred which are the basic tools of social engineering we will have a difficult time not falling prey to the agenda and dominance of perceptual managers who convince us that the elite are too big to fail and our very survival depends on their continued imbalanced success.

Jim Guido

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