Sunday, June 18, 2023

Mind control

An article in History News Network dealing with how Capitalist propaganda is controlled and disseminated has some interesting examples of how American capitalism endeavoured to do this as these extracts show.

In the 1920s, private electrical utilities faced a dilemma. They resisted rural electrification as it wasn’t profitable, but they didn’t want the government to step in and provide the service. The solution that the National Electric Light Association (NELA) settled upon was a propaganda effort through the schools. By influencing textbooks and teachers, went the thinking, these titans of lighting hoped to shape the future generations. These 1920s-era young people, having learned in school that government regulation and public ownership were bad, would grow up to cast their votes for officials who felt the same.

The effort backfired spectacularly. A years-long investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, which documented the group’s disinformation campaign in an eighty-volume set, made NELA a poster child for capitalism run amok. But the concern that schools were churning out kids who were inadequately enamoured of the free market — and that getting them the “correct information” would fix this — persisted.

Two decades later, fresh off an effort to roll back the New Deal and blunt the growing power of organised labour, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) launched a far-reaching campaign to sniff out “socialist” textbooks. After reviewing more than five hundred economics, history, social studies, and civics texts, the group concluded that many were hostile to the free-enterprise system. In a precursor to present-day book bans NAM’s warnings of socialism in schools would result in thousands of books being removed.”

In the German Ideologywritten in 1846 Marx and Engels were way ahead of the game. They explained the Materialistic Conception of History and how a ruling class can manipulate impose and achieve support for its aims and continuation.

The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas, i.e. the class which is the ruling material force of society, is at the same time its ruling intellectual force. The class which has the means of material production at its disposal, has control at the same time over the means of mental production, so that thereby, generally speaking, the ideas of those who lack the means of mental production are subject to it. The ruling ideas are nothing more than the ideal expression of the dominant material relationships, the dominant material relationships grasped as ideas; hence of the relationships which make the one class the ruling one, therefore, the ideas of its dominance. The individuals composing the ruling class possess among other things consciousness, and therefore think. Insofar, therefore, as they rule as a class and determine the extent and compass of an epoch, it is self-evident that they do this in its whole range, hence among other things rule also as thinkers, as producers of ideas, and regulate the production and distribution of the ideas of their age: thus their ideas are the ruling ideas of the epoch.”

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