Reach Out And Touch Someone
Rigged Discrimination in all Fronts - Globally..
Apartheidized Racism: The Antithesis of Humanity
Racial attitudes in America have their antecedents in the culture of Elizabethan England, and when they came to the North America and the Caribbean, they came into frequent contact with peoples whose culture, religion and color was markedly different from their own. The Early responses of the Englishmen to Indians and Africans, lay the seeds of what would become, for centuries or more later, one of the most painful problems in American history-the problem of racial prejudice
For the past three to four presidential cycles, The United States has been facing some form of racial strife or another. Every segment of society has faced crise de conscience over the gap between promise and the reality of American life-and its racist filiation. The commitment to human dignity and equality for all citizens has been contradicted by persistent discrimination against large minority groups within the American Society.
The causes and consequences of racism, and racial attitudes have shaped the American Experience since Europeans first set foot in the New World. Over time, we've had a chance to gain some insights into the racist assumptions that govern the perceptions and behavior of White Americans that are embedded in the institutions of most society's today. These very actions are now clogging the media in all their forms and manifestations, presentations and projections, and are part of the raging discourse by different people as to their efficacy.
President Lyndon B. Johnson established a commission, headed by Governor Otto Kerner of Illinois to inquire into the causes of civil disorders. In the Spring of 1968, the commission charged white America with the primary responsibility for the racial disorders sweeping the nation. The report concluded that: "Our nation is moving toward two societies, one black-one white-separate and unequal. What white Americans have never fully understood-but what the Negro can never forget-is that white society is deeply implicated in the ghetto. White institutions created it, white institutions maintain it, and white institutions condones it."
"Most Americans," the commission reported, "know little of the origins of the racial schism separating our white and Negro citizens. Few appreciate how central the problem of the negro has been to our social policy. Fewer still understand that today's problems can be only if white Americans comprehend the rigid social, economic and educational barriers that have prevented Negroes from participating in the mainstream of American life". Along with blacks, other minorities-Indians, Europeans, Asian immigrants and Mexican-Americans-have also been objects of white racism, of a 'type'.
The Beginning of the End
Our heightened awareness of racism and its consequences derives from the present ferment over racial injustice. Eurocentrism at its worst has generated a cacophony which has been set against the interest of the local oppressed minorities and international cooperation and mutual understanding. This has been designed to ultimately subvert international relationships. The European, Arab and American slavers and Imperialist have brought this about in the forms of Nazism, Apartheid, Imperialism, slavery, intellectual arrogance, racial murders and military and technological dominance.
Much of human history has been a fight for the survival against natural hazards and against real and imagined human enemies. Development in the past has always meant the increase in the ability to guard the independence of the social group and to infringe upon the freedom of others. Underdevelopment has been the norm in the past centuries. The Negro has been defined by white society as inferior, licentious, intellectually and morally inadequate half or fifth of a man.
One view of this, Americans contemplated emancipation at the end of the eighteenth century thought of recolonizing Africans, by using and implementing the Black Codes, because the white people could not see any genuine assimilation of blacks into white society as being possible. The black Codes ensured and institutionalized this rigid form of racism and racial separation.
No two historical events can ever be identical in every detail. Times change; people change; conditions change; history moves. However there are some instances where history is repeated, and such repetition may either be coincidental, deliberately engineered, and influenced by humans. To be sure, man's inhumanity to man is not a modern phenomenon, one has to go back eons to Osiris and Seth, Cain and Abel, etc.
The pages of history are full of instances and cases of injustice, murder, torture, exterminations, that one in the end is forced to conclude that of all the living creatures, human beings are the most cruel. To say that human beings sometimes "act like animals' is incorrect. The opposite is true. The encroachment of Europeans on the land, people and cultures of this and other parts of the world was a protracted act of aggression that has not ended until this day.
It is clear that Africans and indigenous Americans could have put together an amalgamated way of life without the destructive war against each other. For the European to have achieved this, he would have to respect the humanity of the people he found; and he showed no tendency to do so in spite of the fact that most of them treated the Europeans as guests and with peace, until they(Europeans) decided to be conquerors and enslavers.
This mistreatment of these people and their slow disappearance through disease, murder and starvation depopulated large areas of the Americas and Caribbean Islands And Africa. Christopher Columbus asked for Father de Las Casas who came over on his third voyage to petition the Pope for an increase in the African Slave trade, allegedly to save the continuance and survival of the Indians(Red Man). The Pope sent commissions to inquire into the conditions of the Indians, only to discover that on some Islands in the Caribbean Sea, there was not one Indian left alive. The extant of the genocide has been written extensively about, and this needs to be further investigated and refreshed.
Prejudice, Disinformation and Racism
The Indigenous's Conundrum
Mark Twain posited this observation: "In many countries we have chained the savage, and starved him to death... in many countries we have burned the savage at the stake... we have hunted the savage and his little children and mother with dogs and guns... in many countries we have taken the savage's land from him, and made him our slave, and lashed him every day, and broken his pride, and made death his only friend, and overworked him till he dropped in his tracks".
The Red man averred: They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept one; they promised to take our land, and they took it." Africans in South Africa State: "When the White people came, we had the land and they had the Bible; now we have the Bible and they have our land." The dislocation of the owners of the land from their land is one of the early inhuman and Human Rights violation which has effected the disowned to this day.
Racial attitudes in America have their origins in the culture of Elizabethan England, because it was in the sixteenth century that the English people, who were on the verge of creating an overseas empire in North and The Caribbean, began to come into frequent contact with the peoples whose culture, religion and color was markedly different from their own. In the early responses of Englishmen to Indians and Africans lay the seeds of what would become, four centuries later, one of the most agonizing social problems in American history-Racial segregation and outright racism. On the problem of racial prejudice, Mark Twain wryly observed: "There are many humorous things in the world; among them the white man's notion that he is less savage than other savages." If there is anything to take from these aphorisms, it is the fact that Racism has left its victims and some observing the absurdity of it all with befuddled awe.
When the Englishmen arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1620, or at Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620, they found the Red man already occupying the land. There were many written and oral reports about the Indians in the New Worlds, many based upon the Spanish and Portuguese experiences in Mexico, Peru and Brazil for those who wanted to know.
For five centuries explorers, geographers, cartographers, colonists, travelers, adventurers, warriors and reporters have attempted to describe in different ways and for different reasons unfamiliar regions of the planet. There is a great deal to be learned about European societies from these efforts of reporting the unknown.
One such mappenmode found in a copy of Hidgens Polychronicon who eat one another; the Garamentes who live in a zone where the water boil by day and freezes by night; the Farici who live on raw flesh of panthers; the Monoculi who possess one leg apiece but who none-the-less could run very fast and who spend their days sitting benignly in the sun with their single foot held as a sunshade above them.
There was one nation whose heads grew beneath the shoulders, another with umbrella lips, one without tongues, one without noses, one without ears. The list goes on, so that the existence of racism, has long been created and they already had an audience for all this mumbo-jumbo.
These illusory creatures had been projections of misunderstood realities. Others found it difficult to dispute this phantamasgoria of what others were presumed to have seen. These monstrosities continued to be half remembered by the map makers, empire builders(Cecil Rhodes is one of the many), and empire destroyers of the sixteenth century. After all, they had been sighted by honest men who needed a good tale to tell and whose public needed it pre-conceptions confirmed by evidence. Exploration was a pursuit of information and each added unit of information filled in a troubling uncertainty about the nature of the world.
The effects of such reportage began laying seeds of misconceptions, stigma, racism and prejudice which is still prevalent in many renewed forms today. These early accounts seem to have created a split of the Indian in the English mind. On the other hand the native was imagined to be a savage, hostile, beast-like creature who inhabited the animal kingdom rather than the kingdom of men. Another account described them as men who 'spake such speech that no men could understand, and their demeanor like the brute beasts'. Ignorance of other cultures has not been readily admitted by those who have caused those cultures to decay and crumble, today.
In 1585 prospective adventurers to the New World, described the native of North America as naked, lascivious, individuals who cohabited like beasts without reasonableness'. Richard Kakluyt, the great propagandist for English colonization, described the Indians in 1585 as "simple and rude in manners, and destitute in of the knowledge of God or any good laws, yet of nature gentle and tractable, and most apt to receive the Christian religion, and to subject themselves so some good government'. This tarnishing of the image and the dehumanization of other races from the time of Columbus, Bartholomew Diaz and Vasco da Gama, has carried over into the present day social relations in a myriad ways, but to the same effect.
The Republic of South Africa Saga
In both South Africa and Southern Rhodesia, the overriding issue was the European struggle to maintain economic monopoly over land, minerals, jobs, social services and to repress African competition and nationalism. The white rural bourgeoisie and urban working class looked up to the settler political vigilance and state capitalism to protect their racialist economic privileges against real and imaginary African competition. On the other hand, settler farmers wanted the state to make laws that would eliminate any competition with Africans over land, mineral, agricultural produce and extension services, and were guaranteed cheap and slave labor. In January 1944 Dr. Malan described the nature of the republic as follows:"To ensure the safety of the white race and of Christian civilization by honest maintenance of the principles of apartheid and guardianship."
The apartheid policy was the work of a special commission which was appointed by the Nationalist Party in a pamphlet before the end of 1947 and it said: "The policy of our country should encourage total apartheid as the ultimate goal of a natural process of separate development. It is the primary task and calling of the State to seek the welfare of South Arica, and to promote the happiness and well-being of its citizens, non-White as well as White."
Realizing that such a task can best be accomplished by preserving and safeguarding the White race, the Nationalist party professes this as the fundamental guiding principle of its policy. The population of South Africa is one-fifth white and four-fifths African. The white minority controlled the political, military and economic structures. The black majority provided and still provide cheap labor within the white controlled areas.
This dichotomy was deliberately created and maintained. The first laws depriving Africans of legal rights to the land were passed in the nineteenth century. By 1940 there was a whole battery of laws restricting Africans rights to own land, to travel, to work in skilled jobs, to vote, to organize and so on. Then, when the Nationalist(Afrikaner) Party took over in 1948, they systematically reworked these laws into one comprehensive structure, known as apartheid(literally separateness). They created Native Reserves later to be known as Tribal land then Bantustans, which was the fulcrum and keystone of this Apartheid policy.
These were the same as the Indian Reservations in the United State. Whites took over eighty-seven percent of the land and allocated the 13 percent to these Reservations. To enforce these laws, the apartheid regime introduced Pass Laws (Identification Laws) that gave the white rulers a tight and rigid control of the Black population's movement. The restricted the African population from living in urban areas and passed various laws to that effect.
They forced the black population into migrant labor system. The workers families were to live in the Bantustans while the men worked in the mines and big cities around South Africa. They exerted tight political control and did not allow Blacks to vote in the national elections. Black opportunities were further hampered by an educational structure that ensured that 'natives' will be taught from childhood to realize that equality with Europeans was not for them'(As uttered by Verwoerd).
The curriculum was distorted, preventing and ensuring pupils will be prevented from gaining much knowledge of the world outside the Apartheid system. The apartheid regime prohibited mixed marriages by legislating and implementing and enforcing the Mixed Marriages act thoroughly. In a nutshell, this then was what constituted the apartheid system by the mid-1970s.
It is primarily a system of exploitation based on a division of society based on race. The heart of the apartheid system lay in influx control, passes, resettlements, migrant labor and laws, Terrorism Act, Mixed Marriage Act, separate living conditions and social services, media, books, TV, hospitals, etc. This was one of the most devastating underdevelopment of a whole race of people right through to contemporary times. In this case too, democracy was a farce and serious contradiction to the civilized notions of modernity and Advancement.
Review of American Slavery
What we are seeing so far in both cases in the United States, was a conscious effort and attempt to manipulate the world in order to make it conform to the Settlers, Colonialist world view and economic dependency. The Africans who were brought against their will across the Atlantic never fully adjusted to slavery or accepted it as something that was inevitable. Instead, they pursued liberty under the trying and seemingly impossible conditions, and their search continued throughout the entire period of their enslavement.
The real fight for liberty by these Africans started on the shores of Africa and in the slave-holding forts along the West African Coast. As many slaves were forced onto the slave ships, they picked up a handful of African dirt and forced it into their mouths in their determination to take some of their homeland with then as they went into forced exile. This spirit of revolt was natured throughout slavery and took many forms wherever slaves were found, whether in South America, in the Caribbean, the United States or Africa.
The African Slaves who arrived in Jamestown, Virginia, in 1619 were not chattel slaves, in the general sense; they were indentured servants. But, by the early 1930s America, Alexis de Tocqueville noticed that: "Some schools do not receive the children of the blacks and of the European. In the theaters gold cannot procure a seat for the servile race beside their former masters; in the hospitals they lie apart; and although they are allowed to invoke the same God as the whites.
"it must be at a different altar and in their own churches, with their own clergy. The gates of heaven are not closed against them, but their inferiority is continued to the very confines of the other word. When the Negro dies, his bones are cast aside, and the distinction of condition prevails even in the equality of death…"
While the black people in the North were proscribed politically, they also were hindered economically. Black benefitted little form the economic expansion of steamboats, railroads, factories and cities. With the growing need for labor, white workers demanded the exclusion of black workers. This is like being in SouthAfrica, so that the lesson from the paragraph above is that American Slavery and Apartheid were one and the same thing.
While blacks struggled for economic survival, they also suffered the attacks of violent anti-Negro mobs, generally composed of white workers. Black people in the North were victims of segregation, discrimination and violence. The oppressive structures of race relations was influenced by the images of the Negro long established in the minds of white Americans. The African slaves inherited their chains form the Indians and poor whites, both of whom were indentured servants in large numbers before the arrival of Africans. The same beatings, violent physical abuses are part of the Apartheid lore in South Africa, in even more graphic terms.
Outcomes of Human Rights Abuses
The history of building Democracies on the backs of Africans, Indians, Chinese and other colonized and oppressed people created whole generations in different lands of underdeveloped nations. That is why we have what is now called the 'Third World,' Second World and first world. But, developing people of different races apart and infusing hate in the process has not made contemporary democracies of the Third, Second or First world any way civilized and developed.
The process of under-developing other people has in itself not made development in these settler and colonialist nations any better. If one country is wealthier than others, an inquiry has to be made as to why there's such great disparity in wealth. Another component of modern development is that it expresses a particular relationship of exploitation of one country by another. Democracies built in this way are bound to fail over time and there is a whole history to back this assertion.
Apart Hate will be the downfall of modern day capitalism, and Racism, as it is the handmaiden of this sub-human treatment of other races, and it will be the final straw that will destroy the types of democracies we are now living in. This issue will be explored in much more deeper and in-depth look to see how this democratic apartness is playing itself out in the times we live in. Apartheid(Apart Hate), the underdevelopment of humanity, is the antithesis of Civilization.
Quick Review of Democracy
In his book, "The Sane Society," Erich Fromm has this to say about Democracy: "Just as work has become alienated, the expression of the will of the voter in modern democracy is an alienated expression. The principle of democracy is the idea that not a ruler or a small group, but the people as a whole, determine their own fate and make their decisions pertaining to matters of common concern.
"By electing his own representatives, who in a parliament decide on the laws of the land, each citizen is supposed to exercise the function of responsible participation in the affairs of the community. By the principle of the division of powers, and ingenious system was created that served to retain the integrity and independence of the judiciary system, and to balance the restrictive functions of the legislature and executive. Ideally, every citizen is equally responsible for and influential in making decisions. ...The problem of democracy today is not anymore the restriction of franchise but the manner in which the franchise is exercised.
"How can people express 'their' will if they do not have any will or conviction of their own, if they are alienated automatons, whose tastes, opinions and preferences are manipulated by the big conditioning machines? Under these circumstances, universal suffrage becomes a fetish. If a government can prove that everybody has a right to vote, and that the votes are counted honestly, it is democratic.
"If everybody votes, but the votes are not counted honestly, or if the voter is afraid of voting against the governing party, the country is undemocratic. It is true indeed that there is a considerable and important difference between free and manipulated elections, but noting this difference must not lead us to forget the fact that even free elections do not necessarily express "the will of the people.
"If a highly advertised brand of toothpaste is used by the majority of people because of some fantastic claims it makes in its propaganda, nobody with any sense would say that the people have 'made a decision' in favor of the toothpaste. All that could be claimed is that the propaganda was sufficiently effective to coax millions of people into believing its claims," [In another sense, this is happening to people because they have no other choice nor power to what is offered-my addition].
From adds: "Actually, the functioning of the political machinery in a democratic country is not essentially different fro the procedure on the commodity market. The political parties are not too different from big commercial enterprises, and the professional politicians try to sell their wares to the public. Their method is more and more like that of high-pressure advertising. ...All this goes to show that without the initiative that comes from immediate responsibility, ignorance will persist in the face of masses of information however complete or correct. ...The situation of control in a modern democracy is not too different from the control in a big corporation.
"They make the decision between two party machines competing for their votes. Once one of them is voted into office, the relationship to the voters becomes remote. The real decisions often do not lie any more with individual members of the parliament, representing the interests and wishes of their constituency, but with the party. ...For a while it is true that one must think before one acts, it is also true that if one has no chance to act, the thinking becomes impoverished; in other words, if one cannot act effectively — one cannot think productively. With the mess that the idea of democracy is around the world, no wonder so much chaos prevails, and human underdevelopment increases."
This is a common theme that runs the gamut through all the so-called democracies throughout the world. There is always an element of government intervention, use of force, coercion, corruption, brutality, and abuse of the citizens of these states, by their leaders, for self-aggrandizement. In these countries, China, the US, throughout Africa, the Philippines, Vietnam, Russia and everywhere else where there is this purported democracy, we find serious violations of human and civil rights to the populations.
Constitutions are changed; prostitution and sex trade the norm, violence and torture a way of life; poverty and corruption compounded by the use of cheap labor has become what contemporary governments clamor for. Poor education and substandard house seem to be what the established order of democracy want to see; chronic homelessness, constant struggle for work, water, expensive electricity, poor basic health and food seem to be now used as tools of control for these so-called democratic governments.
It would have seemed like democracy meant human progress and freedom, but now it looks like Democracy is the underdevelopment of people in an apartheid way in order to foster illegitimate rule and human rights violation.
Rounding Up The Arab Spring
According to Frank Vogl, The Arab Spring was a seminal event and it is important to fully understand this and remember that its impact will be a lasting one. It inspired public protests from New Delhi to New York and from Minsk to Moscow. Tens of thousands of Tunisians and Egyptians started it, risking their lives and overcoming their fears to denounce illegitimate governments.
Now, people in many are taking action on an unprecedented scale in what was emerging as a war on the abuse of power. They are standing up for their dignity and integrity. They were demonstrating or justice and for honest government. They were also confronting corrupt leaders and elites.
The hundreds of thousands of protesters in many countries know that the journey will be long and hard. Few of their aspirations were likely to be achieved in the short-term. Building new, accountable and strong institutions of justice, civil society and democracy would be difficult anywhere. As we saw vividly in parts of the Middle East today there were set-backs on the journey towards more open societies.
However, the voices of anger have risen in many countries and was still raising higher, confronting the vile conspiracies between crooked businessmen and crooked public officials. Moreover, the protests were not just directed at the masters of grand corruption at the zenith of power… they also expressed their frustration and anger of hundreds of millions of people who were the victims of extortion at the hand of thieves-and low-level police and other officials who should be serving the public, rather than serving themselves.
Trust among people to take heart, to overcome fears and to the streets was built via Twitter and Facebook and other social media. Many of the developments that now gave anti-corruption cause such vigor had been long in the making and did not suddenly arise as a result of the Arab Spring. But that singular event symbolized the coming of age of the anti-corruption cause and gave it vital momentum. Today, for example, thanks to myriad media channels and new technologies, what was long opaque in government and business is becoming transparent. In this new age, the public was becoming well-informed on the practices of the powerful.
The eyes of the world are now more focused on the deals that governments and business did together, on the ways in which public procurement contracts were determined and who benefitted on those actions by which people in power that have hitherto not been sufficiently subject to public scrutiny and oversight-have their activities laid bare in the viral stream. Everyday saw an increasing number of media reports on corruption in some part of the world. This week the New York Times carried a front page story on corruption in Italy; on Sunday, the BBC ran a major story on the corruption villains in China.
And it is not just the media that was increasing the focus on abuse of power. It was, for example, a powerful theme in the remarkable work of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, whose massive one-man show opened at Washington D.C.'s Hirschorn Museum on October 7. The message that was coming through ever more loudly through every form of media was one that was simply proclaimed by brave, ordinary citizens in Tunisia and in Egypt as they launched the Arab Spring. It was the message that the public's tolerance for abusive governments was declining, and public demands for transparency and accountability in government were rising.
I do not for a moment underestimate the determination for the ruthless, corrupt leaders and their ability to mobilize all manner of illicit and fanatical forces to do their dirty work. But as more bad news hits the headlines from the Middle East, as it will surely continue to do so, we should not forget the seminal significance of the Arab Spring, nor underestimate the strength and resilience of those in this region and beyond who will continue to fight for justice.
After Arab Spring
Young Arabs under 30, who form 60 percent of the Arab world, communicate across the region with laptops, cellphones and their endless derivatives in a way never possible before. So it was no surprise when they got together to overthrow the oppressive governments that had denied them jobs, political freedom, democracy and dignity. Accomplished relatively peacefully in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen. With Western military help in Libya. Other Arab governments - Saudi Arabia and the smaller Persian Gulf states — had been shaken as well.
Unfortunately, these developments have been regarded by some as evidence of declining US power and influence, given that the US governments had supported many of the overthrown regimes in the interest of regional stability. Yet, what has been happening in much of the Arab Middle East is totally in line with what the United States has been proclaiming since its founding — that all people were entitled to be free and to choose their own government.
Accordingly, should we not be leading the cheers rather than wringing our hands about the USs decline. After all, democracy is spreading throughout the world. Sixty percent of the world's approximately 195 nations now participate in the basics — free, fair, multiparty elections that actually decide who their leaders are to be. A substantial representation of democracies exists in every region except the Middle East. So now it is the Middle East's chance, after an encouraging revolutionary start, and now that is the tough part.
So far, early results are mixed. In Egypt, which considers itself the leader of the Arab world(yet it is in Africa) The Islamic Brotherhood election victory was tainted with failure of secular parties to unite in opposition. The new civilian government is trying to write a new Constitution with the military looking over its shoulders and protests coming from women and other groups complaining about human rights that are being denied, still.
The Outcome is uncertain. Tunisia is settling reasonably well. Yemen's future is still uncertain, with a new leader but with terrorist and economical problems remaining. Libya is still unsettled(after the killing of Ghadaffi) and it is still a violent place. In Syria, blood-letting is still escalating(and Syria wants to spread its internal war and fight Turkey), despite world opinion that the suppressive minority Assad regime must go.
Other issues make the Middle East ever more complex, and potentially more dangerous. The Israeli-Palestinian Peace negotiations, for example, have been pushed further to the sidelines(And the Palestinians have applied for statehood in the UN and the results are still pending); The Iranian nuclear development is a growing concern, eve though the Iranians say it is not developing a bomb but improving their nuclear capacity and ability for domestic use.
Well, Israel is not buying and is spoiling for war and destruction of the Iranian Nuclear program. In the final analysis, every society's rigged and discriminated Underdevelopment is coming under challenge. Even here in the United States, where democracy and voting purges are taking place against the minority and colored folks, has begun to have question raised about the American Democracy, in the Age of Obama, who is being persecuted for being part Africa and the American White polity would like to see him removed from office and not getting the second term as President of the USA.
This is why we see a lot of shenanigans taking place about 'voter suppression' which means, African American voter suppression along with the rising minorities, Hispanics and other poor people of color, so as to disable Obama from winning. This is another issue which will be discussed in time on this Hub-American Democracy or American Shame-ocracy.
The relevance of President Obama's 2012 Inaugural speech to the Hub above, bear posting in its entirety because it really goes to the heart of the Discrimination in the United States and the world. What I am saying is that he pointed out more to peace, cooperation, bi-partisanship in developing the American credo and becoming an example to the world, today.
Obviously, Obama's reiterating and re-stating the pledge to "We The People which he repeated more oft than not, that the 'people' are at the center of his next coming four years with all the promises, he restated, that when made during his run for the second term in 2012, was criticized before he made the speech, and after he made it'.
It really does not matter at this stage in his Presidency that he says he wants done, or will do, his detractors will continuously attack him, as stated above, long before he said what he was going to do(known as 'obstruction'), even after he said it, or try to act on it.
The Speech Tat Deconstructs Rigged Discriminated Underdevelopment
Obama talked about making American enemies their allies. He is going to be attacked for talking about resolving our differences with other nations peacefully. The Hawks and the doves in the deep pockets of Big businesses of all sorts other interests, that feel threatened by "Peace" Obama referred to in terms of other nations around the world.
This means, according to these "Obama Haters", he is bad for business, because, according to Gil scot=Heron, "There is no profit to made from Peace".. so that, Obama is threatening the very base of Capitalist Military Industrial Complex, which is supported by its sales of Arms, uniforms and weapons of Mass destruction to these poor countries, with well-equipped militaries, by the American Military Industrial Complex.
Also, the gun Manufacturers are mad at him for passing laws that need people buying guns to be in the data base and have licensing done in a legally way, as threatening their business and right to own guns(threatening the Second Amendment of the American Constitution that, "protect and gives the right to citizen to lawfully own and purchase guns."
They are also at odds with him for trying to ban the military-style machine guns, of which a huge chunk of the American people want banned from all sales outlets. The vituperative reaction of those who are still racist in America,especially the so called "Tea Baggers", today, on the Inaugural speech of the second term of Obama's Presidency, because the minorities(who are now the Majority) were non-plussed and very happy, but for the "Haters", it was a solemn and sad day-for they are having trouble with embracing the "New America" represented by the first African President-is more than they can take or bear.
This is what Obama had to say in his Inaugural Speech, January 21, 2012:
"Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens:
"Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution. We affirm the promise of our democracy. We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names. What makes us exceptional — what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”
"Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth. The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob. They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed.
"For more than two hundred years, we have.
"Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free. We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together.
"Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.
"Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play.
"Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.
"Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone. Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character.
"But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action. For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias. No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores. Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people.
"This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience. A decade of war is now ending. An economic recovery has begun. America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it — so long as we seize it together.
"For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it. We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class. We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship. We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own.
"We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time. We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher. But while the means will change, our purpose endures: a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American. That is what this moment requires. That is what will give real meaning to our creed.
"We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity. We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit. But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future. For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn.
We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few. We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other — through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us. They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great.
"We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.
The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries — we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure — our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.
"We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war. Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage. Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty. The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm. But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.
"We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law. We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully — not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear. America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation.
We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom. And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice — not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes: tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice.
"We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.
"It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.
Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.
"That is our generation’s task — to make these words, these rights, these values — of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time — but it does require us to act in our time.
"For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay. We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate. We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect. We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.
"My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction — and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service. But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty, or an immigrant realizes her dream. My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride.
"They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope.
"You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course.
"You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time — not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.
"Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright. With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom.
"Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America." President Barack Obama)
The most important thing to note about the audience to who this speech was delivered "Live," was how attentive and quite they were and even to listen because the speech above is not one which one hears on Presidential Inaugural presentation. This is very significant because the audience was more polite and did not make this into a hand-clapping event, but more of grasping and hanging to every word of this unusual Presidential Inaugural speech.
It is also important to duly note that Obama was also talking to the International world(Nations) and he provided hope for peace and cooperation for all those who might not have understood nor grasped the role of Americans in the World today. Obama also said that, "We must be a source of hope for[and to] the poor and help restore their dignity." Nuff said, BO...
Attack on unarmed civilians in a Kenyan Mall
War against the Unarmed Citizens of Kenya and the Western World
Satpal Singh, a Kenyan man of Indian descent, was enjoying a cup of coffee with friends at the Java Coffee House on the mall’s upper floor when the terror began.
Somalia’s Al Shabaab movement, aligned with Al Qaeda, has claimed responsibility for the ongoing attack at the Westgate Mall in Nairobi that has already killed at least 62 people..
“I heard explosions and then shooting,” Singh said.
Knowing that the mall was full of families and children, Singh said he began looking for ways to get people out. He rushed downstairs toward the shooting. On one floor he found a police officer with an assault rifle hiding behind a pillar.
“To our dismay, the uniformed officers did not assist us,” he said. “Civilians risked their lives to help people, but one officer we found was just crouching behind a pillar holding his gun.”
“He had a weapon and would not use it,” he said.
On the ground floor, Singh saw two dead bodies. When one of the militants — authorities believe there are 10 to 15 of them inside the mall — fired in his direction, Singh ran back upstairs and tried to get people safely onto the mall’s roof using the fire escape at the cinema.
Once on the roof, Singh peered over the edge of the building, but was shot at again — this time by a Kenyan police officer who, Singh assumes, mistook him for a terrorist.
Singh and other shoppers caught in the chaos found yet another safe fire exit and began helping people down the stairs to the basement, and out through a service exit.
“We carried [injured] people on our shoulders,” he said. “We were let down by the police.”
Kenyan authorities said Monday that 1,000 people escaped the mall after the attackers first opened fire, but the operation to end the siege was not yet over. Three fighters were killed since Saturday, officials said, but the remaining militants reportedly hold an unknown number of hostages inside the mall.
Kenyan Interior Minister Joseph Ole Lenku said that “almost all the hostages have been evacuated,” but declined to give a specific number.
Lenku said that the Kenyan army was “in full control of the situation,” even as sporadic gunfire rang out during the course of the afternoon Monday.
“Terrorists could be running and hiding in some of the stores,” he said.
Architect Naeem Bivji, 34, was sitting on the roadside terrace at the Art Caffe restaurant with his wife and 7-month-old baby when the assault began around lunchtime Saturday.
“The attack started with a huge bang,” he said. “We could feel the blast wave and dived to the ground. A man a couple of tables away, a big guy, a bit older and a little slow to move was shot in the chest right in front of us.”
Hiding beneath the restaurant tables, the terrified customers tried to make sense of what was happening around them, Bivji said.
“People were saying it might be a drive-by or a robbery but we thought it was something more,” he said. “We waited on the ground for a few seconds then, as the shooting got louder inside the building, we crawled into the corner where there was a little stairwell and a fire escape.”
For the next 40 minutes, Bivji and his wife and young child huddled together, waiting for a chance to dash for safety.
Then, during a lull in the shooting, Bivji and his wife, clutching their infant daughter, clambered off the terrace and escaped.
Bivji said his brother was trapped in a bank on an upper floor of the mall for six hours. Customers had locked the bank’s doors, then separated the men from the women and the children. The men stayed out front, while the others hid behind the bulletproof glass of the teller counters.
Another man, a former Irish soldier, said he narrowly escaped death after militants shot at him while he was driving his car down the mall’s exit ramp.
“I heard gunshots and got out of my car and ducked down,” said the man, who did not want to be named. “When I looked up, I saw a Somali guy with a gun who shot in my direction.”
He left his keys in the car and ran back up the ramp to the car park. Families who had been hosting a children’s cooking competition were gathered in a far corner of the garage, hiding.
Finding nowhere to hide and the fire escape door barricaded, he climbed onto the top of the small building housing the fire escape and lay down.
Then the shooting began again, individual shots.
“They were executing people,” he said. “One shot at a time.”
Other survivors described how the militants separated the civilians: Muslims from non-Muslims. They then executed the non-Muslims.
For the next four hours the man kept his face pressed to the concrete as he counted at least 60 individual shots. Later, a plainclothes man assisting security forces found and rescued him."
War Against Unarmed Citizens Of Poor Countries
The new war today as has been carried out by the Muslim radical elements has been targeting places and areas where Western tourists shopped or slept. This 'soft' target, has presented the Muslim fighters against Western domination and interests, and they state it, and have been steadily attacking unarmed citizen to much devastating effect.
They also attack those countries, in Africa, as the record has shown, that have ties and business links with these Western interests which are the enemies of these radical, murderous elements of the Muslim crew. Al Qaeda has been depicted and presented as the main force behind these movements, and has been providing a lot of assistance to them. Since the now infamous Bin Laden attack on the Twin tours, and even before that, and this is a repeat on Kenya, by Al Qaeda and its cadres.
As an African myself, I really take exception to this brutal and devastating attack. Kenya's Tourism has fallen to zero since this attack, and that is the intention of these so-called fighters. I do not understand no accept their raison de etre for doing such a dastardly act, that I think if they really want to attack the enemy, they should not do so on the soil of Africans, but go to the countries of those they call their enemies and create this havoc there.
This is s simple observation on my part. I do not think unarmed citizens are the to be the target, because, if history has taught us anything, Hitler attacked Britain and bombed it mercilessly. But what he did was to tighten the resolve of the unarmed citizens, and he eventually lost the war. Just like the crew of Al Qaeda is doing, attacking unarmed civilians in poor countries in Africa, this is wrong and I will never support nor extol this act as been virtuaous. It is cowardly and what it is doing is attacking the weaker friends of their enemies and claim victory. I hope someday the fragile African Union will come up with a solution to this threat and evil.
Racism: Apartheid in the United States
“HAVE WE not created a new, more modern form of apartheid?” ask criminal justice professors Randall Sheldon and William Brown. They were referring to the startling rates of Black incarceration, but even the staidNew York Times couldn’t avoid a similar conclusion when assessing the recent Supreme Court decision effectively reversing the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling in their June 29 editorial, “Resegregation now.” As the Times put it, “It was a sad day for the court and for the ideal of racial equality.” True, but from the looks of a recent Sentencing Project report and several high-profile criminal justice cases, institutional segregation is on the rise and creating a new Jim Crow reality in the United States.
Nine hundred thousand of the nation’s 2.2 million incarcerated individuals are Black, according to “Uneven justice: State rates of incarceration by race and ethnicity,” the July 2007 Sentencing Project report. If current trends continue, one in three Black males born today will wind up behind bars at some point in their lives. Among the more surprising statistics the report reveals is that racial disparities in sentencing are most egregious in Northeastern and Midwestern states, not in the South. While the national Black-to-white ratio of incarceration is 5.6-to-1; in seven states: Wisconsin, Iowa, Vermont, New Jersey, Connecticut, and North and South Dakotas, the ratio exceeds 10-to-1. Iowa leads the pack, with an incarceration rate that is nearly 14-to-1—this, in a state with a Black population that amounts to just 2.3 percent of the total. In fact, some of the lowest Black-to-white incarceration ratios in the nation, 4-to-1, are in states of the old Confederacy—Georgia, Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas. Not surprisingly, these states with some of the highest Black and white poverty rates also have some of the highest rates of white incarceration.
As Sheldon and Brown conclude in their four-part series, “The new American apartheid” in the online magazine, Black Commentator:
With constant corporate downsizing and deindustrialization during the past couple of decades came the elimination of millions of jobs that previously helped minorities to get out of poverty. Specific social control apparatuses have been deemed necessary to control human frustrations in the aftermath of diminished opportunities. The criminal justice system has been selected as the primary apparatus to apply social control mechanisms on the unskilled, the uneducated, the powerless, and ethnic minorities.
State legislatures and the federal government have disqualified felons (mostly convicted of nonviolent drug crimes) from voting as a further means of marginalizing and stigmatizing the incarcerated. Thirteen percent of Black men are disenfranchised nationally, while in Florida and Alabama a shocking 30 percent or more of Black men have had their right to vote taken away as a result of felony convictions.
The Texas “law of parties,” which allows for the death penalty even when someone does not directly participate in a killing, is another piece of draconian legislation that can be used disproportionately against Blacks. Texas, the only state with this law, has expanded the pool of people eligible for the death penalty through the law of parties in a state where only 12 percent of the population is Black, yet Blacks make up 41 percent of the people on death row. Kenneth Foster Jr., a thirty-year-old Black man, is scheduled to be executed in Texas on August 30, despite the fact that even his prosecutors admit he is innocent of killing anyone. Foster is likely to be put to death for simply having been in the same car as someone he barely knew who, by most accounts, left the vehicle and murdered someone without Foster’s knowledge or participation. Foster is unlikely to receive a last-minute commutation, despite determined efforts by activists and his family, since Texas governor Rick Perry has already exposed his bloodlust by exceeding former Governor George Bush’s execution toll with a record 159 executions—more than any other governor in history.
The “war on drugs” that was initiated under the Reagan administration of the 1980s reversed a previous trend in which white youths had a higher arrest record for drug crimes than Blacks. According to Sheldon and Brown, between 1972 and 1995, there was a more than 400 percent increase in the drug arrest rate for Black youths, who are also more likely to be charged with a felony, instead of a misdemeanor. And while statistics bear out that there is no correlation between drug use and race, it appears that the arrest and incarceration rate of Blacks is largely a result of the fact that authorities find the drugs in poor and minority neighborhoods precisely because that’s where they go hunting for them “rather than, say, on college campuses,” as Sheldon and Brown note.
Ironically, Barack Obama, a Black candidate with a credible chance of winning the Democratic Party nomination for president in 2008, refused to promise the repeal of the racist crack versus powder cocaine sentencing provisions that were condemned more than twenty years ago by the U.S. Sentencing Commission. As it stands now, it takes possession of 100 times more powder cocaine (a largely white drug) to equal the prison sentence for possession of crack cocaine (a largely Black drug). In answer to a question by the Trotter Group of African-American newspaper columnists about the legislation, Obama replied that if he were president he would “support a commission to issue a report ‘that allows me to say that based on the expert evidence, this is not working and it’s unfair and unjust.’” As if what’s needed is more evidence of racial injustice instead of action to confront it.
The institutional racism that pervades American society, however, is not going unrecognized or unchallenged. After years of activists organizing to expose the injustice and racial disparities of the death penalty, the total number of executions in the U.S. dropped again in 2006 to fifty-three, a decline of almost 50 percent in the past seven years since the high point of the 1990s surge in executions. In New Jersey, an independent commission supported abolishing the death penalty because of “increasing evidence that the death penalty is inconsistent with evolving standards of decency,” according to the commission report. Marlene Martin, national director of the Campaign to End the Death Penalty, argues that “The number of abolition and moratorium bills being put forward right now is I’m sure the most ever since reinstatement.”
And there is the case of the Jena Six (see interview in this issue), in which white high school students last year went unpunished for hanging nooses from a tree, beating up a Black student, and brandishing a gun at two others; while six Black students now face decades in prison for a school fight that ended in scratches and bruises. Yet, in spite of the minimal corporate media coverage this case has received so far, more than 60,000 people have petitioned Governor Kathleen Blanco to dismiss the charges, and 300 antiracists marched through this Louisiana town of 2,500 in July. It’s a testament to the divide between official apartheid policy and the consciousness of many ordinary Americans that tens of thousands have come forward to organize against this kind of Jim Crow justice.
Shamocracy - Not!
Democracy's Inner Working Core
Sometime the word, Democracy is bandied around as if it means one thing, say, voting/or elections. Yet, this is part of the many activities that performed by societies which are made of numerous other organizations, associations, and so forth, and in this seemingly chaotic situation, that is what we have to work with in order to have a fully functional, if ever there was one, a democratical societies.
Anyway, I have added the piece below to give the reader the historical genesis, depth and breadth of the role democratic society in a very much differentiated society(ies). Edward Bernays Titled the Article below::
"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.
Our invisible governors are, in many cases, unaware of the identity of their fellow members in the inner cabinet.
They govern us by their qualities of natural leadership, their ability to supply needed ideas and by their key position in the social structure. Whatever attitude one chooses to take toward this condition, it remains a fact that 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—a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty million—who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.
It is not usually realized how necessary these invisible governors are to the orderly functioning of our group life. In theory, every citizen may vote for whom he pleases. Our Constitution does not envisage political parties as part of the mechanism of government, and its framers seem not to have pictured to themselves the existence in our national politics of anything like the modern political machine. But the American voters soon found that without organization and direction their individual votes, cast, perhaps, for dozens or hundreds of candidates, would produce nothing but confusion. Invisible government, in the shape of rudimentary political parties, arose almost overnight. Ever since then we have agreed, for the sake of simplicity and practicality, that party machines should narrow down the field of choice to two candidates, or at most three or four.
In theory, every citizen makes up his mind on public questions and matters of private conduct. In practice, if all men had to study for themselves the abstruse economic, political, and ethical data involved in every question, they would find it impossible to come to a conclusion about anything. We have voluntarily agreed to let an invisible government sift the data and high-spot the outstanding issues so that our field of choice shall be narrowed to practical proportions. From our leaders and the media they use to reach the public, we accept the evidence and the demarcation of issues bearing upon public questions; from some ethical teacher, be it a minister, a favorite essayist, or merely prevailing opinion, we accept a standardized code of social conduct to which we conform most of the time.
In theory, everybody buys the best and cheapest commodities offered him on the market. In practice, if every one went around pricing, and chemically testing before purchasing, the dozens of soaps or fabrics or brands of bread which are for sale, economic life would become hopelessly jammed. To avoid such confusion, society consents to have its choice narrowed to ideas and objects brought to its attention through propaganda of all kinds. There is consequently a vast and continuous effort going on to capture our minds in the interest of some policy or commodity or idea.
It might be better to have, instead of propaganda and special pleading, committees of wise men who would choose our rulers, dictate our conduct, private and public, and decide upon the best types of clothes for us to wear and the best kinds of food for us to eat. But we have chosen the opposite method, that of open competition. We must find a way to make free competition function with reasonable smoothness. To achieve this society has consented to permit free competition to be organized by leadership and propaganda.
Some of the phenomena of this process are criticized—the manipulation of news, the inflation of personality, and the general ballyhoo by which politicians and commercial products and social ideas are brought to the consciousness of the masses. The instruments by which public opinion is organized and focused may be misused. But such organization and focusing are necessary to orderly life.
As civilization has become more complex, and as the need for invisible government has been increas ingly demonstrated, the technical means have been invented and developed by which opinion may be regimented.
With the printing press and the newspaper, the railroad, the telephone, telegraph, radio and airplanes, ideas can be spread rapidly and even instantaneously over the whole of America.
H. G. Wells senses the vast potentialities of these inventions when he writes in the New York Times:
"Modern means of communication—the power afforded by print, telephone, wireless and so forth, of rapidly putting through directive strategic or technical conceptions to a great number of cooperating centers, of getting quick replies and effective discussion—have opened up a new world of political processes. Ideas and phrases can now be given an effectiveness greater than the effectiveness of any personality and stronger than any sectional interest. The common design can be documented and sustained against perversion and betrayal. It can be elaborated and developed steadily and widely without personal, local and sectional misunderstanding."
What Mr. Wells says of political processes is equally true of commercial and social processes and all manifestations of mass activity. The groupings and affiliations of society to-day are no longer subject to "local and sectional" limitations. When the Constitution was adopted, the unit of organization was the village community, which produced the greater part of its own necessary commodities and generated its group ideas and opinions by personal contact and discussion directly among its citizens. But to-day, because ideas can be instantaneously transmitted to any distance and to any number of people, this geographical integration has been supplemented by many other kinds of grouping, so that persons having the same ideas and interests may be associated and regimented for common action even though they live thousands of miles apart.
It is extremely difficult to realize how many and diverse are these cleavages in our society. They may be social, political, economic, racial, religious or ethical, with hundreds of subdivisions of each. In the World Almanac, for example, the following groups are listed under the A's:
The League to Abolish Capital Punishment; Association to Abolish War; American Institute of Accountants; Actors' Equity Association; Actuarial Association of America; International Advertising Association; National Aeronautic Association; Albany Institute of History and Art; Amen Corner; American Academy in Rome; American Antiquarian Society; League for American Citizenship; American Federation of Labor; Amorc (Rosicrucian Order); Andiron Club; American-Irish Historical Association; Anti-Cigarette League; Anti-Profanity League; Archeological Association of America; National Archery Association; Arion Singing Society; American Astronomical Association; Ayrshire Breeders' Association; Aztec Club of 1847. There are many more under the "A" section of this very limited list.
The American Newspaper Annual and Directory for 1928 lists 22,128 periodical publications in America. I have selected at random the N's published in Chicago. They are:
Narod (Bohemian daily newspaper); Narod-Polski (Polish monthly); N.A.R.D. (pharmaceutical); National Corporation Reporter; National Culinary Progress (for hotel chefs); National Dog Journal; National Drug Clerk; National Engineer; National Grocer; National Hotel Reporter; National Income Tax Magazine; National Jeweler; National Journal of Chiropractic; National Livestock Producer; National Miller; National Nut News; National Poultry, Butter and Egg Bulletin; National Provisioner (for meat packers); National Real Estate Journal; National Retail Clothier; National Retail Lumber Dealer; National Safety News; National Spiritualist; National Underwriter; The Nation's Health; Naujienos (Lithuanian daily newspaper); Newcomer (Republican weekly for Italians); Daily News; The New World (Catholic weekly); North American Banker; North American Veterinarian.
The circulation of some of these publications is astonishing. The National Live Stock Producer has a sworn circulation of 155,978; The National Engineer, of 20,328; The New World, an estimated circulation of 67,000. The greater number of the periodicals listed—chosen at random from among 22,128—have a circulation in excess of 10,000.
The diversity of these publications is evident at a glance. Yet they can only faintly suggest the multitude of cleavages which exist in our society, and along which flow information and opinion carrying authority to the individual groups.
Here are the conventions scheduled for Cleveland, Ohio, recorded in a single recent issue of "World Convention Dates"—a fraction of the 5,500 conventions and rallies scheduled.
The Employing Photo-Engravers' Association of America; The Outdoor Writers' Association; the Knights of St. John; the Walther League; The National Knitted Outerwear Association; The Knights of St. Joseph; The Royal Order of Sphinx; The Mortgage Bankers' Association; The International Association of Public Employment Officials; The Kiwanis Clubs of Ohio; The American Photo-Engravers' Association; The Cleveland Auto Manufacturers Show; The American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers.
Other conventions to be held in 1928 were those of:
The Association of Limb Manufacturers' Associations; The National Circus Fans' Association of America; The American Naturopathic Association; The American Trap Shooting Association; The Texas Folklore Association; The Hotel Greeters; The Fox Breeders' Association; The Insecticide and Disinfectant Association; The National Association of Egg Case and Egg Case Filler Manufacturers; The American Bottlers of Carbonated Beverages; and The National Pickle Packers' Association, not to mention the Terrapin Derby—most of them with banquets and orations attached.
If all these thousands of formal organizations and institutions could be listed (and no complete list has ever been made), they would still represent but a part of those existing less formally but leading vigorous lives. Ideas are sifted and opinions stereotyped in the neighborhood bridge club. Leaders assert their authority through community drives and amateur theatricals. Thousands of women may unconsciously belong to a sorority which follows the fashions set by a single society leader.
"Life" satirically expresses this idea in the reply which it represents an American as giving to the Britisher who praises this country for having no upper and lower classes or castes:
"Yeah, all we have is the Four Hundred, the White-Collar Men, Bootleggers, Wall Street Barons, Criminals, the D.A.R., the K.K.K., the Colonial Dames, the Masons, Kiwanis and Rotarians, the K. of C, the Elks, the Censors, the Cognoscenti, the Morons, Heroes like Lindy, the W.C.T.U., Politicians, Menckenites, the Booboisie, Immigrants, Broadcasters, and—the Rich and Poor."
Yet it must be remembered that these thousands of groups interlace. John Jones, besides being a Rotarian, is member of a church, of a fraternal order, of a political party, of a charitable organization, of a professional association, of a local chamber of commerce, of a league for or against prohibition or of a society for or against lowering the tariff, and of a golf club. The opinions which he receives as a Rotarian, he will tend to disseminate in the other groups in which he may have influence.
This invisible, intertwining structure of groupings and associations is the mechanism by which democracy has organized its group mind and simplified its mass thinking. To deplore the existence of such a mechanism is to ask for a society such as never was and never will be. To admit that it easts, but expect that it shall not be used, is unreasonable.
Emil Ludwig represents Napoleon as "ever on the watch for indications of public opinion; always listening to the voice of the people, a voice which defies calculation. 'Do you know,' he said in those days, 'what amazes me more than all else? The impotence of force to organize anything.'"
This is a very important point because Bernays gives us a glimpse into the world of those who control and sway the way people think about various things including democracy. What I am saying is that Bernays talks about the mechanism which controls the public minds, and how it is manipulated by professional Public Relations pros who seek to create public acceptance for a particular idea or commodity(we say it's either an advert or commercial). This also give us a glimpse as to how democracy is tossed and turned, twisted and spun to get some desired effects/affects or results. We learn this much from Bernays who informs us thusly:
"IN the days when kings were kings, Louis XIV made his modest remark, "L'Etat c'est moi." He was nearly right.
But times have changed. The steam engine, the multiple press, and the public school, that trio of the industrial revolution, have taken the power away from kings and given it to the people. The people actually gained power which the king lost For economic power tends to draw after it political power; and the history of the industrial revolution shows how that power passed from the king and the aristocracy to the bourgeoisie. Universal suffrage and universal schooling reinforced this tendency, and at last even the bourgeoisie stood in fear of the common people. For the masses promised to become king.
To-day, however, a reaction has set in. The minority has discovered a powerful help in influencing majorities. It has been found possible so to mold the mind of the masses that they will throw their newly gained strength in the desired direction. In the present structure of society, this practice is inevitable. Whatever of social importance is done to-day, whether in politics, finance, manufacture, agriculture, charity, education, or other fields, must be done with the help of propaganda. Propaganda is the executive arm of the invisible government
Universal literacy was supposed to educate the common man to control his environment. Once he could read and write he would have a mind fit to rule. So ran the democratic doctrine. But instead of a mind, universal literacy has given him rubber stamps, rubber stamps inked with advertising slogans, with editorials, with published scientific data, with the trivialities of the tabloids and the platitudes of history, but quite innocent of original thought. Each man's rubber stamps are the duplicates of millions of others, so that when those millions are exposed to the same stimuli, all receive identical imprints. It may seem an exaggeration to say that the American public gets most of its ideas in this wholesale fashion. The mechanism by which ideas are disseminated on a large scale is propaganda, in the broad sense of an organized effort to spread a particular belief or doctrine.
I am aware that the word "propaganda" carries to many minds an unpleasant connotation. Yet whether, in any instance, propaganda is good or bad depends upon the merit of the cause urged, and the correctness of the information published.
In itself, the word "propaganda" has certain technical meanings which, like most things in this world, are "neither good nor bad but custom makes them so." I find the word defined in Funk and Wagnalls' Dictionary in four ways:
- "A society of cardinals, the overseers of foreign missions; also the College of the Propaganda at Rome founded by Pope Urban VIII in 1627 for the education of missionary priests; Sacred College de Propaganda Fide.
- "Hence, any institution or scheme for propagating a doctrine or system.
- "Effort directed systematically toward the gaining of public support for an opinion or a course of action.
- "The principles advanced by a propaganda."
The Scientific American, in a recent issue, pleads for the restoration to respectable usage of that "fine old word 'propaganda.'"
"There is no word in the English language," it says, "whose meaning has been so sadly distorted as the word 'propaganda.' The change took place mainly during the late war when the term took on a decidedly sinister complexion.
"If you turn to the Standard Dictionary, you will find that the word was applied to a congregation or society of cardinals for the care and oversight of foreign missions which was instituted at Rome in the year 1627. It was applied also to the College of the Propaganda at Rome that was founded by Pope Urban VIII, for the education of the missionary priests. Hence, in later years the word came to be applied to any institution or scheme for propagating a doctrine or system.
"Judged by this definition, we can see that in its true sense propaganda is a perfectly legitimate form of human activity. Any society, whether it be social, religious or political, which is possessed of certain beliefs, and sets out to make them known, either by the spoken or written words, is practicing propaganda.
"Truth is mighty and must prevail, and if any body of men believe that they have discovered a valuable truth, it is not merely their privilege but their duty to disseminate that truth. If they realize, as they quickly must, that this spreading of the truth can be done upon a large scale and effectively only by organized effort, they will make use of the press and the platform as the best means to give it wide circulation. Propaganda becomes vicious and reprehensive only when its authors consciously and deliberately disseminate what they know to be lies, or when they aim at effects which they know to be prejudicial to the common good.
" 'Propaganda' in its proper meaning is a perfectly wholesome word, of honest parentage, and with an honorable history. The fact that it should to-day be carrying a sinister meaning merely shows how much of the child remains in the average adult. A group of citizens writes and talks in favor of a certain course of action in some debatable question, believing that it is promoting the best interest of the community. Propaganda? Not a bit of it. Just a plain forceful statement of truth. But let another group of citizens express opposing views, and they are promptly labeled with the sinister name of propaganda. . . .
" 'What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,' says a wise old proverb. Let us make haste to put this fine old word back where it belongs, and restore its dignified significance for the use of our children and our children's children."
The extent to which propaganda shapes the progress of affairs about us may surprise even well informed persons. Nevertheless, it is only necessary to look under the surface of the newspaper for a hint as to propaganda's authority over public opinion. Page one of the New York Times on the day these paragraphs are written contains eight important news stories. Four of them, or one-half, are propaganda. The casual reader accepts them as accounts of spontaneous happenings. But are they? Here are the headlines which announce them: "TWELVE NATIONS WARN CHINA REAL REFORM MUST COME BEFORE THEY GIVE RELIEF," "PRITCHETT REPORTS ZIONISM WILL FAIL," "REALTY MEN DEMAND A TRANSIT INQUIRY," and "OUR LIVING STANDARD HIGHEST IN HISTORY, SAYS HOOVER REPORT."
How Information is Propaganized
"Take them in order: the article on China explains the joint report of the Commission on Extraterritoriality in China, presenting an exposition of the Powers' stand in the Chinese muddle. What it says is less important than what it is. It was "made public by the State Department to-day" with the purpose of presenting to the American public a picture of the State Department's position. Its source gives it authority, and the American public tends to accept and support the State Department view.
The report of Dr. Pritchett, a trustee of the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace, is an attempt to find the facts about this Jewish colony in the midst of a restless Arab world. When Dr. Pritchett's survey convinced him that in the long run Zionism would "bring more bitterness and more unhappiness both for the Jew and for the Arab," this point of view was broadcast with all the authority of the Carnegie Foundation, so that the public would hear and believe. The statement by the president of the Real Estate Board of New York, and Secretary Hoover's report, are similar attempts to influence the public toward an opinion.
These examples are not given to create the impression that there is anything sinister about propaganda. They are set down rather to illustrate how conscious direction is given to events, and how the men behind these events influence public opinion. As such they are examples of modern propaganda. At this point we may attempt to define propaganda.
Modern propaganda is a consistent, enduring effort to create or shape events to influence the relations of the public to an enterprise, idea or group.
This practice of creating circumstances and of creating pictures in the minds of millions of persons is very common. Virtually no important undertaking is now carried on without it, whether that enterprise be building a cathedral, endowing a university, marketing a moving picture, floating a large bond issue, or electing a president. Sometimes the effect on the public is created by a professional propagandist, sometimes by an amateur deputed for the job. The important thing is that it is universal and continuous; and in its sum total it is regimenting the public mind every bit as much as an army regiments the bodies of its soldiers.
So vast are the numbers of minds which can be regimented, and so tenacious are they when regimented, that a group at times offers an irresistible pressure before which legislators, editors, and teachers are helpless. The group will cling to its stereotype, as Walter Lippmann calls it, making of those supposedly powerful beings, the leaders of public opinion, mere bits of driftwood in the surf. When an Imperial Wizard, sensing what is perhaps hunger for an ideal, offers a picture of a nation all Nordic and nationalistic, the common man of the older American stock, feeling himself elbowed out of his rightful position and prosperity by the newer immigrant stocks, grasps the picture which fits in so neatly with his prejudices, and makes it his own. He buys the sheet and pillow-case costume, and bands with his fellows by the thousand into a huge group powerful enough to swing state elections and to throw a ponderous monkey wrench into a national convention.
In our present social organization approval of the public is essential to any large undertaking. Hence a laudable movement may be lost unless it impresses itself on the public mind. Charity, as well as business, and politics and literature, for that matter, have had to adopt propaganda, for the public must be regimented into giving money just as it must be regimented into tuberculosis prophylaxis. The Near East Relief, the Association for the Improvement of the Condition of the Poor of New York, and all the rest, have to work on public opinion just as though they had tubes of toothpaste to sell. We are proud of our diminishing infant death rate—and that too is the work of propaganda.
Propaganda does exist on all sides of us, and it does change our mental pictures of the world. Even if this be unduly pessimistic—and that remains to be proved—the opinion reflects a tendency that is undoubtedly real. In fact, its use is growing as its efficiency in gaining public support is recognized. This then, evidently indicates the fact that any one with sufficient influence can lead sections of the public at least for a time and for a given purpose. Formerly the rulers were the leaders. They laid out the course of history, by the simple process of doing what they wanted. And if nowadays the successors of the rulers, those whose position or ability gives them power, can no longer do what they want without the approval of the masses, they find in propaganda a tool which is increasingly powerful in gaining that approval. Therefore, propaganda is here to stay.
It was, of course, the astounding success of propaganda during the war that opened the eyes of the intelligent few in all departments of life to the possibilities of regimenting the public mind. The American government and numerous patriotic agencies developed a technique which, to most persons accustomed to bidding for public acceptance, was new. They not only appealed to the individual by means of every approach—visual, graphic, and auditory—to support the national endeavor, but they also secured the cooperation of the key men in every group —persons whose mere word carried authority to hundreds or thousands or hundreds of thousands of followers. They thus automatically gained the support of fraternal, religious, commercial, patriotic, social and local groups whose members took their opinions from their accustomed leaders and spokesmen, or from the periodical publications which they were accustomed to read and believe. At the same time, the manipulators of patriotic opinion made use of the mental cliches and the emotional habits of the public to produce mass reactions against the alleged atrocities, the terror and the tyranny of the enemy. It was only natural, after the war ended, that intelligent persons should ask themselves whether it was not possible to apply a similar technique to the problems of peace.
As a matter of fact, the practice of propaganda since the war has assumed very different forms from those prevalent twenty years ago. This new technique may fairly be called the new propaganda.
It takes account not merely of the individual, nor even of the mass mind alone, but also and especially of the anatomy of society, with its interlocking group formations and loyalties. It sees the individual not only as a cell in the social organism but as a cell organized into the social unit. Touch a nerve at a sensitive spot and you get an automatic response from certain specific members of the organism.
Business offers graphic examples of the effect that may be produced upon the public by interested groups, such as textile manufacturers losing their markets. This problem arose, not long ago, when the velvet manufacturers were facing ruin because their product had long been out of fashion. Analysis showed that it was impossible to revive a velvet fashion within America. Anatomical hunt for the vital spot! Paris! Obviously! But yes and no. Paris is the home of fashion. Lyons is the home of silk. The attack had to be made at the source. It was determined to substitute purpose for chance and to utilize the regular sources for fashion distribution and to influence the public from these sources. A velvet fashion service, openly supported by the manufacturers, was organized. Its first function was to establish contact with the Lyons manufactories and the Paris couturiers to discover what they were doing, to encourage them to act on behalf of velvet, and to help in the proper exploitation of their wares. An intelligent Parisian was enlisted in the work. He visited Lanvin and Worth, Agnes and Patou, and others and induced them to use velvet in their gowns and hats. It was he who arranged for the distinguished Countess This or Duchess That to wear the hat or the gown. And as for the presentation of the idea to the public, the American buyer or the American woman of fashion was simply shown the velvet creations in the atelier of the dressmaker or the milliner. She bought the velvet because she liked it and because it was in fashion.
The editors of the American magazines and fashion reporters of the American newspapers, likewise subjected to the actual (although created) circumstance, reflected it in their news, which, in turn, subjected the buyer and the consumer here to the same influences. The result was that what was at first a trickle of velvet became a flood. A demand was slowly, but deliberately, created in Paris and America. A big department store, aiming to be a style leader, advertised velvet gowns and hats on the authority of the French couturiers, and quoted original cables received from them. The echo of the new style note was heard from hundreds of department stores throughout the country which wanted to be style leaders too. Bulletins followed despatches. The mail followed the cables. And the American woman traveler appeared before the ship news photographers in velvet gown and hat.
The created circumstances had their effect. "Fickle fashion has veered to velvet," was one newspaper comment. And the industry in the United States again kept thousands busy.
The new propaganda, having regard to the constitution of society as a whole, not infrequently serves to focus and realize the desires of the masses. A desire for a specific reform, however widespread, cannot be translated into action until it is made articulate, and until it has exerted sufficient pressure upon the proper law-making bodies. Millions of housewives may feel that manufactured foods deleterious to health should be prohibited. But there is little chance that their individual desires will be translated into effective legal form unless their halfexpressed demand can be organized, made vocal, and concentrated upon the state legislature or upon the Federal Congress in some mode which will produce the results they desire. Whether they realize it or not, they call upon propaganda to organize and effectuate their demand.
But clearly it is the intelligent minorities which need to make use of propaganda continuously and systematically. In the active proselytizing minorities in whom selfish interests and public interests coincide lie the progress and development of America. Only through the active energy of the intelligent few can the public at large become aware of and act upon new ideas.
Small groups of persons can, and do, make the rest of us think what they please about a given subject. But there are usually proponents and opponents of every propaganda, both of whom are equally eager to convince the majority.
Propaganda And Information
Propaganda Is Not Lying But An Attempt To Put Men Into Action
“An Administrator in a bureaucratic world is a man who can feel big guy by merging his non-entity in an abstraction. A real person in touch with real things inspires terror in him"McLuhan)
We learn further from Bernays that:
" If we set out to make a list of the men and women who, because of their position in public life, might fairly be called the molders of public opinion, we could quickly arrive at an extended list of persons mentioned in "Who's Who." It would obviously include, the President of the United States and the members of his Cabinet; the Senators and Representatives in Congress; the Governors of our fortyeight states; the presidents of the chambers of commerce in our hundred largest cities, the chairmen of the boards of directors of our hundred or more largest industrial corporations, the president of many of the labor unions affiliated in the American Federation of Labor, the national president of each of the national professional and fraternal organizations, the president of each of the racial or language societies in the country, the hundred leading newspaper and magazine editors, the fifty most popular authors, the presidents of the fifty leading charitable organizations, the twenty leading theatrical or cinema producers, the hundred recognized leaders of fashion, the most popular and influential clergymen in the hundred leading cities, the presidents of our colleges and universities and the foremost members of their faculties, the most powerful financiers in Wall Street, the most noted amateurs of sport, and so on. Such a list would comprise several thousand persons. But it is well known that many of these leaders are themselves led, sometimes by persons whose names are known to few. Many a congressman, in framing his platform, follows the suggestions of a district boss whom few persons outside the political machine have ever heard of. Eloquent divines may have great influence in their communities, but often take their doctrines from a higher ecclesiastical authority. The presidents of chambers of commerce mold the thought of local business men concerning public issues, but the opinions which they promulgate are usually derived from some national authority. A presidential candidate may be "drafted" in response to "overwhelming popular demand," but it is well known that his name may be decided upon by half a dozen men sitting around a table in a hotel room.
In some instances the power of invisible wirepullers is flagrant. The power of the invisible cabinet which deliberated at the poker table in a certain little green house in Washington has become a national legend. There was a period in which the major policies of the national government were dictated by a single man, Mark Hanna. A Simmons may, for a few years, succeed in marshaling millions of men on a platform of intolerance and violence.
Such persons typify in the public mind the type of ruler associated with the phrase invisible government. But we do not often stop to think that there are dictators in other fields whose influence is just as decisive as that of the politicians I have mentioned. An Irene Castle can establish the fashion of short hair which dominates nine-tenths of the women who make any pretense to being fashionable. Paris fashion leaders set the mode of the short skirt, for wearing which, twenty years ago, any woman would simply have been arrested and thrown into jail by the New York police, and the entire women's clothing industry, capitalized at hundreds of millions of dollars, must be reorganized to conform to their dictum.
There are invisible rulers who control the destinies of millions. It is not generally realized to what extent the words and actions of our most influential public men are dictated by shrewd persons operating behind the scenes.
Nor, what is still more important, the extent to which our thoughts and habits are modified by authorities.
In some departments of our daily life, in which we imagine ourselves free agents, we are ruled by dictators exercising great power. A man buying a suit of clothes imagines that he is choosing, according to his taste and his personality, the kind of garment which he prefers. In reality, he may be obeying the orders of an anonymous gentleman tailor in London. This personage is the silent partner in a modest tailoring establishment, which is patronized by gentlemen of fashion and princes of the blood. He suggests to British noblemen and others a blue cloth instead of gray, two buttons instead of three, or sleeves a quarter of an inch narrower than last season. The distinguished customer approves of the idea.
But how does this fact affect John Smith of Topeka?
The gentleman tailor is under contract with a certain large American firm, which manufactures men's suits, to send them instantly the designs of the suits chosen by the leaders of London fashion. Upon receiving the designs, with specifications as to color, weight and texture, the firm immediately places an order with the cloth makers for several hundred thousand dollars' worth of cloth. The suits made up according to the specifications are then advertised as the latest fashion. The fashionable men in New York, Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia wear them. And the Topeka man, recognizing this leadership, does the same.
Women are just as subject to the commands of invisible government as are men. A silk manufacturer, seeking a new market for its product, suggested to a large manufacturer of shoes that women's shoes should be covered with silk to match their dresses. The idea was adopted and systematically propagandized. A popular actress was persuaded to wear the shoes. The fashion spread. The shoe firm was ready with the supply to meet the created demand. And the silk company was ready with the silk for more shoes.
The man who injected this idea into the shoe industry was ruling women in one department of their social lives. Different men rule us in the various departments of our lives. There may be one power behind the throne in politics, another in the manipulation of the Federal discount rate, and still another in the dictation of next season's dances. If there were a national invisible cabinet ruling our destinies (a thing which is not impossible to conceive of) it would work through certain group leaders on Tuesday for one purpose, and through an entirely different set on Wednesday for another. The idea of invisible government is relative. There may be a handful of men who control the educational methods of the great majority of our schools. Yet from another standpoint, every parent is a group leader with authority over his or her children.
The invisible government tends to be concentrated in the hands of the few because of the expense of manipulating the social machinery which controls the opinions and habits of the masses. To advertise on a scale which will reach fifty million persons is expensive. To reach and persuade the group leaders who dictate the public's thoughts and actions is likewise expensive.
For this reason there is an increasing tendency to concentrate the functions of propaganda in the hands of the propaganda specialist. This specialist is more and more assuming a distinct place and function in our national life.
New activities call for new nomenclature. The propagandist who specializes in interpreting enterprises and ideas to the public, and in interpreting the public to promulgators of new enterprises and ideas, has come to be known by the name of "public relations counsel."
The new profession of public relations has grown up because of the increasing complexity of modern life and the consequent necessity for making the actions of one part of the public understandable to other sectors of the public. It is due, too, to the increasing dependence of organized power of all sorts upon public opinion. Governments, whether they are monarchical, constitutional, democratic or communist, depend upon acquiescent public opinion for the success of their efforts and, in fact, government is only government by virtue of public acquiescence. Industries, public utilities, educational movements, indeed all groups representing any concept or product, whether they are majority or minority ideas, succeed only because of approving public opinion. Public opinion is the unacknowledged partner in all broad efforts.
The public relations counsel, then, is the agent who, working with modern media of communication and the group formations of society, brings an idea to the consciousness of the public. But he is a great deal more than that. He is concerned with courses of action, doctrines, systems and opinions, and the securing of public support for them. He is also concerned with tangible things such as manufactured and raw products. He is concerned with public utilities, with large trade groups and associations representing entire industries.
He functions primarily as an adviser to his client, very much as a lawyer does. A lawyer concentrates on the legal aspects of his client's business. A counsel on public relations concentrates on the public contacts of his client's business. Every phase of his client's ideas, products or activities which may affect the public or in which the public may have an interest is part of his function.
For instance, in the specific problems of the manufacturer he examines the product, the markets, the way in which the public reacts to the product, the attitude of the employees to the public and towards the product, and the cooperation of the distribution agencies.
The counsel on public relations, after he has examined all these and other factors, endeavors to shape the actions of his client so that they will gain the interest, the approval and the acceptance of the public.
The means by which the public is apprised of the actions of his client are as varied as the means of communication themselves, such as conversation, letters, the stage, the motion picture, the radio, the lecture platform, the magazine, the daily newspaper. The counsel on public relations is not an advertising man but he advocates advertising where that is indicated. Very often he is called in by an advertising agency to supplement its work on behalf of a client. His work and that of the advertising agency do not conflict with or duplicate each other.
His first efforts are, naturally, devoted to analyzing his client's problems and making sure that what he has to offer the public is something which the public accepts or can be brought to accept. It is futile to attempt to sell an idea or to prepare the ground for a product that is basically unsound.
For example, an orphan asylum is worried by a falling off in contributions and a puzzling attitude of indifference or hostility on the part of the public. The counsel on public relations may discover upon analysis that the public, alive to modern sociological trends, subconsciously criticizes the institution because it is not organized on the new "cottage plan." He will advise modification of the client in this respect. Or a railroad may be urged to put on a fast train for the sake of the prestige which it will lend to the road's name, and hence to its stocks and bonds.
If the corset makers, for instance, wished to bring their product into fashion again, he would unquestionably advise that the plan was impossible, since women have definitely emancipated themselves from the old-style corset. Yet his fashion advisers might report that women might be persuaded to adopt a certain type of girdle which eliminated the unhealthful features of the corset.
His next effort is to analyze his public. He studies the groups which must be reached, and the leaders through whom he may approach these groups. Social groups, economic groups, geographical groups, age groups, doctrinal groups, language groups, cultural groups, all these represent the divisions through which, on behalf of his client, he may talk to the public.
Only after this double analysis has been made and the results collated, has the time come for the next step, the formulation of policies governing the general practice, procedure and habits of the client in all those aspects in which he comes in contact with the public. And only when these policies have been agreed upon is it time for the fourth step.
The first recognition of the distinct functions of the public relations counsel arose, perhaps, in the early years of the present century as a result of the insurance scandals coincident with the muck-raking of corporate finance in the popular magazines. The interests thus attacked suddenly realized that they were completely out of touch with the public they were professing to serve, and required expert advice to show them how they could understand the public and interpret themselves to it.
The Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, prompted by the most fundamental self-interest, initiated a conscious, directed effort to change the attitude of the public toward insurance companies in general, and toward itself in particular, to its profit and the public's benefit.
It tried to make a majority movement of itself by getting the public to buy its policies. It reached the public at every point of its corporate and separate existences. To communities it gave health surveys and expert counsel. To individuals it gave health creeds and advice. Even the building in which the corporation was located was made a picturesque landmark to see and remember, in other words to carry on the associative process. And so this company came to have a broad general acceptance. The number and amount of its policies grew constantly, as its broad contacts with society increased.
Within a decade, many large corporations were employing public relations counsel under one title or another, for they had come to recognize that they depended upon public good will for their continued prosperity. It was no longer true that it was "none of the public's business" how the affairs of a corporation were managed. They were obliged to convince the public that they were conforming to its demands as to honesty and fairness. Thus a corporation might discover that its labor policy was causing public resentment, and might introduce a more enlightened policy solely for the sake of general good will. Or a department store, hunting for the cause of diminishing sales, might discover that its clerks had a reputation for bad manners, and initiate formal instruction in courtesy and tact.
The public relations expert may be known as public relations director or counsel. Often he is called secretary or vice-president or director. Sometimes he is known as cabinet officer or commissioner. By whatever title he may be called, his function is well defined and his advice has definite bearing on