Propaganda war divides those of us who work for a living

Whether we are aware of it or not, most of us hold values and ideas that are in direct contradiction of where we stand in society, and some of us oppose ourselves. This irrationality is a direct result of the propaganda war that has been launched against the U.S. working class.

In losing this war of words and ideas, we are being divided. We are fighting one another and are suspicious of one another rather than directing our suspicions toward the real enemies of human progress: the big banks, Wall Street, Big Business, multinational corporations, militarism and the Military Industrial Complex.
For those who think I exaggerate, or that I am just being radical, examine some of the more obvious examples of the propaganda machine at work.

Why is the U.S. government’s Department of Homeland Security launching what amounts to the demonization of the Muslim community in the form of the Peter King hearings? The timing is odd indeed.

There have been no instances of Islam-inspired terrorism recently, and the Arab Muslim nations have with their uprisings demonstrated that their people yearn for freedom from tyranny as well as economic security. And, these movements were not led by Islamic fundamentalists, but by the working people of those countries.
The reason for these hearings are pure and simple: propaganda.

In Wisconsin, thousands of folks rallied to oppose what Governor Scott Walker was eventually able to accomplish — destroying the essence of public employee unions’ collective bargaining powers. However, tens of thousands more either agreed with the governor or sat on the fence.

Why did tens of thousands of fellow workers somehow decide it was right to “hate” on fellow workers, many of whom actually make less and have fewer benefits than folks working the same kind of jobs in the private sector? Why, when it became obvious that this wasn’t about budget cuts at all, did the average Wisconsonite refuse to support other folks who, like them, have to work for a living?

If it was because they were opposed to public workers’ pensions, shouldn’t they be opposed to the more obvious and economically devastating tax cuts for the rich, or to the Wall Street and bank bailouts?

When fascism came to power in Germany and Italy in the last century, the first thing the fascists did was outlaw unions.

Students in the suburb of Eden Prairie, Minnesota recently were screaming “food stamps” at players on an opposing basketball team, which ironically hailed from a suburb as well. Now, this can be seen as kids being kids, and it may just have been that; but even if that’s the case, it’s revelatory.

Why would teenagers think that yelling “food stamps” out loud in a public venue would be humorous or insulting? Where did they get this from?

My guess is that they got it from the propaganda machine that is the Big Business media, which includes print and TV, including TV news, and of course some may have gotten it from their parents. In fact, some parents in that suburb have filed suit against the school district because they simply don’t want to be inconvenienced by the influx of students of color. Is it possible the kids got that message?

Even the kind of education that is taught in school is a form of indoctrination and propaganda. What is left out (the real history of unions, farmers, Robber Barons, women’s struggles, Reconstruction, even sympathy and empathy) is just as important as what is taught.

And the church — that’s right, the church — advances anti-poor folks propaganda as well. If the blessings of God are evidenced by one’s prosperity, then the lack of prosperity must be evidence of God’s disdain.

One of the problems we face in our society is the inability to look our reality in the face and call it what it is, or to call a spade a spade so to speak. Those who work for a living are clearly under attack by the “Unseen Hand” in so many ways.

When we look at North Africa, and especially Egypt and Tunisia, we see that folks are still protesting and pressing an agenda that will bring justice and equality to all of their fellow citizens, including women. They are not settling for any kind of “lesser evil.” Neither should we.

Mel Reeves welcomes reader responses to