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Hague fugitive George W Bush was trending yesterday [10/19/2017] after drawing accolades from amnesiac liberals everywhere for a speech he gave condemning Trumpism and Russia. The DNC has just held a surprise purge of progressives from its ranks, replacing them with reliably corrupt establishment stalwarts like Donna Brazile. Bernie Sanders has bowed out of his scheduled Women's Conference speech following outraged cries of sexism from fake feminists and demands that he be replaced with a drone-bombing, Wall Street-coddling female politician like Hillary Clinton.
Get used to this. This is the new normal.
Two years ago journalist Max Blumenthal predicted that "Trump's true role is expanding political space on the far-right, making the militarists and racists who roundly condemn him seem moderate," and we see today that this is exactly how he's being used. After their failed attempt to use Trump's far-right following to make his fanatically neoconservative opponent look electable in 2016, they simply shifted to using the exact same tactic for 2020. This is less about getting a more presentable face in the White House than it is about herding rank-and-file Americans into supporting the neoliberal neoconservative power structure represented by what is hilariously known as America's political "center".
The amount of success they've been having in paralyzing the left with this tactic means that you will only see more of this going forward. Big scary boogiemen like Trump will be used to frighten mainstream America into the arms of the "centrists", who will magnanimously offer protection from racism, sexism, and an assortment of bigoted-phobias in exchange for allegiance to the US war machine and rapacious plutocratic exploitation. Anyone who refuses to play along with this manipulation will be accused of bigotry and privilege in various ways.
This will happen. It won't be blatant, it won't be sudden, and it won't happen in any uniform way, but it will happen. In various ways, everyone to the left of John McCain will be guilted, manipulated and bullied into supporting the warmongering, CIA-loving, corporate crony McCarthyist establishment faction of the Democratic party.
And, unless something huge changes very soon in the way people look at these things, enough of them will buy it. Even many well-meaning individuals on the far left who are aware they're being manipulated will get snagged on some aspect of the relentless deluge of propaganda eventually; if they're not sucked into supporting the machine they'll be rendered impotent by sectarian infighting against fellow lefties who react differently to the manipulations.
Those of us on the political left are going to have to find a way to deal with the fact that opposing the establishment machine will inevitably result in withering accusations of a litany of -isms and -phobias because of these manipulations, and we're going to have to figure out how to do that without alienating the disadvantaged groups who are hurt by the status quo worse than anyone else.
But that won't be enough. It's all well and good to talk about "rejecting identity politics", but if all we do is reject the worldview that has made accusations of privilege and bigotry such effective tools of establishment manipulation, they'll just figure out how to manipulate whatever worldview we replace that one with. Identity politics is indeed a great way to cajole a large percentage of the population into supporting agendas that the ruling elites care about (economic injustice, war, surveillance, media propaganda, etc.) in exchange for agendas that the ruling elites don't care about (pro-choice, anti-racism, marriage equality, etc.), but ultimately it's just one of many possible collars that the propagandists can attach leashes to.
As we've discussed previously, propaganda as we understand it today has been a developing science for about a hundred years. Think about how much innovation has happened in other fields over the last century, and you get a feel for how much these powerful manipulators have developed their craft during that time. That's how advanced the establishment propagandists are. That's how much of a head start they have as we begin to figure this thing out.
For this reason, it's not enough for us to change what we think; we're going to have to change how we think as well. As long as we can be manipulated, they will find ways of manipulating us. If we're ever to beat the people who wield the immense power of the establishment propaganda machine, we will have to find some way to become more difficult to manipulate.
I am speaking about a total transformation in humanity's relationship with thought. I know that sounds like a far-fetched and idealistic suggestion, but I just don't think we'll be able to survive as a species if it doesn't happen. The best case scenario if this doesn't happen is an Orwellian future dominated by the elites who control AI technology which will make the current propaganda machine look like child's play, and the worst case scenario is extinction via nuclear holocaust or climate chaos. All of these things are pressing concerns right now, and we'll probably have our answer as to what our fate will be within a generation or two. We are at evolve-or-die time.
If we're to evolve, this will necessarily entail an overall shift in our species' relationship with thought and belief. Propaganda works by constructing a pro-establishment narrative that the human mind can be duped into imbuing with the power of belief via sympathy and frequent authoritative repetition. If we're to evolve to a point where propaganda no longer works on us, we'll have to transcend this insidious mental habit of believing thoughts instead of using them as tools for our benefit.