are the hostages of TNCs economic power
People are the victims of 'top-down manufacturing consent' meme
revision of the Family Education model thus becomes mandatory
efficiency of today's western Democracies can be summarized by one sentence:
"top-down policies with a bottom-up origin are the only ones that function
this standpoint, Rossin focuses on the "bottom-up" origin of policies.
It shall be preserved by both the EU Constitution and by I&R campaigning.
Hence the possibility arises for DEMOCRACY Movements to find ways of expressing
Direct Democratic ideas and Practices both in the New European Parliament
and among the people, in due co-operation.
Still, two main obstacles conspire to upset any bottom-up origin of the
politicians have become the hostages of TNCs economic power, so they apply
marketing technologies of consent-manufacturing and opinion-making to
change peoples' minds according to the demands of economic power. (For
how to fix this problem see: http://www.simpol.org
educational agenda, according to the party in office, conditions the people
so they become the passive victims of top-down manipulation of consent,
from the earliest language learning onwards. Hence a deep revision of
family language patterning becomes necessary, to spot and remove the tools
that prevent future citizens from any aware-active sharing-in to develop
and participate in the policies that should instead have a bottom-up origin
(on this topic see: http://www.flexible-learning.org
are the hostages of TNCs economic power
subject has been brilliantly explained by John Bunzl, the founder of ISPO
(International Simultaneous Policy Organisation). "Simultaneous Policies"
stands for a radically innovative approach to solving problems of corporate
globalisation that offers win-win solutions for voters, civil society
activists and politicians.
This is how J. Bunzl exposes the problem (more on this subject at the
ISPO web site http://www.simpol.org
Hundreds of thousands of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) are said
to be at work throughout the world addressing the inequalities created
by corporate-friendly economic policies. Through activities based on
cooperation and sustainability they seek to provide solutions to problems
of human poverty and environmental degradation. And millions share with
them unexpressed concerns about the ways in which globalisation enriches
the few at the expense of the many.
By contrast, business leaders claim "there is no alternative" to profit-based
pursuits based on competition. For them it is self-evident that growth
is beneficial because of the productive wealth it creates. But corporations
have to grow because they cannot afford to lose ground against their
competitors for fear of reduced profits and, ultimately, the threat
of unwelcome takeovers. And nations are forced to compete with one another,
to remain relatively more attractive to globally mobile capital and
trans-national corporations for fear of investment and employment moving
elsewhere. Thus politicians have wholly inadequate margins within which
to enact policies that protect society and the environment, making voters
increasingly aware that democracy is being subverted as globalisation
the Vicious Circle be Broken?
The clash between street demonstrators and police in Seattle in December
1999 was the first widely visible flash-point between the concepts of
economically sustainable democratic cooperation, and socially and environmentally
destructive globalised competition. In January 2001, the first meeting
of the World Social Forum in Porto-Alegre, Brazil became a focus for
CSO-based movements pressing for change, thus creating a new institutional
platform for promoting economic and social alternatives. Meanwhile,
recognition and concern that globalisation is failing to deliver benefits
to the poor is also growing even amongst its most ardent promoters.
Sadly, however, CSOs haven't responded to this significant change of
mood by speaking with one voice. A few favour continued confrontation
and the creation of global people-power. Others stress the need for
local answers to local problems, and the painstaking creation of a democratic
framework strong enough in its diversity to withstand attempted returns
to global domination.
inevitably, the question: How?
The Simultaneous Policy (SP) proposes a challenging answer:
The International Simultaneous Policy Organisation (ISPO) invites voters,
CSO activists and politicians to assent, by consensus, to a world policy
for achieving global cooperation consisting of a range of measures to
be implemented by all nations simultaneously. The key part of this bold
initiative is re-regulation of global financial markets and transnational
corporations such that genuine democracy can be restored to nation states,
to be followed by complementary policies that emerge as the campaign
gathers pace through active participation by those who sign on. ISPO
is encouraging discussion of policies by various means, including an
e-mail list devoted to that purpose.
additionally offers its adherents several completely new win-win options:
can express dissatisfaction with global inequalities,and participate
in a demand for policy change, merely by posting a letter or sending
an e-mail to register their endorsement of SP.
can 'beat the system' by endorsing SP and by creating or joining local
SP campaign groups which threaten to vote only for those parliamentary
representatives who also endorse SP. They can thereby replace their
previous passive or ambivalent function in national politics with
direct influence over policy choices.
politicians can demonstrate their willingness to move on from left/centre/right
party politics, but retain voters' support by their successes in joining
with other nations in out-manoeuvring transnational corporations and
thus preserving hard-won civil liberties without risking the national
who endorse SP can continue to pursue their existing priorities; but,
through the variety of their concerns and growing international outreach,
can become awareness creating think-tanks or pressure groups which
constantly remind national politicians that top-down policies with
bottom-up origins are the only ones that function effectively. "
far John Bunzl of ISPO. Only one problem remains unsolved: how to get
a sufficient amount of people to adopt SP. Adoption only requires individual
awareness of what the responsible participation into the collective values
of democracy stand for. Individuals, the people indeed, seem reluctant
to directly control, awarely and responsibly, their consent - finally,
their votes - in order to perform the more basic and mandatory of all
the "policies with a bottom-up origin": namely, SP. It looks like the
people are unable to decide by themselves and are instead waiting for
their decisions to be led, i.e. controlled, "top-down" by the establishment
authorities in office: just those politicians, opinion-makers and such
"manufacturers of consent" who are the main obstacle to Participatory
Democracy. Another vicious circle has to be broken, then, if we really
want 'bottom-up Democracy' to succeed.. On that account, let's now see
how the people's dependence on the authority consent may have happened
-- and still happens -- in time.
People are the victims of 'top-down manufacturing consent' meme
genuine bottom-up origin of collective policies is actually banned because
the people behave as the victims of the "top-down manufactured consent
and propaganda" political way, acting and propagating itself as a meme.
Indeed, the so-called "people's wish" is fixated by careful propaganda
and opinion making, managed to drive the people to comply with the elitist
wish of the so-called "specialized class" and the powerholders establishment,
by means of the mass media.
how this meme presents itself, I take some quotes from Noam Chomsky's
writing "Media Control", MIT, March 17, 1991, excerpted from the
Alternative Press Review, Fall 1993. Chomsky exposes:
Let me begin by counter-posing two different conceptions of democracy.
One conception of democracy has it that a democratic society is one
in which the public has the means to participate in some meaningful
way in the management of their own affairs and the means of information
are open and free....
An alternative conception of democracy is that the public must be barred
from managing of their own affairs and the means of information must
be kept narrowly and rigidly controlled. That may sound like an odd
conception of democracy, but it's important to understand that it is
the prevailing conception....
Wilson administration established a government propaganda commission,
called the Creel Commission, which succeeded, within six months, in
turning a pacifist population into a hysterical, war-mongering population
which wanted to destroy everything German, tear the Germans limb from
limb, go to war and save the world.
That was a major achievement, and it led to a further achievement. Right
at that time and after the war the same techniques were used to whip
up a hysterical Red Scare, as it was called, which succeeded pretty
much in destroying unions and eliminating such dangerous problems as
freedom of the press and freedom of political thought. There was very
strong support from the media, from the business establishment, which
in fact organized, pushed much of this work, and it was in general a
Among those who participated actively and enthusiastically were the
progressive intellectuals, people of the John Dewey circle, who took
great pride, as you can see from their own writings at the time, in
having shown that what they called the "more intelligent members of
the community," namely themselves, were able to drive a reluctant population
into a war by terrifying them and eliciting jingoist fanaticism. The
means that were used were extensive. For example, there was a good deal
of fabrication of atrocities by the Huns, Belgian babies with their
arms torn off, all sorts of awful things that you still read in history
books. They were all invented by the British propaganda ministry, whose
own committment at the time, as they put it in their secret deliberations,
was "to control the thought of the world." But more crucially they wanted
to control the thought of the more intelligent members of the community
in the U.S., who would then disseminate the propaganda that they were
concocting and convert the pacifist country to wartime hysteria. That
worked. It worked very well. And it taught a lesson: State propaganda,
when supported by the educated classes and when no deviation is permitted
from it, can have a big effect. It was a lesson learned by Hitler and
many others, and it has been pursued to this day.
...Walter Lippman, who was the dean of American journalists, a major
foreign and domestic policy critic and also a major theorist of liberal
democracy... argued that what he called a "revolution in the art
of democracy," could be used to "manufacture consent," that
is, to bring about agreement on the part of the public for things that
they didn't want by the new techniques of propaganda....
...He argued that in a properly-functioning democracy there are classes
of citizens. There is first of all the class of citizens who have to
take some active role in running general affairs. That's the specialized
class. They are the people who analyze, execute, make decisions,
and run things in the political, economic, and ideological systems.
That's a small percentage of the population... Those others, who are
out of the small group, the big majority of the population, they are
what Lippman called "the bewildered herd": 'We have to
protect ourselves from the trampling and rage of the bewildered herd...
...So we need something to tame the bewildered herd, and that something
is this new revolution in the art of democracy: the "manufacture of
consent.' The media, the schools, and popular culture have to be
divided. For the political class and the decision makers have to give
them some tolerable sense of reality, although they also have to instill
the proper beliefs. Just remember, there is an unstated premise here.
The unstated premise has to do with the question of how they get into
the position where they have the authority to make decisions. The way
they do that, of course, is by serving people with real power. The people
with real power are the ones who own the society, which is a pretty
narrow group. If the specialized class can come along and say, I can
serve your interests, then they'll be part of the executive group. You've
got to keep that quiet. That means they have to have instilled in them
the beliefs and doctrines that will serve the interests of private power.
Unless they can master that skill, they're not part of the specialized
class. They have to be deeply indoctrinated in the values and interests
of private power and the state-corporate nexus that represents it. If
they can get through that, then they can be part of the specialized
class. The rest of the bewildered herd just have to be basically distracted:
'Turn their attention to something else... In what is nowadays called
a totalitarian state, then a military state, it's easy. You just hold
a bludgeon over their heads, and if they get out of line you smash them
over the head. But as society has become more free and democratic, you
lose that capacity. Therefore you have to turn to the techniques of
propaganda. The logic is clear. Propaganda is to democracy what the
bludgeon is to a totalitarian state....'
The U.S. pioneered the public relations industry. Its committment was
to "control the public mind," as its leaders put it. They learned a
lot from the successes of the Creel Commission and the success in creating
the Red Scare and its aftermath. The public relations industry underwent
a huge expansion at that time. It succeeded for some time in creating
almost total subordination of the public to business rule through the
1920s. Public relations is a huge industry. They're spending by now
something on the order of a billion dollars a year. All along its committment
was to controlling the public mind... The corporate executive and the
guy who cleans the floor all have the same interests. We can all work
together and work for Americanism in harmony, liking each other. That
was essentially the message. A huge amount of effort was put into presenting
it. This is, after all, the business community, so they control the
media and have massive resources... That's the ideal. Great efforts
are made in trying to achieve that ideal. Obviously, there is a certain
conception behind it. The conception of democracy is the one that I
mentioned. The bewildered herd is a problem. We've got to prevent their
rage and trampling. We've got to distract them. They should be watching
the Superbowl or sitcoms or violent movies. Every once in a while you
call on them to chant meaningless slogans like "Support our troops…"
You've got to keep them pretty scared, because "unless they're properly
scared and frightened of all kinds of devils that are going to destroy
them from outside or inside or somewhere, they may start to think, which
is very dangerous, because they're not competent to think. Therefore
it's important to distract them and marginalize them… "
far from Noam Chomsky's analysis of 'The Democracy of the propaganda'.
Any way, the successful efforts made by the power-holding elite in order
to manipulate the people's consent, driving the latter to support a political
agenda decided and originated top-down, are in common evidence. In particular,
the people have got to be kept away from any active aware participation
of their own in the phase of deciding or discussing policies.
Within this politically pervasive reality, politicians and governmental
officials are reasonably expected to allow no way for the people's initiatives
and policies with a bottom-up origin. Democratic efforts like the I&R
seem destined to get official support provided only the issued subjects
are compatible with the desires of the powerholders' establishment.
Therefore, there is very little or no probability that the people can
be encouraged and supported by the establishment to improve their active
aware sharing-in attitude -- which seems to be a pre-requisite to get
policies with a bottom-up origin. Also many parties and movements that
boast they're in favour of "Direct Democracy" seem to apply to the same
tools of propaganda and manipulation of consent to get their public into
agreement. The people that once were called the 'bewildered herd', now,
after having been successfully tamed for decades, have become a 'benighted
herd', indifferent and reluctant to take any active aware position as
regards either the policies being enacted top-down in favour of the powerholder
elite, or those in favour of the people themselves such as the social
policies - SP included - that come grassroots bottom-up to answer the
real necessities of humankind and the environment.
revision of the Family Education model thus becomes mandatory
those who base their social and institutional positions on the consent
of the populace, will not admit even that their supporters may behave
like "benighed herd". Conversely, they are very likely to apply the same
propaganda and manufacture-of-consent tools to increase their public's
support. Thus, no initiative aiming to awaken the benighted herd can be
reasonably expected from the top-down side of society. So let's see what
can be done from the bottom-up side in order to increase the development
of an active, aware, responsible and participatory personality amongst
people generally, by defeating the "benighted herd" meme.
happens inside the human brain in order to develop the individual's personality
- the citizen's future style of life -- is already well known. For one,
suffice it to remember the nobel laureat, Rita L.Montalcini. Her findings
show that, at about two years age, the brain possesses the greatest number
of nervous connections. Immediately after that, very soon a sudden reabsorption
process of the supernumerary connections takes place, leading to what
will be the individual's ultimate brain structure. Of course, all of that
happens under family cultural feed-back.
The question arises now, and the solution of our problem follows as well,
about how to spot the family feed-back parameters that may incline the
individual's future personality either towards the "benighted herd" or
the aware responsible participatory -- in one word, "flexible" -- end
of our social continuum.
of my studies, I've found two couples of these "either-or" parameters:
speaking either first or second to the child, and:
Parents either discussing their opposite opinions (if any) in front
of the child, or hiding any dialectical confrontation thereby showing
consent only to the latter.
course, the model which I suggest to you, and which I applied to my children's
family education, it is the "parents speaking second" and "showing the
child dialectic discussion" one. However, I do not want to deepen the
analysis of these feed-back parameters here, because the whole matter
has been copiously exposed in a dedicated web site, http://www.flexible-learning.org
I want to bring to light, any way, it is that there is no parent anywhere
in the world who knows about the practicable existence of the above parameters.
Also, out of everybody's evidence, the "parents speaking first and hiding
dialectic confrontation to the child" family education model seems to
be the paragon worldwide. This meme explains why the people are so reluctant
to originate policies bottom-up, eg. those which ISPO is about, but they
fall down as the unaware victims of the top-down propaganda and manufacture
of consent, as Chomsky so aptly pointed out as.
of this also explains why I am campaigning, now and before, for the due
information to be provided to parents all over the world, since the Family
is the moulding pot where the responsive citizen -- the main actor of
our collective building -- is expected to come from, bottom-up, towards