Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 30, 2019

Senior Twitter Executive Joined British Army Troll Brigade

Ian Cobain has written about the long history of British involvement in torture. He is now investigating British involvement in media manipulation. Here is a significant find of his:

The senior Twitter executive with editorial responsibility for the Middle East is also a part-time officer in the British Army’s psychological warfare unit, Middle East Eye has established.

Gordon MacMillan, who joined the social media company's UK office six years ago, has for several years also served with the 77th Brigade, a unit formed in 2015 in order to develop “non-lethal” ways of waging war.

The 77th Brigade uses social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, as well as podcasts, data analysis and audience research to wage what the head of the UK military, General Nick Carter, describes as “information warfare”.

The 77th Brigade is a troll farm:

They call it the 77th Brigade. They are the troops fighting Britain’s information wars.
From office to office, I found a different part of the Brigade busy at work. One room was focussed on understanding audiences: the makeup, demographics and habits of the people they wanted to reach. Another was more analytical, focussing on creating “attitude and sentiment awareness” from large sets of social media data. Another was full of officers producing video and audio content. Elsewhere, teams of intelligence specialists were closely analysing how messages were being received and discussing how to make them more resonant.

The 77th Brigade's job is to produce dark propaganda in support of British (military) operations:

What do we know about 77th Brigade? Let me quote a written MoD parliamentary answer published in March 2015. The Brigade exists “to provide support, in conjunction with other Government agencies, to efforts to build stability overseas and to wider defence diplomacy and overseas engagement”. That’s a highly political rather than military remit.

The parliamentary answer goes on to say the Brigade is “leading on Special Influence Methods, including providing information on activities, key leader engagement, operations security and media engagement”. Note the phrase “special influence methods”, which is straight out of Orwell’s 1984. And notice the reference to “media engagement”. Since when has the British Army had a legitimate role in trying to influence the media?

A really interesting and dangerous aspect of the 77th Brigade is its mixed military-civilian character:

Here we come to a truly insidious aspect of 77th Brigade. It has a complement of around 440 dedicated personnel, according to the parliamentary answer. Under the Army’s new organisational doctrine, units combine both fulltime soldiers and territorial reservists. The 77th Brigade recruits its reservists from among UK journalists and professionals in advertising and public relations companies. We are not talking just computer and information technology specialists but media practitioners. The result is that the necessary boundaries between the military and the civilian media have been compromised. This represents a potential threat to democratic norms.

That a Twitter executive with editorial responsibility also works for a British military propaganda unit makes clear that 'western' social media are only as neutral or free as the powers that be allow them to be.

The Twitter executive Gordon MacMillan is now a Captain of the British Army Reserve and at times working in its dark propaganda unit. On September 20 Twitter deleted a large number of accounts, including in MacMillan's area of responsibility. How many of those were designated by the British state?

In December 2018 we wrote about another British government run media manipulation organization - the Integrity Initiative:

The British government financed Integrity Initiative is tasked with spreading anti-Russian propaganda and thereby with influencing the public, military and governments of a number of countries. What follows is an contextual analysis of the third batch of the Initiative's internal papers which were dumped by an anonymous source yesterday.

Christopher Nigel Donnelly (CND) is the co-director of The Institute for Statecraft and founder of its offshoot Integrity Initiative. The Initiative claims to "Defend Democracy Against Disinformation".

The Integrity Initiative does this by planting disinformation about alleged Russian influence through journalists 'clusters' throughout Europe and the United States.

Both, the Institute as well as the Initiative, claim to be independent Non-Government Organizations. Both are financed by the British government, NATO and other state donors.

Among the documents lifted by some anonymous person from the servers of the Institute we find several papers about Donnelly as well as some memos written by him. They show a russophobe mind with a lack of realistic strategic thought.

Donnelly's co-director at the Institute for Statecraft is Daniel Lafayeed. One of the papers published by the anonymous account were his Speaking notes for meetings in Israel - June 2018 (pdf). They mention the 77th brigade:

Much of our work to improve the effectiveness of our armed forces for all forms of modern warfare is, of course, very sensitive as we feed it into the highest levels of MOD and the armed forces.

What we seek to do is to help the Forces become more competent to fight modern war with all kinds of weapons, and to do so on the budget the state provides.

To that end we have supported the creation of special Army reserve units (e.g. 77 Bde and SGMI –Specialist Group Military Intelligence) with which we now have a close, informal relationship. These bring in, as reservists with a special status, individuals who are very senior civilian experts in some relevant area, such as Hedge Fund managers, senior bankers, Heads of PA companies, etc. I.e. people whom the Army could never afford to hire, but who donate their time and expertise as patriots.

With these colleagues, we run seminars and prepare studies to help the forces find new ways to fight today’s war.

These papers describe our understanding of modern warfare; how we need to prepare for it, and; how the Russians will fight it beyond the stages of info war into classic kinetic warfare. I also include a concept paper looking at an alternative way to structure our navies for modern war at low cost. You might find this of particular interest.

The Integrity Initiate and the Institute for Statecraft took strong anti Corbyn positions. Some of Twitter executive MacMillon's tweets are also strongly anti Corbyn.

One should not think of the 77th Brigade as a one way street by which the state provides the messages that civilians help to spread. When hedge fund managers, senior bankers, heads of public relations companies are invited into its operations they will have a significant interest in getting their own messages spread and their own enemies defeated. The Twitter executive as a member of the propaganda brigade will also use it to spread his companies messages and wishes.

This is a marriage of the powers of large companies and the government for manipulating the opinion of the public. It is dangerous.

Kit Klarenberg has just published his bits on the issue: Our Man on the Inside: Senior Twitter Executive Exposed as British Army Information Warrior

Posted by b on September 30, 2019 at 16:52 UTC | Permalink

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"Our government is a bird with two right wings...They're devoted to the perpetuation & spread of corporate capitalism."
— Lawrence Ferlinghetti,

Posted by: Duncan Idaho | Sep 30 2019 17:00 utc | 1

#awesome sauce. Funny (strange, not haha) how all those terrorists, and white hemets operatives, all have smart phones and twitter accounts.

Posted by: Josh | Sep 30 2019 17:13 utc | 2

Yes, as can be plainly seen, the UK's establishment desperately needs to keep Corbyn from gaining control of Parliament, while the UK public just as desperately need Corbyn to become PM. Neil Clark isn't the only one to see events evolving into a "The New English/British Civil War":

"The English Civil War (or wars) of the 1640s pitted Roundheads against Cavaliers: today it’s Remainers against Brexiteers. The parallels are quite uncanny."

I've seen the battle over Brexit in such terms for awhile and now we have an op/ed providing details. The convergence of BigLie Media with MI-5/MI-6 Psyops is certainly one of the weapons being used to fight this war, and denotes just how desperate the Tories/Establishment are to stay in control.

Posted by: karlof1 | Sep 30 2019 17:20 utc | 3

Sum it up: Another example of New World Order DARPA program expanded to other < cough > friendly intelligence outfits around the world. The agenda wider and more orchestrated.

However, not being a rocket scientist most of us have come to realize that social media is being engineered and run on Algorithms with the goal to intervene on political opinion, redirection to dubious written new-sources, and generally 'Gas-lighting' the heck out of anyone who is against the establishment agenda. Plus, beginning to wonder if the reason we appear to be getting an increase In kids suicide rates is because of these 'algorithm' psyops being played on unwitting young minds.

Found, best to keep well away from giving my opinion on Facebook, Instragram, and Twitter (yikes!) -- Don't have an account in any form whatsoever with any of them. BTW -- Noting these particular social media forums have always been very much *US* 'Controlled/Overseen' intelligence programs from the get-go...

Posted by: Jayne | Sep 30 2019 17:43 utc | 4

I'm not sure about the Civil war analogy-it strikes me that it is the Remainers who are the Cavaliers and the Brexiteers who are the army which spawned the Levellers, the Agreements of the People and the closest the UK ever came to a People's government.
Never mind though: karlofi is right about the desperation with which the establishment is fighting against Corbyn (and has been since his election as leader.)
Which raises the question of why-if there is no difference between the two parties, as is routinely asserted here- the powers that be are going out on a limb, and using the most extraordinarily extra constitutional methods, to put down a Labour party which differs not at all from the current government?
The past is a good servant but a bad master: the fact that past Labour governments have betrayed their supporters does not mean that all future ones must or will. Change is possible-if the left don't see it, we can be assured that the right will, which is why, after dragging western capitalism back from an approaching equality and widening social services, the right managed to impose neo-liberalism and unmasked imperialism back on the world. This was done by a minority employing the state and control over social infrastructure in the teeth of popular social reforms and mass based organisations, most of which are now (cf UAW) hollowed out or dead. The right wing acts. The left whinges and saves all its energy for internecine feuds.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 30 2019 17:47 utc | 5

A parallel and equally important piece by Vanessa Beely on MInt Press should also be read.

The White Helmets, Hala Systems and the Grotesque Militarization of “Humanitarianism” in Syria

Posted by: Barovsky | Sep 30 2019 17:54 utc | 6

"The right wing acts. The left whinges and saves all its energy for internecine feuds."

Posted by: bevin | Sep 30 2019 17:47 utc | 5

True that b, and all because big organised $ has but one goal, to make the themselves wealthier, and to hell with the rest of us.

These methods don't confine themselves to the UK. It's global..

Posted by: ben | Sep 30 2019 18:05 utc | 7

P.S.- Old saying; "The comfort of the rich, depends on an abundance of the poor"..

Posted by: ben | Sep 30 2019 18:07 utc | 8

b: This is a marriage of the powers of large companies' and the government for manipulating the opinion [also logic, fear, & desire of the public]. It is dangerous.

The Pentagon calls propaganda "Military Information Support Operations."

The mission of the Military Information Support Operations Command is to provide fully capable Military Information Support (MIS) forces to Combatant Commanders, U.S. Ambassadors, and other agencies to synchronize plans and execute inform and influence activities (IIA) across the range of military operations.
>MIS Operations (MISO) is a vital part of the broad range of U.S. political, military, economic and ideological activities used by the U.S. government to secure national objectives. Used during peacetime, contingencies and declared war these activities are not forms of force, but are force multipliers that use nonviolent means in often violent environments. Persuading rather than compelling physically, they rely on logic, fear, desire or other mental factors . .here

Within MISO, social media gets special attention.
3-52 The information environment spotlights the growing impact of social media (see also paragraph 2-14). Although not listed in Table 3-1 because it is still an emergent IRC, social media has the potential to become a powerful capability for IO. Some possible applications include—
Social media as a media channel, such as radio, newspapers, and television.
Social media as an interactive medium for exerting influence.
Social media as a means to communicate with an established network or networks.
Social media as a near real-time sensor-to-sensor network
3- 53. Social media is rapidly expanding beyond the realm of public affairs, IO, or intelligence functions and becoming an integral component of operations, particularly those occurring in and through the information environment. Even as the institutional Army explores force modernization aspects of social media—such as doctrine, organizations, personnel, and training— commanders and staffs need to understand social media’s impact and incorporate this understanding into planning and operations (see Social Media-The Vital Ground: Can We Hold It? for a broader discussion of social media). . .here (p. 43)

Posted by: Don Bacon | Sep 30 2019 18:07 utc | 9

Thanks for this outing of some of the perpetrators of propaganda b

I suspect that MoA is a target as well. Behind all that freedom and democracy BS is the real control factor of global private finance that is currently at risk from countries like or associating themselves with China that has public finance at its core

I can only hope that the China axis is victorious in the WWIII that we are engaged in so that we may rid ourselves of this sort of public obfuscation for profit and maintenance of ongoing entitlement of the inherited elite instead of corruption/propaganda elimination for greater social welfare

Posted by: psychohistorian | Sep 30 2019 18:32 utc | 10

Engineered opimion. Jaw droppimg.
It looks like a few operatives from the 77th Brigade pay a visit to this site from time to time. i.e.
FFS11 and @#10.

Posted by: CD Waller | Sep 30 2019 19:14 utc | 11

bevin @5:

... why-if there is no difference between the two parties, as is routinely asserted here- the powers that be are going out on a limb, and using the most extraordinarily extra constitutional methods, to put down a Labour party ...

US and UK political structure has important differences which make the UK Labour Party less susceptible to manipulation by TPTB.

The most important of these may be funding. The Labour Party has sources of funding - notably trade unions and government - that allow for much less need for donations by wealthy individuals than USA parties.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Sep 30 2019 19:23 utc | 12

What comes to mind is the story of the German journalist Udo Ulfkotte.
He used to work for Frankfurter Allgemenie Zeitung and published a book named Journalists For Hire (Gekaufte Journalisten). It detailed how most mainstream journalists were, and probably are, on the payroll of different secret services, most notably CIA. He died under somewhat suspicious circumstances at the age of 56. The book was a bestseller in Germany and can be bought for about $24 on Amazon in German and about $870 (sic!) used in English. The publisher refuses to print another edition so it practically is devoured by the memory hole in anglosaxon countries. Coincidence?

Posted by: Nils Essle | Sep 30 2019 19:28 utc | 13

I've always assumed that Facebook, Google, and Twitter were created by, financed by, or otherwise controlled by state actors. All three seemed to appear out of nowhere and "took over" the internet overnight, with a lot of endless promotion by the usual establishment media. Why did the media promote Google, as opposed to, say, Alta Vista, for example? Exactly what are the arrangements between media companies and the internet behemoths?

They have Google to track everything we type, read, or buy on the internet. Facebook helps us report on ourselves, so there's no need to recruit state spies on every apartment block. I'm not sure how Twitter fits into the internet surveillance trifecta - is it the preferred platform for spreading propaganda and official news?

My first internet access account was Compuserve, sometime around 1995. It was soon apparent to me that the internet was a surveillance state wet dream, but also that the state would soon censor it. Now I think that as long as most people continue to willingly swallow state propaganda, dissident sites like this one can be allowed to exist. MoA and similar make it easy to track troublemakers as well as measure the effectiveness of the propaganda. My attitude is, I am not going to be intimidated into silence.

I'm not a bit surprised to learn that some internet behemoth executives also have military commissions. Is it fascism yet? According to Benito Mussolini, the answer is a resounding YES:

Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Sep 30 2019 19:29 utc | 14

Don’t worry too much about 77th Brigade. It is an ill-starred name.

General Wavell created it in 1942 as a vehicle for Orde Wingate, a strange ambitious officer who had made a name for himself in Ethiopia and Palestine (his background if I remember rightly was Seventh Day Adventist and hence passionate Zionist - as a result of his creation in Palestine of probably illegal anti-Arab Night Squads, there is today an avenue named in his honour in Haifa). But I don’t know whether his Zionism is relevant to the new, resurrected 77th Brigade. Maybe so.

77th Brigade was put together with odds and ends of troops already in India - its creation was hampered by Wingate’s refusal to include Indian soldiers, whom he didn’t think were any good. Gurkhas (Nepalese) he could manage - although the Gurkhas didn’t care for him. In 1943 the Brigade was inserted into Japanese occupied Burma, of the 3000 that went, about 2000 returned in rags and tatters, the rest killed, missing or prisoners.

The Army public relations team in Delhi, who were very good, managed however to paint the expedition as a tremendous success, a success which was sorely needed at a time when military failure had followed military failure. At this stage, Wingate and his Chindits were taken up by our clever Winston Churchill, whose main thought as always was his relationship with Roosevelt and Marshall.

So he took Wingate with him to Quebec. Roosevelt was riveted by this Old Testament prophet person, and fell for the pretty much fictional story of the exploits of 77th Brigade. The result - the Americans provided an entire air arm for Wingate’s use, plus many other expensive benefits, without which Slim could not have won the Imphal/Kohima battles or the battle of the Irrawaddy Crossing and the capture of Rangoon.

So in plain words, 77th Brigade was the means Churchill used to insert his fat fingers into the American pocket, and it is my guess that the unit that bears its name today has the same primary function (that would be a typical private English private school in-joke).

Why is the name ill-starred? As a result of the Quebec meeting, Wingate was given a re-inforced division (3rd Indian Division or 2nd Chindits). His chief lieutenant, Michael Calvert, was given the original 77th Brigade. Churchill had rashly told him to make direct contact with him if he met opposition from the entrenched interests in the Indian Army. (Churchill hated India).

The 2nd Chindits were flown into Burma at almost exactly the same moment that the Japanese attacked across the Chindwin (Ha-Go) aiming to drive the Indian 4 Corps back into India, which they almost succeeded in doing. In March 1944 it was touch and go, but it seems that Wingate had the bit between his teeth and was demanding that the 4 Corps reserves be put at the disposal of the 2nd Chindits - had that happened the Imphal/Kohima battle may well have been lost.

On 23rd March Wingate’s plane flew into a mountain and all in it were killed. (His remains are buried, interestingly, at Arlington VA.) People thought that his own side had probably killed him (he told Slim: “you are the only person on our side who doesn’t wish me dead”) and I am sure that Mountbatten, Slim and probably the American Air chief Hap Arnold must have been greatly relieved to say the least. The rumours that Wingate had been assassinated by his own side were clearly so strong that a book was commissioned - “The death of Wingate” - which to its credit leaves the question open - as it should be.

Brigadier Calvert, with whom the name 77th Brigade is most connected, fell victim to a Brigade of Guards intrigue after the war. This very fine officer was dismissed the service for some nonsense in Germany - probably set up by his colleagues from the Guards regiments. You don’t pick an argument with the Brigade of Guards, as the saying goes.

So the fate of the two honourable, unusual men whose names are for ever connected with 77th Brigade was not what they deserved.

Should anyone from 77th Brigade be listening in, please consider most carefully whether you are fighting on the right side.

Posted by: Montreal | Sep 30 2019 19:53 utc | 15

Plus Google 'physically tracks' everywhere we go - regardless of switching location and Siri off. has gone - Is Mapquest Google now? -- I know WAZE is Google. AA Road Router (UK) uses Google. Used to be able to say no to having SATNavs in rental cars -- included whether you pay or don't pay.

Want to detach from my iPhone as much as possible now - Don't like where everything is heading -- frankly! The youth are setup for AI they've never known anything other than having a phone in their hands.

Still think this all comes down to how our consciousness works, and the elites know that.

Posted by: Jayne | Sep 30 2019 19:57 utc | 16

Posted by: Duncan Idaho | Sep 30 2019 20:05 utc | 17

We really are living in a post-truth, post-privacy era.

Posted by: Sally Snyder | Sep 30 2019 20:06 utc | 18

@FFS 11. Are you part of the 77th Brigade?

Posted by: Beibdnn. | Sep 30 2019 18:54 utc | 12

Beibdnn: There really is no point responding to these characters. Ignore them and they'll get bored and go away.

Posted by: Barovsky | Sep 30 2019 20:17 utc | 19

Sally Snyder @22: Post-reality is the way I think of it, everything is fungible, everything is subjective, bullshit is every bit as good as reality, better even. Everybody gets their own private reality, fabricated just for them.

Posted by: Bemildred | Sep 30 2019 20:47 utc | 20

"US and UK political structure has important differences which make the UK Labour Party less susceptible to manipulation by TPTB.
The most important of these may be funding. The Labour Party has sources of funding - notably trade unions and government - that allow for much less need for donations by wealthy individuals than USA parties." Jackrabbit@16.
There is some truth in this. But Trade union financing is muvch less important than it used to be before Thatcher's 'reforms', with which Blair was very happy to go along. These made Trade Unions much weaker and during the Blair period the most influential funders were sleazy businessmen.
Since Miliband (credit where due!) made efforts to re-open the Party to democratic pressures-efforts that led not only to Corbyn's crushing victories but to a massive increase in membership numbers- party financing has, as you say, differed greatly from the experience of the Democrats.
It has to be borne in mind, however, that most of the difficulties that the Democrats use as an excuse to whore the platform to corporations, arises from the hyper professionalisation of the party and its campaigns. There are tiers upon tiers of highly paid professionals, from pollsters to ad agencies, charging enormous sums for carrying out tasks better left to grassroots members. The problem is that such members would demand internal democracy, including the right to shape policy and to debate important but embarrassing issues like the role of the US in subsidising and justifying the appalling treatment of Palestinians.
The Democrats need to raise billions because they fear a popular movement with its own momentum-hence their regular defeats in Congress and at State level. And the comfort that, for example Obama took from being relieved of the inconvenience of a Congress not dominated by people he could blame when they did what he wanted.

Posted by: bevin | Sep 30 2019 21:28 utc | 21

An example of the western propaganda war: the case of the Blue Girl.
Misinformation methods against Iran.

Posted by: k | Sep 30 2019 21:52 utc | 22

This topic is a small sample of the hidden reality of the world we now live in, U.K. & USA!
The multi-dimensional mind and perseption control.
All media, news and politics, democracy is dead !
Here’s another example ! (Not recent) And I tip my hat to Dennis on a recent previous thread for the mention of this lady’s ex partner.
The truth is now dead,

Posted by: Mark2 | Sep 30 2019 22:10 utc | 23

Annie’s twitter account is truly a gem !
A must to follow.

Posted by: Mark2 | Sep 30 2019 22:19 utc | 24

"This is a marriage of the powers of large companies' and the government for manipulating the opinion of the public. It is dangerous."

The good old days have come back the UK, and Amerika. Fascism 101 by Benito Mussolini.

Posted by: jo6pac | Sep 30 2019 22:56 utc | 25

psychohistorian @10
my suspicions as well, this site and others like it are a magnet for attention or monitoring at least.

Most of the regular, noninformed noninterested populace are well aware that MSM is all a pile of B.S. but so long as it entertains & doesn't affect them, they don't care.
I showed some people at work the WT7 fall and blankfaced they literally said "Ok, but how does that affect me?".
It's places like this where the frontlines are in this current WW111

I am only just recently becoming aware of different levels of controlled opposition.
ie some or even many, alt-news sites are "compromised" to certain degrees.
A lot of my colleagues who are well opposed to MSM think that the Guardian tells the "real news". but that is a blatant example.
Far more subtle cues can be found on "reliable" sites like RT, counterpunch, et al

But sometimes the interference (presumable from organisations like the 77th, but might be already built into gmail etc) is very insidious,
for example this article on The Saker
differs in slight ways from the original
with typos, word omission & such
Does that mean The Saker is compromised? not necessarily, as a commentor Anonymous noted (on the Saker page)


“free ride, financing its budget – also mainly military in character – so that it can taxing its own citizens”

Words has been omitted from the above sentence. So it can taxing its own citizens should read so it can ‘avoid’ taxing its own citizens’

This is a common occurance. It seems to me that text from authors critical of US UK policies are altered enroute between author’s email outbox and the inbox of the publisher. This makes it harder for good articles like the one above to be diseminated widely on the internet.

Sputiknews has some malignant editors in the Englush language version of it i read. These malignant actors act to introduce spelling errors, grammatical errors including tautologies, nonsensensical compositions.

Someone should pay attention to the editing departments in Sputniknews and RT because important articles published on those websites are generally poisened with respect to mass republication due to malignant actions by editorial staff.

Posted by: ziogolem | Sep 30 2019 23:58 utc | 26

"b" - Good to see you getting your teeth into 77 Brigade and the Integrity Initiative.

I have a theory about all that. Propaganda, psyops and all the rest of it is now huge. Everywhere, not just the UK. All very messy and needs separating out, compartmentalising. So put the more or less "respectable" stuff in one box - 77 Brigade, the Integrity Initiative. They can do the messages for the troops - I saw a lot of that on the 77 site - plus the bread and butter work of getting comments in on websites, putting the right message out to the Think Tanks and the media, working out what's the best way to get the message across to the general public.

That tidied away, the dodgy stuff - Steele, the White Helmets, that sort of thing - can be done elsewhere without getting the bread and butter people involved.

I don't think the whole is any different, except of course in scale and cost, from what has always been done, and that well before the internet. It's just all got so big that it needs to be tidied up. Easier to control this way and less chance of the really bad stuff leaking out somehow.

Only a theory. When 77 was starting out, by the way, there was some amusing stuff about it put out by what purported to be, and I think were, Service chat rooms. The lads didn't think much of 77 as a posting and said so in a suitably ribald manner. All that's gone now, or at least I don't see it any more. Confirmed as least for me my suspicion that 77 Brigade and the Integrity Initiative are the less seamy side of the world of information warfare, and that's why they get so much publicity.

Karlofi @ 3 - I wouldn't care to hazard an opinion on what the Labour and Conservative parties in the UK are up to. Most of them, Blairites to ERG, are globalists - true sons of Ricardo in an age when Ricardo's a dead duck - so they don't figure much for me. Nor do I know much about Corbyn, except that he's most definitely not in the line of succession from Kier Hardy and the later fire in the belly Labour people. More like a sheep in wolf's clothing in that respect, as you'd expect from an Islington Prog. He's good on not bombing brown people, though, so I have a bit of a soft spot for him in spite of all.

But I take notice of Brexit. I think most of the people here on "b"'s site get the basics of that wrong. There are many strands to Brexit and many to "remain" but as far as the "negotiations" go the position is this:

The EU's gambling on forcing a treaty through that keeps the UK fairly close. That's the "Withdrawal Agreement" (WA) with the accompanying PD. It's a reasonable gamble, I suppose, since there is the threat that if we don't accede to that treaty the EU can, in the short term, do a lot of damage to UK trade and businesses.

As far as I can see (not at all far, and neither can the experts at present) HMG wants to scrub part or all of the WA or even let the Article 50 process run out. That leaves us with the famous "no deal" and HMG is hoping to negotiate with the EU measures that will mitigate the damage to UK trade and businesses that is threatened by the EU. This brief correspondence puts it in a nutshell -

That EU gamble, by the way, is the riskiest gamble - for all Europe, not just for us - since I don't know when. But given the hostility on both sides of the Channel now any outcome of Brexit - from revoke through to "no deal" - is lose/lose for both sides. This doesn't look like it's going to be any sort of amicable separation. Gaining independence seldom is.

Montreal @ 19. So you don't like Wingate either. His work in Palestine was loathsome, he's supposed to have done well in Abyssinia, and his work in Burma is disputed. Not by you, obviously - you share my view that he cost more than he gained. Perhaps, at a time when the conventional wasn't always that successful, just the fact that he was so unconventional led to his finding favour without those who favoured him looking more closely.

But I'm prejudiced. As said, his work in Palestine was loathsome so it's difficult for me to see the later Wingate straight.

Posted by: English Outsider | Oct 1 2019 0:09 utc | 27

One has to feel a bit sorry for Gordon MacMillan whose full-time job at Twitter and part-time reservist job at the 77th Brigade unit are virtually one and the same. Does he not get any time away from living fully immersed 24/7 in a world of disinformation and manipulating the news?

One day he'll get up in the morning and look outside the window to see the trees and flowers growing and to hear the birds and insects singing, and wonder if what his senses are experiencing is real.

Posted by: Jen | Oct 1 2019 0:13 utc | 28

I'm glad organizations such as these are talked about because they are obviously criminal and in clear breach of the UN charter of Human Rights. If there is any country who doesn't do this sort of "smart" foolishness nowadays I wish I could move there.

That aside by what little information is available and judging by the results I doubt the effect of any organization like this since they don't seem to have much of one. I have not noticed any significant change in people's opinions beyond the usual "I'm with stupid" crowds quarreling over which "stupid" is the best.

Thus I suspect that the "brigade" is partly a scam, partly a ploy to notice anyone "new" speaking up, and mostly an example of fools being fools.

It's similar to the story of how some soldiers supposedly went target practicing with pictures of Corbyn; it doesn't actually matter at all beyond any reprimand and the stupidity of it unless people want to make something bigger out of it. If it does become something bigger by popular outrage then that suits them just fine. Killing Jo Cox (and I will of course assume the gardener didn't do it) barely got the needle moving and Brexit is a revelation. Skripal? I guess Salisbury got less tourism but beyond that?

If all they're doing is ensuring the stupid keep stupid they hadn't need bother and won't be able to prove they're doing anything at all.

To me the story serves an additional purpose, it reminds me to think about how I can try to ensure that I'm not another tribal pigeon, devout believer, useful idiot, and slave to some chosen opiate.

Maybe it can also tempt others to also think such thoughts.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Oct 1 2019 0:44 utc | 29

This isn't surprising, really. As was said earlier, these social media companies sprang up out of nowhere, received tons of promotion, and funding never seems to be an issue. The war for information has been raging for generations and it has become increasingly easy for those with access to the levers of power. The best tool they have might be misinformation rather than censoring.

Posted by: sorghum | Oct 1 2019 1:12 utc | 30

thanks b... i think this propaganda war stuff is going on more then we know.. i appreciate you highlighting it here.. maybe most of it is as @32 sorghum says - used for misinformation more then censoring, although twitter seems to be pretty much up on censorship for an amerikkkan corp, lol...

@ 19 montreal.. thanks for that informative post to which i was unaware..

Posted by: james | Oct 1 2019 1:57 utc | 31

karlofi @3 is right<==Bevin @5: the desperate dependent establishment vs independent Corbyn
<== in USA governed America the elite have gained total control over nominee access to candidacy for public offices<=few not acceptable to the establishment can become a candidate for public office at nearly any level of government, federal, state, county, city, etc.

I remind Presidential election platforms in USA elections were totally controlled by the multi-national corporations (Bush just Iraqed, Obama ="changed" the United States of ____).

AFAICT all three elected Presidents worked to incarcerate 'governed Americans' in rat-like digital cages. These cages (armed, rule-making nation states). Marcon, MBS, and Sissi in France, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt seem to be part of this corporate conspiracy <=separating the governed from any kind of access to the powers, policies or secret operations or personnel of the OCICD controlled government itself. The digital cages are designed and constructed to accommodate 24/7 surveillance (spying), to contain all sensory experience within target defined limits, and to enable feedback/feed-forward =>target defined behavior <=to control all people in all nation states.

The intelligence agencies and now the everyday militarises no longer seem to be unique to one particular nation state, but instead are unitized and merged as multi national teams that support OCICD intent directed against the behaviors of everyone, everywhere. The multi-national, monopoly powered, nation state franchised corporations [organized crime in corporate disguise (OCICD)] have expanded, tuned and taken as their own, the spy and mind control technologies they were paid to develop as government contractors and turned these developed technologies into powerful digital weapons which can used to take over and control traditional governments and their governed populations.

Realizing the possibility that OCICD may have organized itself sufficiently to declare war on traditional governments and to deny the will of the governed in those traditional governments, suggest to me certain null hypothesis should be tested:

Hypothesis 1: OCICD intends to replace all traditional governments everywhere with OCICD controlled government.

hypothesis II: The OCICD used public funds to develop weapons grade mind and behavior control digital technology.

Hypothesis III: Digital weapons are capable to control all human experience to target values.

Hypothesis IV: Walls and space in digitally controlled human containers support weaponized virtual content.

Hypothesis V: Digital infrastructure can support mind control (attitudes, beliefs, responsive and reflective behavior).

Hypothesis VI: Evidence exist to support the thesis that OCICD is attempting to install and use digital
infrastructure to gain absolute control over human behavior in at least one nation state.

Why-if there is no difference between the two parties, as is routinely asserted here- the powers that be are going out on a limb, and using the most extraordinary extra constitutional methods, to put down a Labour party which differs not at all f\e current government.. by Bevin @ 5. These methods don't confine themselves t\e UK.. It's global Ben @ 7

By example from America =>voters "vote big time" and "candidates spend millions" in campaigns for an election in which the voters have no vote at all ( the electoral college, not the voters, elect the President and VP o\e USA). The reason for massive spending <=it divides the people so the election outcome can be controlled. Consider 9 persons, one elected to be the leader.. the leader establishes an issue which divides the 8 voters into 4 for the issue and 4 against the issue, the elected gets to break the tie and elect himself. With mass populations the same, only there a few thousand break the tie. Now a question.. are you sure it is both sides of the two parties that are so against Corbyn or is it a party indifferent group that are against something Corbyn will do if elected?.

Posted by: snake | Oct 1 2019 2:47 utc | 32

@ 33 James
IMO, censoring only works for some forms of information and situations. Like the "Q" psy-op, sometimes misinformation can be far more effective than no information. Used correctly, you can keep people completely confused and/or untrusting of whatever you target. Misinformation makes you a puppeteer of the masses.

Posted by: sorghum | Oct 1 2019 2:54 utc | 33

@ 35 sorghum... well, i share your view... and i do think the folks that get censored, like zafir on twitter - are because they are so effective at breaking down the b.s. and that can't be tolerated... but overall - misinfo is probably a lot bigger enterprise then censorship.. i am not sure how these people like macmillan can live with themselves, but i guess the pay is good...

as @ 30 jen says - one day he will wake up and wonder if what his senses are telling him are real.. living a life of lies leads to that kind of reality...

Posted by: james | Oct 1 2019 3:01 utc | 34

This is not surprising at all.

The West has been particularly prolific in propaganda warfare since the beginning of the Cold War. In this front, it was a massacre: the techniques used today are almost all innovations born in the West during that period, and Western propagandists have always been much more creative and flexible than their socialist enemies; the Soviet Union didn't stand a chance and there's no doubt about which side was the winner.

It's not well-known exactly why the West did so well in the propaganda front of the Cold War. The effectiveness of the CIA covert operations in this front are, until now, heavily debated among historians specialized in this subject. We will never know, but the fact is the Western (liberal) worldview is undoubtedly the dominant one nowadays.

My opion is that, in relation to Soviet socialism at least, capitalism showed to be much more bombastic and dynamic in the production and mass production of entertainment. Capitalism is a very efficient system with non-essential, superfluous products: the world market can quickly promote and weed out, respectively, good and bad entertainment (art). Since art/entertainment is very subjective to biologically related tastes and regional cultures, capitalist societies can simply pump an overwhelming amount of entertainment to the masses, at a never seen before cheap cost: humanity consumed more entertainment in 10 years of capitalism than in the last 2 million years of its previous existence for sure.

And, we know, in a society divided by class, art/entertainment is propaganda. Pure art, as Marx once defined in a letter, will only exist in communism, which is a classless system. If you have class divisions, art/entertainment will be propaganda, regardless of the artist's original intentions.

But propaganda has its absolute limits. In my opinion, the USSR lost the cultural cold war, but it wasn't this that determined its fall. What determines the efficacy of propaganda is economic prosperity (in relation to the enemy's). A propaganda narrative is only effective insofar as it fools many people for a long period of time. This is only possible if this narrative is politically advantageous to the masses: it's not that the Americans or British are stupid, but that they can see the false narrative spit out by their industries and States are good for them (at the expense of the enemy).

This advantage, in my opinion, ended in 2008. I mean, the West still has the initiative in the propaganda front because life is still better in Western Europe, Japan and the USA than in Russia and China. But the difference lowered and it did so mostly because the Western system collapsed. Before 2008, it would be unthinkable to grasp the possibility a significant number of Americans talked anything bad about capitalism and promote anything about socialism. Even if their conception of socialism is wrong, they are using the word.

Now, we have the novelty that propaganda warfare is being waged for domestic reasons in the Western Civilization: there's a struggle of the liberal elite against the so-called "populists" (a term clearly taken from the late Roman Republic and clearly appelating to the conservative side of the Western masses). This is a sign, in my opinion, of a loss of cohesion of the West: the social contract of getting a degree, getting a "smart job", buying a house in the suburbs and having a spouse and two kids and retiring at 65 comfortably is gone. That's why the propaganda is ever more aggressive and blatant in an inverse proportion to its efficacy: propaganda can be a strong weapon, but it has no legs -- for that it still depends on the economy.

Posted by: vk | Oct 1 2019 3:02 utc | 35

It's all a bit Snowdenesque ain't it? Suddenly being shown the truth of something you already knew but couldn't prove.

Every now and then a really blatant example of proEmpire or proCorporate Capitalism will turn up here, but that is the least of the issue. The real problems will be revealed when the shit hits the fan and a trusted poster suddenly gives questionable advice/opinion.

In the end nyms don't mean sh1t. This is why it is vital initially that all potential resisters strive to maintain connections with like minded types in the real world.
Some of them will also be compromised of course, but dodginess is a little easier to detect in the real world.

It's the same as it ever was talk, talk is easy, but when it is time for action that is when one only hangs with those you have known since grade school.

Posted by: A User | Oct 1 2019 3:11 utc | 36

There is nothing new here, to believe a 21 year old named Zuckerberg founded the billion dollar company Facebook is folly. Same goes for Google, Twitter and the rest. They all began with gov't money and exist today to fulfill exactly what we just read. 1984 is alive and well in 2019, freedom is not.

Posted by: joetv | Oct 1 2019 3:16 utc | 37

I am reminded of what CIA director Wm. Casey said in 1982. I'll paraphrase: "We will know our programs have worked when everything the public believes to be true is a lie".
Google it. Better yet use

Posted by: joetv | Oct 1 2019 3:26 utc | 38

bernhard, your embed in "On September 20 Twitter deleted a large number of accounts" goes to the same link as "Gordon MacMillan is by now a Captain of the British Army Reserve", but doesn't say anything about twitter deleting a large number of links...just thought i'd mention. i had not heard of this previously, via googling. found this on npr Twitter Removes Thousands Of Accounts For Manipulating Its Platform

thank you for another excellent post.

[Thanks annie, corrected - b.]

Posted by: annie | Oct 1 2019 3:42 utc | 39

@37 vk - propaganda can be a strong weapon, but it has no legs -- for that it still depends on the economy.

I agree. And other forces have some, lesser, additional weight too, I think - rather more intangible, and in the moral, spiritual and respecting and self-respecting side of human experience. But economic prosperity or austerity speak a language to even the illiterate, far more effectively than any propaganda ever can. One knows, without being told, if one is broke or well-off.

And sticking with economic prosperity as the main engine of it all, one can say the propaganda of the west was so successful because it was swimming with the tide. Its audience was becoming affluent, and everyone on the other side could see this as well.

Now, it's swimming against the tide, and is showing itself to be inadequate to the task. It was only ever capable of sugar coating a cake, never of baking one whole. This is why the mask is slipping, and brute power is increasingly being used. Laws are ignored, lives are discounted, and all without the sugar coating.

Trying to improve its game is not something that occurs to the force that lies. In the past, lying was enough. And if the peasants no longer believe the lies, then the fault must be with the peasants. Obviously, they'll have to go...

One day, however, the peasants understand this equation and draw their own conclusions. And the more the mask slips and brute power and crass lying is used, and the more starkly the economic reality opposes the propaganda, the closer the lying force draws this day unto itself. It creates its own demise, as all lies do.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 1 2019 3:48 utc | 40

@Jayne #20
It isn't exactly just Google, it is Android.
Phone maker plus OS maker both.

Posted by: c1ue | Oct 1 2019 3:51 utc | 41

@38 A User - a trusted poster suddenly gives questionable advice/opinion

What I call the moles - as distinct from the trolls - who are forced to risk giving themselves away during times of information crisis, as you say. And some of them have done that here, at times, and some here have noticed, and probably remember.

Posted by: Grieved | Oct 1 2019 3:57 utc | 42

vk | Oct 1 2019 3:02 utc | 37

re... in a society divided by class, art/entertainment is propaganda.

I've heard "entertain" very workably defined as "to get attention and hold it." Its roots are inter/entre [among/together] and tenere [hold/grasp].

Posted by: chu teh | Oct 1 2019 4:40 utc | 43

@ 43 grieved. Good post. What you are describing is the textbook collapse of a civilization. As the power wanes, those in power squeeze tighter, trying to hold onto power, to regain the glory days. At some point, it becomes self-defeating. Like trying to squeeze a wet bar of soap, or a handful of sand: the more force you apply, the more it slips away.

All in all, this topic isn't really surprising, and as was said, is rather Snowdon-esque. We had enough hints to have an idea of what was really going on, at least about some of it. The USAF and (iirc) the US Army have declared they operate troll farms. I imagine a lot is bots, rather than live bodies.

Posted by: sorghum | Oct 1 2019 4:58 utc | 44

Trailer Trash | Sep 30 2019 19:29 utc | 18

re "Fascism should more properly be called corporatism because it is the merger of state and corporate power."

Once upon a time, i finally found a definition of "Fascism" that was workable for me.

I had read that Rockefeller, Jr.' wife had read aloud a history-of-the-world book to her sons. Hmmm, I thought,, I wonder what they imgested. So I found it. Author was Egyptologist James Henry Breasted , a founder of Chicago House [Univ. of Chicago oriental Institute] located in Egypt.

Hmmm. JDR, Sr. was founder of Univ. of Chicago in Illinois.
Breasted explained that "fascicm" derives from "fasces" [you know, the usual bundle of sticks enclosing an axe;. So? What does that mean?]

Crucially, he went on to explain precisely that symbol in a way that I'd never heard before and blew open the meaning, for me.
In Roman tiimes, an official magistrate made the rounds of his assigned territory to judge any relevant matters with the full authority of Rome.

To demonstrate his authority, he was accompanied by 1 or more lictors, who carried the fasces as displaying the magistrate's authority
[From Wikipedia: (in ancient Rome) an officer attending the consul or other magistrate, bearing the fasces, and executing sentences on offenders. ]

NAMELY: Displaying the fasces meant the magistrate has the authority to judge, beat you or kill you.

Now combine that concept with "...corporatism bec it is the merger of state and corporate power."

The enforcer is the state!, which uniquely has the legal authority to enforce what the corporate power wants. Mussolini grasped the strategic effectiveness, albeit short term.

[IIRC, JDR,jr. was only son of JDR. JDR,jr had the 5 sons, Nelson, David, JDR,3rd, Lawrence, Winthrop + a daughter Abby.]

Breasted's book is Ancient Times. A good read of of ancient history ca.

Posted by: chu teh | Oct 1 2019 5:51 utc | 45

@37 vk...great post.. thanks... i am having trouble with this concept however - "art/entertainment is propaganda." i don't think of what i do as propaganda... it sounds like marx ideology or something, but i don't properly understand it.. thus i don't think it is correct.. however, maybe you can talk more about this part of your post, as i am most curious.. is this some idea in someone's head? it is not what i think of what i have done the past week playing live music..

fwiw - edward snowden was interviewed on democracy now sept 26th, for anyone who wants to see it -> here..

Posted by: james | Oct 1 2019 5:52 utc | 46

james | Oct 1 2019 5:52 utc | 50

pls see my Oct 1 2019 4:40 utc | 46 that may clarify.

Posted by: chu teh | Oct 1 2019 5:56 utc | 47

@51 chu teh.. thanks.. i agree good art- music is about getting and holding one's attention.. i just don't get the part about propaganda and how it relates to art..

Posted by: james | Oct 1 2019 6:11 utc | 48

Jen @ 30:

If related to the last British GOC Palestine

our hero was probably raised on a diet of “nothing is but what is not” and is perfectly content to be considered as a Twitter exec helping the military rather than the other way round.

Incidentally, said Wikipedia article might be the most hagiographic I’ve ever seen.

Posted by: Cortes | Oct 1 2019 6:32 utc | 49

bevin @ 21

Neither Sanders nor Warren accept corporate donations. Sanders received substantial union money in 2016 although you are correct obviously union donations have fallen.

If one or other becomes the nominee it will be interesting to see whether each would interact with party insider cash, much of it raised from corporations.

The convention itself will be sponsored by corporate donors.

They had better stay away from and at odds against the party insider loot and influence to maintain true populism unlike the fake GOP Trumpian variety.

Other than the heinous amounts of cash required to mount a campaign within the US Election Industrial Complex there appear to be similarities between Warren's, Sanders's and Corbyn's fund raising.

Obviously the Bidens, Harrises and Buttigiegs more closely resemble Blair's version.

Posted by: donkeytale | Oct 1 2019 8:59 utc | 50

Twitter definitely is on the side of the US government and intelligence agencies. For example just a couple of months ago, without ANY explanation or warning, Twitter management deactivated and suspended the Twitter account of the primary Julian Assange legal defense fund! Just happened out of the blue, no warning, zero explanation given to the owners. It was only a massive public outcry against this action that Twitter management begrudgingly reinstated the account. Twitter evidently has a 'special relationship' with the Atlantic Council and the CIA and other U.S. government intelligence agencies and deletes or blocks accounts at their request. Twitter's new 'mute comments' feature is yet another gift to the establishment status quo: comments critical of politicians, elites, etc can now be hidden from public view with the flick of a finger. Twitter SUCKS, I have always hated it.

Posted by: deschutes | Oct 1 2019 10:05 utc | 51

james @46

Not to in any way belittle your art, but do millions of people pay to view, hear, or otherwise experience it? Does income from bringing your art to market provide you and your family with your primary income?

Within capitalism ("market economies") literally everything is a commodity. If there is anything that you can think of that doesn't seem like a commodity, that is most likely just something that you cannot afford.

Of course, art is a commodity as well. There may very well be artists who do not produce their art with marketability in mind, but they tend to starve and die penniless. Artists who, on the other hand, wish to produce marketable art must do so with an eye towards what they produce being compatible with the market itself... capitalist, in other words. The closer to mass-consumable you want your art to be the more market-compatible (promoting of capitalist ideals... propaganda) you must make it. Proof of this can be found by simply turning on the TV.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 1 2019 11:12 utc | 52

Posted by: English Outsider | Oct 1 2019 0:09 utc | 27

The EU's gambling on forcing a treaty through that keeps the UK fairly close. That's the "Withdrawal Agreement" (WA) with the accompanying PD.
A standard Brexiter meme, as you might expect from someone calling himself "English Outsider". Brexiters are viscerally obsessed that the EU is trying to impose a controlling treaty on Britain. Of course it isn't the case, as the Germans and other Europeans on here can bear witness - most Europeans would now prefer Britain to simply piss off. British behaviour has been so horrendous. It's Britain's needs that force it into seeking a deal. The WA is not a treaty; it is a settling of accounts, preparatory to a later treaty. If Johnson doesn't want a deal, as it seems, the EU has taken the necessary steps to defend its interests, nothing more. But still Brexiters come back again with their obsession that the EU is forcing a treaty on Britain. If Britain really wants to live in Palaeolithic isolation no-one can stop them.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 1 2019 11:21 utc | 53

At the time Hunter Biden joined the board at Burisma, objective observers saw it a political sham.

With the news that R. Hunter Biden has joined the Board of Directors for Burisma Holdings, the nagging questions that haunt me are “Is Burisma Holdings a CIA shell company? Is the purpose of Burisma Holdings to launder money to Blackwater to escalate the unrest Ukraine to a full blown war?”

Posted by: jo-anne | Oct 1 2019 11:54 utc | 54

"Brexiters are viscerally obsessed that the EU is trying to impose a controlling treaty on Britain. Of course it isn't the case, as the Germans and other Europeans on here can bear witness - most Europeans would now prefer Britain to simply piss off."

It is interesting that Laguerre conflates "the EU" with "Germans and other Europeans." In reality the EU pays very little attention to what ordinary Europeans want, as it imposes its neo-liberal social and economic policies on them. It finds that its propaganda generally keeps the masses in line.
Brexiters are far from being irrational on this issue-they are absolutely correct in recognising that the EU is designed to crush the working class and roll back generations of political and social progress.
That this is so, despite its conflicting with the happy nonsense promulgated by the ruling class, is quite obvious to anyone in the former industrial heartlands of the North, which voted overwhelmingly against the EU.
Something very similar occurred, and is still occurring, in the Rust Belt of the United States- Roger and Me by Michael Moore being an old but reliable guide to what neo-liberalism aims at: the immiseration and demoralisation of the working class, capitalism's putative gravedigger.
And as Laguerre's hero Macron is demonstrating, as he chips away at pension and health entitlements, the foundation of the EU is state violence.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 1 2019 12:35 utc | 55

I saw the manipulation in social media from the beginning. I chose to turn the tables on the cretans and use it against them. The Trolls never have much knowledge of a subject so it's easy to expose them. What they have are sound bytes and techniques, most of them from Is ra Hell's 'Hasbara' handbook. Once you know them, the techniques are easy to counter. Use the enemy's own weapon against them! It's us or them.

Posted by: Ralph | Oct 1 2019 12:55 utc | 56

It is interesting that Laguerre conflates "the EU" with "Germans and other Europeans."
What conflation? There's none there. "Germans and other Europeans" on here (the extra definitional expression Bevin forgot to cite) just happen to be a subset of people living in the EU.

the EU is designed to crush the working class
Classic so-called Lexiter, that is a supposedly left-wing person who prefers to ally with the far right in Britain in leaving the EU. Funnily enough, the Left in continental Europe are not at all for leaving the EU; they know what the EU does for them, and it's a lot better than being a vassal of Trump, which is all Brexit is going to lead to. The EU has been quite a good protector of working class rights, at any rate far, far, better than the hard right government in London, the people who are going to decide Britain's future, if the Lexiters like Bevin continue on their way.

Posted by: Laguerre | Oct 1 2019 12:58 utc | 57

Thanks to b for thoroughly describing one important aspect of what I think is going to become the 'worse than Watergate' issue of our time - "the extent to which a number of countries played a role in the counterintelligence operations" which can be lumped together as Russiagate. (The bit in quotations is from spokesperson for the Justice Department Kerri Kupac described US Attorney John Durham's current investigation, that is, Alexander Mercouris believes, the basis for the furor over Trump's conversation with Zelensky.)

Here's the latest short(!) video from The Duran on the subject:

I will add that the promotion of a mug containing a likeness of Sergei Lavrov is very much worth listening to at the end. I very much wish someone would buy me that mug! ;)

Posted by: juliania | Oct 1 2019 13:05 utc | 58

I would like to add to @52 above that art is much like any other productive human endeavor in that it requires capital to create and bring to the public, whether that capital is in the form of studios, editing equipment, performance venues, media networks, printing presses, or what have you.

While the small businessman artist who owns all of the capital necessary for his craft certainly exists, most artists in today's economy depend upon capital owned and controlled by individuals whose role in the economy is owning capital (capitalists). To be provided access to and use of their capital requires that the artist follow those capitalists' rules and produce art that conforms to their ideals. In fact, capitalists rarely ever even have to provide explicit guidance to artists as the artists will naturally be sensitive to not biting the hands of their benefactors. Furthermore, why would any artist being so sponsored even think of portraying their sponsors negatively? From the sponsored artist's personal perspective the capitalist is a generous source of all that is good in the world. The natural and human response of the artist to patronage is use their art to protect, justify, and glorify their patron, and to attack, denigrate, and vilify their patron's foes.

Does this apply to all artists? No, of course not. Some artists starve instead. Some perform their art on street corners for passers by who throw coins into their upturned hat. Some scribble their art into the margins of old books while living in remote cabins in the mountains and die with no one ever having seen that art. Such art can be critical of the dominant system in which is was created. The work of artists that is thrust in front of the masses of the public on the capitalist-controlled Plato's Cave displays, on the other hand, is carefully examined and vetted to assure it reinforces the ideology and narratives of those who own the access to those Plato's Cave displays.

In other words, the art that has economic and social impact in society will conform to the interests of the economic ruling class in that society. In order for art to be freed from this constraint you must first create a society without a ruling class. This, in rather brief and crude terms, is what Marx was getting at, and he was entirely correct. It is unfortunately the case that art cannot transcend economic realities.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 1 2019 13:08 utc | 59

[propaganda is] swimming against the tide, and is showing itself to be inadequate to the task. It was only ever capable of sugar coating a cake, never of baking one whole. This is why the mask is slipping, and brute power is increasingly being used. Laws are ignored, lives are discounted, and all without the sugar coating. Grieved at 40..

I think its false consumer economics that is swimming against the tidal waves produced by the oceans of propaganda.
While i agree corporate finance has been abusing the governed for so ling, the governed no longer recognize it is the problem.
Because of the "Just Over Broke" circumstance, propaganda as a mind setting, behavioral control technology has been identified
on top of the propaganda produced waves.
Its many victims are seeking treatment from a Doctor..and engaging in class action lawsuits against those that infected
their society with such trash.

Most Americans with jobs agree, they are not only trapped with debt on house,
home, school and car, but their salaries have rendered them "just over broke"..
American recognize debt to be the bars of a prison, and understand
their jobs they have allow the friends of the warren to get rich.

Tennessee Ernie Ford's song in the late 50s expressed the American job landscape well
but back then the coal mining sector was being phased out in favor of oil and gas conspiracy.
Another day older and deeper in Debt <=that debt today is the America
dream (home) and American duty has become (get a degree from a franchised,
monopoly powered, feudal corporate Lord approved learning institution, if you
want to earn a little bit more so you can pay off your debts and be able to
afford health insurance and establish a retirement fund for your old age).
Song entitled 16 tons, by Tennessee Ernie Ford
Another day older and deeper in debt
I owe my Soul to the company store..

Posted by: snake | Oct 1 2019 13:17 utc | 60

Addendum to @59 above: The silencing of voices inconvenient to the empire on Twitter is case in point for how art must conform to the interests of the economic elites. While few tweets rise to a level that could be called fine art, they are still works of art, if only crappy low-brow ones on par with the barking of dogs.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 1 2019 13:18 utc | 61

Thanks to James at #61 for the link to the Democracy Now interview of Edward Snowden by Amy Goodman. The whole piece was very informative, and there is to be a second part, hopefully soon. I was particularly taken by the question he raised by saying definitively that the operations he helped uncover were "never about surveillance." He buttressed the point by giving the example of the one successful surveillance operation to uncover funding by a cab driver of terrorists - that could have happened using non-invasive investigatory procedures. So, why then violate the Constitution?

The answer to that, I don't think was fully explored - instead the persecution of whistleblowers was discussed.

Maybe that's the answer.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 1 2019 14:12 utc | 62

William Gruff@61, if as you say it is artistic expression that is being suppressed, one thinks of soviet 'art' and that time in Russia when all artistic endeavor was being persecuted, while at the same time what was allowed was what the state had determined to be useful for its purposes. A case in point is the book "Master and Margarita" which Bulgakov kept in a drawer in fear of persecution. And more well known as perhaps propagandistically released, would be "Dr. Zhivago".

Buffoonery is also a kind of artistic expression.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 1 2019 14:32 utc | 63

"...It is unfortunately the case that art cannot transcend economic realities.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 1 2019 13:08 utc |

I would posit, based on historical examples, that great art can, and does.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 1 2019 14:42 utc | 64

"This is a marriage of the powers of large companies' and the government for manipulating the opinion of the public. It is dangerous."

Its called Fascism.

Posted by: oops | Oct 1 2019 14:44 utc | 65

juliania @63

Did the Soviets really succeed in creating a classless society? I had assumed not, but perhaps you know better than I do. I would love to be better informed on that matter if my assumptions are incorrect.

I would also love to have my ignorance of art, great or otherwise, that transcends the economic realities of the period in which it is created addressed. I cannot think of notable examples of art that were impactful and challenged the reigning socioeconomic paradigms of the times and places in which they were manufactured, but that could simply be a personal limitation of my own. Perhaps you could help me lessen that limitation by providing me with some examples?

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 1 2019 15:04 utc | 66

juliania @63

I would like to respectfully request that you not appoint yourself arbiter on what does and does not constitute artistic expression. I have seen those who attempt to express themselves do so simply through piling of rocks or splashing of colorants on various media. While I may not comprehend the artistry involved in that, I am hesitant to employ my lack of understanding of it as proof that it isn't art. I think my stance on the matter is a reasonable one and perhaps one that your could consider adopting for yourself. Specifically, buffoonery strikes me as an endeavor that is rich in opportunities for artistic expression.

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 1 2019 15:14 utc | 67

So many attacks upon our freedoms it is small wonder that some fall into memory holes.
Here is one. Just one. My small bit for keeping us all awoke.

Obama was Prez in 2016.

(Bold highlight is mine)

December 08, 2016

Senate Passes Major Portman-Murphy Counter-Propaganda Bill as Part of NDAA
Portman/Murphy Bill Promotes Coordinated Strategy to Defend America,
Allies Against Propaganda and Disinformation from Russia, China & Others

The first priority is developing a whole-of-government strategy for countering
foreign propaganda and disinformation. The bill would increase the authority,
resources, and mandate of the Global Engagement Center to include state actors
like Russia and China in addition to violent extremists. The Center will be
led by the State Department, but with the active senior level participation
of the Department of Defense, USAID, the Broadcasting Board of Governors,
the Intelligence Community, and other relevant agencies. The Center will
develop, integrate, and synchronize whole-of-government initiatives to expose
and counter foreign disinformation operations and proactively advance fact-based
narratives that support U.S. allies and interests.

Second, the legislation seeks to leverage expertise from outside government to
create more adaptive and responsive U.S. strategy options. The legislation
establishes a fund to help train local journalists and provide grants and
contracts to NGOs, civil society organizations, think tanks, private sector companies,
media organizations,
and other experts outside the U.S. government with experience
in identifying and analyzing the latest trends in foreign government disinformation
techniques. This fund will complement and support the Center’s role by integrating
capabilities and expertise available outside the U.S. government into the
strategy-making process. It will also empower a decentralized network of private
sector experts and integrate their expertise into the strategy-making process.


"Have a new thought", for today:

Will Joe Biden hand off his delegates to Hillary Clinton?

Posted by: librul | Oct 1 2019 15:20 utc | 68

William Gruff @66--

The Soviets created a whole different set of classes than what existed prior to their gaining power. The very terms Nomenclatura and Neculturny (phoneticized) are but two. As within the military so it was within the Communist Party--ranks--and differing ranks had different privileges. The Revolutionary Zeal to create a classless society soon wore off in practice but remained present in State Propaganda, which generated the corruptive rot that eventually destroyed the system from within--the continual proclamation that the USSR was something it most obviously wasn't. It's the same trap the Chinese have tried very hard to avoid, as well as the Cubans, Koreans, Vietnamese. It's endemic to hierarchies of all types. And hierarchies are a result of Nature, and thus impossible to purge no matter how hard the effort.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 1 2019 15:36 utc | 69

Dear Mr. Gruff at 66 - I could provide examples, and did above, but prime one is Shakespeare. What I am saying (and I am not disagreeing with the large part of your observation about art) can be seen in my comments to this article at the following place, not a bar but a cafe:

Posted by: juliania | Oct 1 2019 15:49 utc | 70

It's endemic to hierarchies of all types. And hierarchies are a result of Nature, and thus impossible to purge no matter how hard the effort.

They will always eventually corrupt.
That is why horizontally organized anarchist or syndicalist organizations are a possible solution.
When tried, they are immediately suppressed by the State, right or left.

Posted by: Duncan Idaho | Oct 1 2019 16:05 utc | 71

So as I skim Reuters this morning I see multiple postings about the "fact" that China has now shot (not killed) a teenager in HK after 4 months of nasty protests.

Compare that, if you will, to the Reuters coverage of the ongoing killings as well as shootings of protesters in Occupied Palestine.

Blatant hypocrisy anyone?

Posted by: psychohistorian | Oct 1 2019 16:05 utc | 72

"China’s success an alternative to Western development model" is an "informational" op/ed in today's Global Times written by the "director of the Institute of Information Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences," or what might be construed as Chinese PR--PR always being short for Propaganda. I don't think anyone can fault China for publishing this sort of PR on its 70th anniversary, although my main complaint is that it's so poorly written--it's quite a bit like the Soviet type PR I criticize @70. The concluding paragraphs do finally warm to the moment:

"China has come up with some new development concepts. It emphasizes realizing comprehensive and coordinated development in economy, politics, society, culture and ecology by continuous reform. This can be learned by other countries, especially developing ones.

"China has called for building a community of shared future for mankind and achieving shared and win-win development with other countries. The global harmony can be achieved through coexistence, extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits. China’s view for building a community of shared future for mankind is in sharp contrast to some great powers’ moves, such as pursuing unilateralism, tearing up international treaties and withdrawing from international organizations. Clearly, China has now taken the moral high ground in the international community."

How will the world go about creating "global harmony" when competition rather than cooperation remains the main driving force? And the job for propagandists within such a situation is to do what; what sort of lies will be promoted and why? How much does all that really differ from Soviet PR? How much longer until the corruptive rot within the Neoliberal realm causes it to collapse? How much of a clue are we being given by the levels of desperation we're seeing in the political battles ongoing within UK and Outlaw US Empire?

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 1 2019 16:06 utc | 73

Funny (strange, not haha) how all those terrorists, and white hemets operatives, all have smart phones and twitter accounts.
Posted by: Josh | Sep 30 2019 17:13 utc | 2

Indeed, and one wonders whether it is Gordon MacMillan's main job in Twitter to proactively provide supporting services and facilitation to terrorists including White Helmets terrorists, and to withdraw support from their detractors.

Posted by: BM | Oct 1 2019 16:11 utc | 74

69;what delegates?he hasn't the delegates to give her.

Posted by: dahoit | Oct 1 2019 16:13 utc | 75

@jo-anne @ 54:

No. You don't hire a cokehead failson like Hunter Biden as the point man for anything, and the CIA has enough sense not to hire someone so intimately tied to a particular US administration. For that matter, they also wouldn't pay Hunter so lavishly as to attract attention.

Hunter was hired for the political cover he provided. Cover which was apparently put to good use. Nothing more.

Posted by: Sid Finster | Oct 1 2019 16:21 utc | 76

Good timing, b.
The Judeo-Christian Totalitarian Capitalist West is drowning in an ocean of unmitigated bullshit and suffocating under a disingenuous slew of laws designed to undermine many "traditional Western values" not least of which being freedom from fact-free assertions and bogus accusations.

We've just been reminded that the Commie PRC has raised 500 million Chinese Citizens out of poverty in 70 years. Whilst in the last 25 years the J-C Totalitarian Capitalist West has managed to reduce 250 million non-Chinese citizens of the world to a future of uncertainty, poverty and squalor.

Expect the PRC to offer the un-Christian West an ultimatum within the next decade...
"Please consider growing a brain. The PRC will no longer tolerate The West's acts of unprovoked aggression against China, or its interests."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Oct 1 2019 16:26 utc | 77

On art...

Good luck with finding a universally agreeable definition of art.

But there seems wide agreement that art always involves communication or, at least, always an attempt to communicate some effect. That effect is on an audience and/or the creator of the communication.

The above is not a definition. But if art is viewed as always involving communication, then somehow, that naturally involves the matter of quality.

As for art, any observer now can make their own assessment based on the effects produced .

Posted by: chu teh | Oct 1 2019 16:32 utc | 78

@52 william gruff.. thanks for articulating the idea that way... that is what artists refer to as commercial, as opposed to art.. and yes - doing anything with art as the primary focus is mostly a thankless act on the world stage.. @59.. i appreciate you taking the time to articulate all that.. i mostly starve... i understand the differences you describe..

@62 juliania.. you're welcome.. i didn't know a 2nd installment is coming..

re the back and forth with wg and juliania... i relate to what juliania is saying.. i'm sorry i can't be more articulate..

Posted by: james | Oct 1 2019 16:39 utc | 79

@ 79 chu teh.. that is a good way to describe it - art as communication... i think of music this way.. 90% of the time i play instrumental music.. so, the comparison by william gruff to twitter and censorship is a good one... the voices that are heard are the ones that have offical acceptance and the ones that aren't, are the ones that are silenced.. i don't think this is always the case, but probably a very high percent of the time it is...

Posted by: james | Oct 1 2019 16:41 utc | 80

re: art and propaganda. There must be a communication to produce any effect, including propaganda [what is being propagated!].

Of course, there is high-level communication [say, a Van Gogh masterpiece] or low-level [say, a bullet].

As for getting attention to initiate some communication, that would seem to be vital.

Posted by: chu teh | Oct 1 2019 16:48 utc | 81

'..hierarchies are a result of Nature, and thus impossible to purge no matter how hard the effort." karlof1@70
No they are not. The sort to which you refer are a result of exploitation. Some hierarchies, such as those which existed in the Iroquoian societies (which are typical) come from age and sex differentiation of roles. But the sort of hierarchies that exist in class society are a function of the need to hold down victims during the commission of armed robbery.
It is to give too much to the bourgeoisie to go along with their lazy "hierarchies are inevitable so equality is impossible" apologia.

Posted by: bevin | Oct 1 2019 17:10 utc | 82

@ Posted by: chu teh | Oct 1 2019 5:51 utc | 45

Mussolini wanted to revive the Roman Empire and thus revived its symbols. You can still find sewers with the inscription "SPQR" in Rome.

This was necessary because an important ingredient of all nations who adopted a form of fascism have one ingredient in common: they arrived late at the colonial game and thus needed a very strong national narrative to legitimize to the masses going to war against the traditional colonial superpowers in order to take their colonies. That's why Mussolini wasted time trying to conquer North Africa and one of the reasons why Hitler wasted time conquering France.

The concept of three powers (executive, legislative and judiciary) is an illuminist invention. The Romans didn't divide their power that way, hence, e.g. a praetor was both a judge and a high ranked officer (mostly, depending if he was campaigning or not).

Lictors were the bodyguards of the magistrates. They carried the fasces as the symbol of the law. Their number varied according to the importance of the office The most powerful office, the consul, had 12 lictors. The dictator, who governed alone, had 24. Lictors arose from the technological limitations of the time: lines of communication were precarious and most of the time justice had to be enforced on the spot. On the other side, the magistrate had to be respected by fear in order not to be assassinated by a mob. If memory doesn't fail me, lictors removed the axes of their fascii when entering the pomerium because Roman citizens couldn't be judged without a trial.


@ Posted by: james | Oct 1 2019 5:52 utc | 46

Marx doesn't have an art theory, but he once wrote in a letter to one friend that, in the ideal world (communism), the artist would have absolute freedom in his art. Many post-war Marxists interpeted this as some kind of theory and used this to accuse the USSR of "degeneracy".

But Marx said that in the context of ideal world. In today's world we have classs division. The artist is thus a member of a class, with its respective class interests. He will choose the themes and languages of his art according to what will sell, and what will sell the for the highest price. The artist today is a liberal professional or, in the cases of the most successful ones, capitalists themselves. They are political beings, and their art will never be "for art's sake".


@ Posted by: juliania | Oct 1 2019 14:32 utc | 63

The problem with Soviet art is that it was treated as any other sector of production. They centralized it and thus created a system of "single payer", where the only consumer of art was the central government. Since the central government was the only "demand" for art, it could decide what was produced and what wasn't.

But they didn't realize art has many particularities other productive sectors don't. One of them is that it is an inherently human expression. What they should've made is to offer the funding, delineate the infrastructural limits to the artists and do some kind of public and open selection process, without thematic restrictions.


@ Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 1 2019 15:04 utc | 66

It's very complex. In some ways, many contradictions that brought down the USSR was fruit of its own success.

It was a classless society because there was no inheritance system there: it was impossible to establish a political dinasty in the USSR and all the privileges an officer had emanated fron the office itself, not on the family name. There's a reason you don't hear about Stalins or Krushchevs or Zhukovs or Brezhnevs after their respective deaths.

But it wasn't a classless society in the sense some jobs had more privileges than others: the high officers of 1991 became the oligarchs if today's Russian Federation, but that was inlt because they were at the right time, in the right place.

What is nit up to debate is that, even at the eve of its collapse, the USSR was much more egalitarian than the West: we can attest this by the level of inequality that arose in the Russian Federation while tsking into account the levels of poverty.


@ Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 1 2019 16:06 utc | 74

You can also propagandize the truth.

Not only you can, but uou should: rule 1 of propaganda is that it is more credible and more lasting the more truth it has.

Posted by: vk | Oct 1 2019 17:11 utc | 83

I am wondering if great art isn't always born out of the need to counter a prevailing condition of tyranny. I can't remember what Plato says about the cycle of governments, just that democracy tends to oligarchy, as I recall due to its excesses of freedoms producing those who would co-opt the same. I think tyranny comes next, and maybe somebody has to drink hemlock to motivate an ongoing sequential part of the cycle. Don't quote me on that as I'm probably remembering wrong, but to me it seems the story of Socrates has some familiar resonance today. We do have Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning, not to mention Edward Snowden who is as James has reminded us, in an exile for very similar reasons. All, including Socrates, accused of subverting the State, while they each remind us of what a State ought to be.

So, three are needed where once there was but one. And as Mr. Gruff has pointed out, that is the makings of art. I just propose art as a green shoot pushing up through concrete, asphalt, even rubble. It's gonna happen.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 1 2019 17:26 utc | 84

@ Posted by: dahoit | Oct 1 2019 16:13 utc | 76

Have you reconsidered your post yet?

If not, why not?

Posted by: librul | Oct 1 2019 17:38 utc | 85

@ Posted by: juliania | Oct 1 2019 17:26 utc | 85

The concept of art itself is very new and, even if you extrapolate, it changed a lot over time. Art is definitely not universal and the way we appreciate today art od the distant past is not the same people in past times appreciated it (if they did st all).

Now, you can argue a biological predisposition if the homo sapiens towards aesthetic fruition and expression. But here we would be entering in the realm of neurology, not History.

Posted by: vk | Oct 1 2019 17:40 utc | 86

capitalist societies can simply pump an overwhelming amount of entertainment to the masses, at a never seen before cheap cost: humanity consumed more entertainment in 10 years of capitalism than in the last 2 million years of its previous existence for sure.
Posted by: vk | Oct 1 2019 3:02 utc | 35

Touchée, vk! Over that last decade (more like two, actually) "entertainment" has exploded into one of the most dangerous threats to society, zombifying its victims and denying them the ability to think for themselves. This is a very deliberate policy, I have been convinced of that for well over 10 years. As entertainment captures and holds our attention (Posted by: chu teh | Oct 1 2019 4:40 utc | 43), it obscures and denies us the ability to think and to question. Ever since a decade ago it has been obvious to me that with youth listening 24/7 to music they are being turned into zombies. Analytical thought is so suppressed it is virtually switched off. Then is was mostly music - today it is more crap movies and mindless video games - which is even worse.

As entertainment captures and holds our attention, it provides the ideal vehicle for the transmission of propaganda and remote control. To understand this in black and white, the most obvious example is the subliminal images that can be inserted as single frames in a movie: for example if we like chocolate cake, and someone covertly inserts a picture of chocolate cake as a single frame in a movie, we are not conscious of that image, but our minds absorb the information unconsciously and we start thinking about and craving for chocolate cake. In reality the propaganda possibilities hidden in entertainment are much broader and loose-ended than this, with fine or even disappearing borders between medium and message.

By zombifying us with non-stop entertainment, TPTB have succeeded in switching off our attentiveness to the real world and our ability to question. Instead we are coccooned in a virtual - and mindless - world of our entertainment obsessions, and have no time or interest or energy to think about politics, real society, and the problems of the world, or reality.

Is it any wonder, then, that the whole of western society is so disinterested, indifferent, and unengaged? Compare the huge demonstrations just before the Iraq war in 2003 to the flacid disinterest today.

That is deliberate poicy, and always was. Entertainment is a weapon indeed.

Posted by: james | Oct 1 2019 5:52 utc | 46
Maybe that helps answer your question, James?

Posted by: BM | Oct 1 2019 18:02 utc | 87

A global manufacturing recession, by Michael Roberts.

The author quotes an undisclosed JP Morgan report. Highly recommend the read.

Posted by: vk | Oct 1 2019 18:06 utc | 88

bevin @83--

Sorry, but we're going to disagree on what's readily apparent within Nature where hierarchies abound within every specie--it's not an apologia; it's a fact of Nature. For millennia, naturalists have observed Nature as closely as possible in an attempt to discover why Nature operates in the manner it does, and the only answer agreed upon to this day is that it confers a competitive advantage to species survival. Microbes that chose symbiosis as a means of evolving are dominant over those that didn't. Their multiple organelles allowed them to process sources of energy more efficiently which allowed them to dominate the hierarchy, and the same has proven true as organism complexity grew and evolved. What initially occurred within the Microcosmos continued in the Macrocosmos. And no matter how much effort is put toward it, humans can't dodge the fact that they're animals subjected to the same Laws of Nature. However, IMO, there's one tool humans could use to negate hierarchies--Culture--but it can't be done overnight or even over several generations as all humans would have to become one with that culture--the "global harmony" expressed @74. And how would they become convinced that's the proper way to organize themselves? Well, through propaganda, of course!

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 1 2019 18:12 utc | 89

I don't know, vk. Those cave paintings of horses are about the most beautiful horse paintings I've ever seen, and just because other art may not have been preserved doesn't mean it didn't exist before iceages and whatnot erased them. I'm not going to argue anything biological because there's a huge mystery in the human component. We are animals for sure, but then too, we are something else.

Just my opinion of course.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 1 2019 19:52 utc | 90

I'm sorry, William Gruff at 66 - I think you misunderstood my post. I didn't say that the Soviets created a classless society; I said they repressed artists so severely that art stultified under them. Another work which best expresses this is Solzhenitsyn's "The First Circle." It deals with scientists as prisoners working to create a system of listening in on everyone's communications - sound familiar?

Solzhenitsyn's novel has a bitter ending, and indeed so it seemed when that novel was new. But somehow the fates decreed otherwise, and I would submit that novel, as art, had some part to play in the awakening of the Russian conscience. Just as Dostoievski had done for the masses before the rot set in. Even art can't do it all, unfortunately. The human spirit has a part to play, and conscience especially, when found in the most unlikely places. Somebody even might be reading this and having second thoughts...that's how it works.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 1 2019 20:03 utc | 91

bevin | Sep 30 2019 17:47 utc | 5

The right wing acts. The left whinges and saves all its energy for internecine feuds.

This is true. There is a reason for it: the left is mostly skint, the right is in control of the national purse. Therefore the right is able to employ agents provocateurs to cause disruption and internecine feuds inside any leftwing organisation that looks as though it might get its act together. The left cannot do the same to rightwing organisations, largely for financial reasons, but also because if it tried to, it is so riddled with spies and stoolpigeons that it would be found out in a blink..

Posted by: foolisholdman | Oct 1 2019 20:06 utc | 92

@ Posted by: juliania | Oct 1 2019 20:03 utc | 91

It is widely accepted nowadays that Solzhenitsyn is not a reliable source. He was a refugee for decades but wrote his stories as if he was a high Soviet officer with ample data on the USSR. To put is simply, there's no way he could know what he claimed to know in his novels, so they must be considered fictional.

Posted by: vk | Oct 1 2019 20:52 utc | 93

Yes, fictional - I agree! That's what a novel is.

Perhaps this will resonate better. Mikhail Bulkakov died at the age of 49 in 1940, and I quote the translator of his novel "The Master and Margarita" thusly: "...The mere existence of the manuscript, had it come to the knowledge of Stalin's police, would almost certainly have led to the permanent disappearance of its author...another 26 years had to pass before ... The Master and Margarita by what seems a surprisng oversight in Soviet literary politics, finally appeared in print...Moskva carried the first part... The 150,000 copies sold out within hours. In the weeks that followed, group readings were held, people meeting each other would quote and compare favorite passages, there was talk of little else. Certain sentences from the novel immediately became proverbial. The very language of the novel was a contradiction of everything wooden, official, imposed. It was a joy to speak..."

I would not have to explain this to Russians. How some literary novel, fiction not fact (!), could so as Pevear says, "electrify" an oppressed people. But it happened.

Posted by: juliania | Oct 1 2019 21:11 utc | 94

juliania @90--

Regarding those cave paintings, I highly suggest The Mind in the Cave: Consciousness and the Origins of Art. When I finished it, I couldn't help seeing connections between Jung's Anima/Animus and what the cave artists were constructing. We had a short chat about art last night after dinner when we both began listing its many genres then stopped and just said Art or we'll be here all night just reciting all its forms.

Posted by: karlof1 | Oct 1 2019 21:21 utc | 95

William Gruff | Oct 1 2019 13:08 utc | 59

Thank you for a very clear and I would judge insightful description of the relationship of art to class. It makes very clear, the meaning of such terms as 'socialist realism'. It is the first time I have come across any explanation of the subject that I found satisfactory.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Oct 1 2019 21:40 utc | 96

Posted by: William Gruff | Oct 1 2019 15:04 utc | 66

Did the Soviets really succeed in creating a classless society? I had assumed not, but perhaps you know better than I do. I would love to be better informed on that matter if my assumptions are incorrect.

The USSR certainly did not create a classless society, nor did it ever claim to have done so. Such a claim (if it ever even existed) could be found only in Western propaganda. The nearest it got to such a claim was to have created a socialist society.

Posted by: foolisholdman | Oct 1 2019 21:56 utc | 97

The disgusting and raw onion eating Orde Wingate was actually Plymouth Brethren, even more fanatically Zionist than the S.D. Adventists.

His military failures, racial and religious hatreds are routinely overlooked by the usual suspects.

Cambridge Analytica, 77 Brigade et al are the real "Russians."

Posted by: Paul | Oct 1 2019 22:28 utc | 98

@ Posted by: juliania | Oct 1 2019 21:11 utc | 94

I'm not a Solzhenitsyn specialist, so I cannot state exactly where he lied and where he told the truth.

But from secondary sources that I read it seems Solzhenitsyn's main propaganda weapon was that of exaggeration: he amplified the negative aspects of the USSR on another order of magnitude.

It was from Solzhenitsyn, for example, that the myth that the USSR functioned on slave labor was perpetuated in the West. It was later found out that prison population in the USSR never went above 2%.

Other numbers of the terror were also highly exaggerated. He painted a much darker picture of the USSR than it really was, as we now know better after access to the Soviet archives were open to the West.

But the problem wasn't Solzhenitsyn per se, but the fact that he was essentially defied in the West: he received a nice house in the Northeast, bodyguards and probably a nice pension, and everything he published during the Cold War was treated by the media as scientific truth. In reality, Solzhenitsyn was just a fiction writer, as we can attest when he returned to Russia in the 1990s: disillusioned with what he saw, he vainly proposed some kind of popular republic that didn't have any practical utility. He died in obscurity in Moscow, even though he was later kind of canonized by the Putin government in his funeral.

Exaggeration as a propaganda is not a novelty in Western history. It is present since one of the first historians ever, of the Roman Republic. This was specially true in the numbers of the enemy defeated. Julius Caesar, for example, is credited to have killed or sold to slavery circa 1 million Gauls -- that would mean an almost complete genocide and certainly didn't happen at that scale.

Posted by: vk | Oct 1 2019 22:49 utc | 99

"The concept of art itself is very new and, even if you extrapolate, it changed a lot over time. Art is definitely not universal and the way we appreciate today art od the distant past is not the same people in past times appreciated it (if they did st all)."

I don't know how you can assert this with such confidence. Actually, the first two assertions do not compute. The concept of art may have changed, but art has been with humans from the beginning.
Have you been in any museums that have collections of Greek art?
How in the world do you know how people of the past appreciated art?
The fact that art of the past exists suggests that people "appreciated" it one way or another. Otherwise it would not exist. Or, what exactly do you mean by "people"? And how come the art of the distant past is in so many respects superior to what is produced today? Many techniques developed "in the distant past" cannot even be re-created by artists today, despite the many more materials that chemistry and experimentation have made available to artists.
A pretty ill thought out statement if I may say so. In fact, bollocks.

Posted by: Really? | Oct 1 2019 23:46 utc | 100

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