This is a term I’ve been using to talk about corporate media. My examples come from my two countries: India and USA.
I just had an opportunity to present a lecture to a group of students at University of Basel, Switzerland. I share some of the thoughts with you, with hope that we expand on the concept. Use your own examples, and join us on this conversation. ________________________________________________
In their groundbreaking work Manufacturing Consent (1988), Noam Chomsky and Ed Herman proposed that mass communication media of the U.S. “are effective and powerful ideological institutions that carry out a system-supportive propaganda function, by reliance on market forces, internalized assumptions, and self-censorship, and without overt coercion,” (no explicit media censorship is in place) by means of the propaganda model of communication.
In our present discussion, we concentrate on the market-driven self-censorship aspect of corporate media in a broader and expanded context – a subtle and politically designed act – that has greatly influenced and driven today’s ruling class to impose their views and perceptions across the world.
It is an integral part of the neoliberal economic and political model that has made the rich and influential even richer and more influential – at the expense of the middle class and poor. In today’s globalized civilization, “self-censorship” is pervasive across cultures and communities, and obvious beyond the realm of media. A climate of apathy, fear and lack of reasoning has gripped the larger society.
In today’s discussion, however, we focus on media, where total or partial exclusion of news and information, distortion, lessening the importance of news, stereotyping of races, nationalities, religions and lifestyles, as well as making the trivial and insignificant headline news are some of the manifests of this concept what we can term Journalism of Exclusion.
To my knowledge, USA and India have in particular followed this model especially since the decline of regulated media and economy, followed by privatization and consolidation of news networks. The one percent of both countries used this concept of suppression, undermining and self-censorship of news, information, and views under a plural-majority “democratic” structure, and achieved great success in manipulating minds of the old and young generation alike in favor of today’s pro-1% status-quo system.
In today’s class, we discuss examples of Journalism of Exclusion in the following contexts: (1) politics, (2) economics, (3) society, culture and history. Our hope is that together, we shall expand on these topics, with inclusion of our own experiences from various countries and different walks of life.
Do you really know what media is, or how it works? Do you know media’s politics?
Here is my two cents. I have actually studied media ethics, and even got some acclaim, when I studied journalism at the well-known Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. I’d like to share my observations with you.
Media — like New York Times, CNN, Fox, BBC, Times of India, etc. — do not work for us, i.e., the ordinary people. They work for, and owned by, the 1%. Murdoch, Ambani, or Disney. Or, by special interests. And they are almost always dictated by the policies of the corporations that advertise in them. Media can never go against the will of their owners, or advertisers. Outside of the small world of alternative, not-for-profit media, there is no such thing as free press.
American media, Indian media, or British media — are NOT free.
How do big media treat us, or rather, use us? We the 99% are their market to sell their news, and make maximum profit, and political power. News is not neutral, objective, or balanced. In fact, news is not even news. It’s an item to sell on this market, just like a car, potato chips, pizza, or say, guns or grenades. Or, private prisons. You add your list of items to buy, sell, and make profit from.
Media houses and corporations have no reason to work for us, even though there are many dedicated, honest, often risk-taking journalists working for them. But these journalists do not decide what news is, or how it is printed, aired, or broadcast. It’s the owners and their fat-cat editors who decide it. They decide what is news, and what is not. They decide how to twist and manipulate news. They decide what is first-page news, or to be aired first. They decide who is an expert, and who is not. They decide which issue to prioritize, and which issue to exclude or undermine. And we follow them blindly even though privately many of us talk about how dishonest media channels are, or joke about a newspaper’s self-professed honesty.
Big media make Trump, Clinton, Blair, Queen Elizabeth, the British princes, or India’s Modi or the Gandhi Dynasty. Basically, big media always give coverage to the big parties, and their big-named leaders, who are often corrupt and extremely rich, in varying degrees. Personally corrupt, or politically corrupt. Or, as in case of Trump, both.
Leaders like Bernie Sanders are always undermined by big media: We the People do not get to hear their POV. Big media make Iraq war, Kashmir war, North Korean war…or many other wars American powers have always been involved with — for ages. Big media demonize Cuba, Palestine, Vietnam, or using a most recent example, undocumented immigrants in America and Muslim migrants in India. Big media create friends and enemies, angels or villains. Media make us forget, with their propaganda, that before Saddam Hussain was demonized, the U.S. government loved him, and gave him national honors when he visited this country.
Big media such as the New York Times or CNN hardly ever mentions how big leaders like John McCain met with ISIS leaders, and offered their support for the terror group.
How do media do it? They do it by journalism of inclusion (i.e., what gets in), and they do it by what I call “Journalism of Exclusion.” That is, what gets out. That is, not covering, de-prioritizing, or lying or gravely distorting about news that matter to us. Like, a union strike: why do workers strike? What are the circumstances, when workers brave the harsh winter, lack of pay, lack of health care, lack of family life, and lack of a normal life? How much does the company’s CEO make, and how much do the workers make? Why would the rich CEO and his people cut benefits and wages for the workers? Think of the ongoing Charter-Spectrum strike here in New York. The workers are striking for nine months already! Where is the media coverage? (Update: as of November 2019, the strike has reached its 3-year milestone: still, no resolution.)
Big media let big banks and Wall Street CEO’s off the hook, and legitimize government bailouts of the extreme rich. Our pension cut is not important news for them, and police killings of the poor is trivial news. They don’t report clearly how much the cricket players, baseball or golf players make, or film stars make, and do not report their tax evasions.
Corporate media do not tell us how toxic junk foods or many prescription drugs are. Most people have no idea what they eating, drinking, or using as medications.
Big media, corporate media perpetuate an impression that this is a functioning democracy, that this is the best working system in the world, and that there are no other alternatives. It’s a political game, and it’s also a game of monopoly.
Most people do not understand their politics, or their game of profit.
I hope you use your real-life experience and intelligence to observe and analyze media.
Brooklyn, New York
Cartoon from International Politics, and No Lies Radio. Used for one-time, not-for-profit purpose.
“Audiences of mass media do not exist a priori. They are actively constructed through careful programming decisions and marketing strategies, as well as transnational flows of information, capital, and commodities, and in some cases, the agendas of the nation-state.” (Purnima Mankekar, 1999).
That’s mass media today, as written by an Indian woman scholar. But average response to her observation will be like as follows.
Like, (1) “Who cares?” Or, like, (2) “What are you talking about?” Or, (3) “Those lefty intellectuals!” Or, (4) “What’s the big deal? Doesn’t everybody do it?” Or, (5) “Well, they’re doing business too, just like everyone else!”
How can you talk substance to a vast majority of dumbed-down people — people who not understand the objective voice of reason? People who do not know the difference between journalism and propaganda?
Media propaganda has reached an unbelievable, abysmal low. Both in USA and in India. New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox, etc. here in America. And their counterpart media in India. All these media are either directly owned or totally subsidized by corporate businesses. GE, Disney, Exxon, Wal-Mart, Reliance, Ambani, Tata. Very few people make the connection.
They have actively silenced any voice of dissent, and killed any possible debate. But most people do not understand this game. The 1% have successfully created an illusion that this is freedom, free thinking, and democracy.
USA’s illegal war, bombing and killing of innocent people in a faraway land are now completely legitimized. Economic terror, religious violence, hatred and bigotry of Gandhi murderers are now totally acceptable.
Nobody even blinks to wonder how is it possible that in a so-called “Land of the Free,” 25% of world’s prisoners are rotting in U.S. jails. Nobody pauses for a second to question how the U.S. media are doing 24/7 propaganda for Trump’s illegal bombing in Syria.
In a two-party system, both parties are now wings of the 1%. Republicans and Democrats in USA. BJP and Congress in India.
So, contrary to what NYTimes, CNN and big media wanted us to believe, Bernie Sanders’ campaign is alive and well: as of now (8.45 P.M.), out of the five states, Sanders is ahead in Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Not the best possible news for Hillary and DNC. Not the way they wanted it tonight.
Huge, unprecedented amount of money and establishment DNC machinery have successfully stopped the phenomenal, young-generation-driven Bernie Sanders momentum by rigging the election in New York and creating a media-manufactured Hillary sentiment (which I have outlined in my previous blog post at humanitycollege.org).
I do not believe in the “lesser evil” theory (i.e., in case Bernie cannot be the Democratic nominee, we should vote for Hillary to stop Trump). I have come to a point in my life where I have decided that (1) pro-1% candidates are all more or less the same because they are all working for the extremely powerful forces that have destroyed America and the world; (2) especially when it is now proven beyond doubt that anti-people, evil corporations such as Monsanto, Goldman Sachs, Wal-Mart, Exxon, GE, Verizon and private prison industries have contributed millions to the Hillary campaign, there is no way I could vote for their chosen candidate; and (3) While I know it very well that Trump, Cruz and their forces are very dangerous to mankind because they are fascists, racists and bigots supported by Koch Brothers, Karl Rove, Heritage Foundation or Cato Institute, I do not believe that by promoting and perpetuating the “lesser-evil” vote-democracy, the ordinary men, women and families’ problems will be ever addressed or solved.
Band aids do not cure cancer. Period.
I worked very hard for an Obama victory in 2008, and then my hopes for a change were quickly dashed when I saw how he immediately put Goldman Sachs, Monsanto and GE executives as well as extremely corrupt politicians such as Rahm Emmanuel in key positions of his administration.
Income inequality has risen in America since 2008, no meaningful labor union or immigration reform was ever passed (people forgot about EFCA or CIR; union density has in fact gone down), police brutality against African-Americans has skyrocketed, and unemployment in the minority communities has reached an all-time high. These are ALL proofs as we speak today that perpetuating the status-quo just to stop the Republicans is failed politics.
I have come to believe that NYTimes, CNN, NBC, and Wall Street key forces who are supporting Hillary Clinton want us to overlook this important lesson from history that ONLY a pro-99% bridge building — nonviolently and democratically across the moderate left-right spectrum — can ultimately empower us.
Bernie Sanders’ massive victories in “rural and conservative” New York, Oklahoma, Kansas or Colorado show us that indeed, such a broad-based people’s coming together is possible, based on common issues, challenges, and experiences.
Bernie Sanders may or may not be the next president of USA, but this incredible upswell of the mass, led by the young generation, is happening right now, and America has changed deep inside once and for all. It’s only a matter of time before the dream of a nonviolent revolution becomes reality.
Our generation may not live to see that day, but our children will. It is not utopia. It is ground reality.
One person has so much education and insight that informed people compare him with Plato, Aristotle, Russell, Marx or Einstein. I compare his ocean-deep knowledge with poet Tagore, and his global peace activism with Gandhi. But U.S. media including CNN and New York Times censor his views, and exclude him from their list of experts.
If this is not bizarre and depraved, then what is?
Noam Chomsky asked me to call him Noam, and not Prof. Chomsky. So, Noam and I had a one on one video interview, then walked over to Plymouth church for his talk at Brooklyn For Peace on its 30th anniversary. I sat with him at the front table, and spoke on various subjects including war and peace, immigration and labor, media and Manufacturing Consent, and India and Bengal. And about his legacy. Got his signature. He pronounced my name the proper Bengali way, and referred to my introduction in his speech. I always lamented that I did not meet Tagore, Gandhi or Einstein. He filled up that emotional void. And his wife asked for a copy of my introduction to his speech.
Truly, and I repeat, it was a memorable day in my life.
On Saturday, November 15, Noam Chomsky came to New York.
Brooklyn For Peace, a grassroots organization, celebrated their thirtieth anniversary. On that occasion, they presented Chomsky with their Pathmaker to Peace award.
My wife and I have been involved with Brooklyn For Peace for a long time. I was its board member for a few years, and worked on its immigrant rights committee in the aftermath of the September Eleventh tragedy. The group reassured me and comforted me that there are a lot of mainstream Americans who are not hateful about Muslim and Arabs. And they do not consider them as “perceived criminals.”
I am neither a Muslim nor an Arab. But I feel a lot of togetherness with them. Just the same way I feel a lot of togetherness with African Americans and other marginalized groups. Latinos, Chinese, Sikhs…
Noam Chomsky is one of the most important scholars and intellectuals of all time. He is perhaps the most important linguist of our time. And outside of his M.I.T. linguistic studies, he is known worldwide as a leading voice of dissent against U.S. foreign policy and war diktat.
People line up for hours to get a ticket to hear him — all over the world. Scholars compare him with historic figures such as Aristotle, Plato, Russell, Tagore, Gandhi or Einstein. But U.S. corporate media despise him, because of his strong, fact-based, objective analysis of the media. Chomsky’s media expose Manufacturing Consent is a must-read, must-watch. You’ll know why U.S. media hate him.
And because of the blanket exclusion of Noam Chomsky by U.S. corporations, media, and the two big parties, most ordinary Americans do not know much about him. And the elite, status quo — both in the U.S. and across the world — are very happy that they don’t.
On Saturday, November 15, I had a chance of a lifetime to talk to him for a few hours. Some of it was, blessed I was, one on one. I also had a chance to interview him on camera, one on one. I shall post it when it is edited and ready to publish. I want to thank Brooklyn For Peace for that privilege too.
I’ve known the living legend since when I was a student at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. I had my first chance to hear him a few months before I joined the school, when he came to the university to speak, along with late professor Edward Said on Palestine and Israel. In April of 2000, I organized a student meeting at the department when he came and spoke to the students of the department for the first and only time. Since then, I’ve kept in touch with him, and for the past six or seven years, I’ve kept pushing him to come speak at Brooklyn For Peace.
Finally, it all worked out. And I had my chance of a lifetime to sit down with him at the dinner table, and discuss many important subjects, including politics, economics, U.S., India, Bengal, and all. We particularly spoke about immigration, labor and their place in human history. We talked about the history-depraved U.S. education system too.
Noam Chomsky is now almost eighty six years old. But he is still doing okay, Thank God. He is speaking, he is writing books, and he is also traveling. A proverbial intellectual and scholar with ocean-deep knowledge is still around us, among us. Mainstream, corporate media and establishments will never like him. But let them dislike him. We love him. We absolutely love him. And we don’t have to agree with him one hundred percent on every issue.
I have never met Tagore, Einstein, Russell or Gandhi. But I have met Noam Chomsky. I’ve known him for quite some time.
And it’s by God’s grace he has also known me. And gave me his blessing and indulgence.
There is incredible outrage in Delhi and all across India — places where such brutality has now become commonplace. Street protests and candle light vigils have exploded. Now the people in power are using tear gas, water cannon, baton beating, closing down of public transportation and other such familiar acts to control the enormous public uprising — because according to them, the protests are “getting violent.” There is demand for death penalty, mob lynching and other such punishments for the criminals.
Here in the U.S., in a small suburb called Newtown in the state of Connecticut, a killer crashed through the windows of an elementary school one Friday morning, and using his guns and other assault weapons, mass murdered twenty children and six adults before committing suicide.
There is incredible outrage in Connecticut, nearby New York and all across USA — places where such gun terror has now become commonplace. Street protests and candle light vigils have exploded — although compared to India, they are much more subdued — we never see India-like crowds swarming the American streets. Or, if we remember Egypt and the Arab Spring, Times Square never becomes Tahrir Square.
Therefore, here in the U.S., the people in power are not using tear gas, water cannon, baton beating, closing down of public transportation and other such familiar acts to control the enormous public uprising — because there is no visible enormous public uprising.
Of course, there is always demand for death penalty for the criminals. In this tragic event, however, there is no demand for capital punishment for the gun terrorist, because the criminal did not survive.
Even though it may seem like the two events — however violent and tragic — are different in nature or degree, if we look carefully, we can find a lot of similarities across them. I’d like to think about how we can connect the dots. It would help us understand the underlying reasons behind such acts.
Both are terror acts, if you take my simple, working definition of terror as an act that intends to kill or hurt innocent civilians in a public place.
Both terror acts were committed by people who thought that (1) in India, gang raping an innocent girl is a way to show power over the powerless — and because you are powerful with your ability to torture, beat and rape an innocent, powerless girl, you are entitled to do it, and many others do it all the time and because most of them always remain above the law, you are above the law too; or (2) in the U.S., killing dozens of innocent people including small children inside their school is a way to show your power over the powerless — and because you are powerful with your ability to shoot and kill the vulnerable children and powerless adults, you are entitled to do it, and many others do it all the time, and you can go above the law by killing yourself.
Both acts are pre-planned acts of terror — unleashed on innocent people — however short-term or suicidal the plan is. Terrorists, as we know, often use such suicidal plans.
In Delhi, a group of violent men raped a young woman and almost killed her and her male friend — on a moving public transportation vehicle circling a city street at 9.30 P.M. The criminals could have killed them, but for some reason, didn’t. They threw their naked bodies off the bus, thinking that the victims would be dead, and that nobody could catch the crime. Very luckily, the surviving young man identified both the bus and the criminals.
In Newtown, Connecticut, the small first grade children and their teachers did not have such luck. The gunman, who got deadly, horrible weapons of assault and training on how to use them from his mother — a so-called “gun enthusiast” — took advantage of America’s pathetically primitive social permissiveness about guns and political leaders who are sold out to gun lobbies and National Rifle Association-type far right-wing, violent groups — and killed the helpless children and adults inside the school building, ten days before Christmas Eve.
Even though the exploding street protests in India and massive but silent protests in America against these two acts of extreme, barbaric violence seem to be about punishing the criminals in India and controlling the gun menace in the U.S., they are not just about that. The protests are actually ordinary peoples’ anger about and rejection of the elite people in power who failed to protect innocent lives and dignity and did not care about how the ordinary men, women and children lived their daily lives — always under anxiety, stress, fear and uncertainties. The protests are truly about venting ordinary peoples’ lifelong frustration with the power and the iron-walled status quo.
The enormous protests — expressed or silent in these two so-called big democracies — are actually about demanding to bring back safety, rights and dignity — pillars of democracy the elite, corrupt and arrogant people in power stole from them.
In both cases, most media is trying to take on the violence, punishment and control aspects of it — without ever discussing WHY the violence is happening. They are not interested to talk about the power and abuse of political, social and economic power aspects underlying the violence — both in the U.S. and India. In both countries, some elite people in the seat of power are shedding tears for the victims, without really having shown any plans of action to prevent such tragedies — before or after. These terrors have now become all too common. The ordinary, innocent people like you and me live under such threats of terror on a daily basis. There is no recourse. There is no respite.
There is no accountability in India: its elite one percent doesn’t care how the ordinary people live, how women are brutalized on a daily basis by street thugs and underworld mafia — often connected with the elite and powerful, how children are always under severe pressure and trauma, and how average Indians live in a constant state of anxiety, stress and fear. This is on top of the extreme economic uncertainties and horrible corruption. I also hold the pro-U.S. Indian media accountable for supporting and sustaining this brand of politics and economy. They have all failed India.
Similarly, there is no accountability in USA: I could repeat the same thing I said above — that its elite one percent doesn’t care how the ordinary people live, how women are taken advantage of, how especially poor children are always under-educated and with little opportunity for social mobility (numerous are in U.S. prison), and how average Americans live in a constant state of anxiety, stress and fear — gun violence or drug-related violence. This is on top of the extreme economic uncertainties and horrible corruption at the top. Big banks and financial institutions have ship-wrecked the U.S. economy. The U.S. media is a part of this devastating trickle-down system for supporting and sustaining this brand of politics and economy. They have all failed the common American people.
Of course, there must be protests against these particular episodes of violence.
In India, the gang rapists must be brought to justice and more such tragedies must be prevented. Women must be able to walk free of fear.
In the U.S., future gun terrors must be prevented, and gun laws must be changed. Innocent lives must be saved.
True. Yet, it is not just that. In fact, as I said before, the mass protests are well beyond that.
Gang rape or gun rampage, we the ordinary people who are victims of all forms of violence and hurt are not demanding stop-gap punishment (in India) or stop-gap control (in USA) only. We are asking for a system change. We have caught you the elite rulers cheating us. You can’t do it any more. Media must report that true story.
That is where the dots connect. That is where the discussion should be.
Anything else falls short. Anything else is Manufacturing Consent.
I am never going to vote for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. But my vote would not matter. Romney and Ryan are going to win in November, 2012.
Let me tell you why.
But before I do that, let me tell you this. I am terribly worried that a Romney administration, with help from someone like Paul Ryan, is going to destroy the last remnant of the New Deal economic system — an FDR-established, time-tested fiscal policy that saved and prospered the working people and middle-class families of America for decades.
I am scared to think about the future of America and its new generation of working people and families that’s going to suffer the most. Irony is that, many of these young men and women this time wouldn’t even come out to vote. I am frozen to imagine how their lives will shatter into pieces. I am frozen to imagine how the top 1 percent in America will now be even more powerful and richer — at the expense of the poor and middle class. Occupy Wall Street’s worst nightmare will come true! Sadly. Scarily!
The new Romney-Ryan (and Rove) administration also will, in all likelihood, begin a new war in a matter of months. Another ancient civilization will be erased from the face of the earth. Millions of innocent lives and dreams will be destroyed in that new, massive bloodshed.
Because I understand the looming destruction and doom and cannot ever accept it, I shall not vote for Romney and Ryan. But my vote won’t matter. With help from U.S. corporations, think tanks and media, as well as Karl Rove and Koch Brothers, they will win the elections this November.
Let me tell you why.
I shall be brief. After all, with all these big-name political pundits and their big-name media spouting foam-in-the-mouth, who’s going to listen to what a no-name neophyte says on his little, obscure blog?
I quote this from CNN today.
“Congressman Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are a match made in millionaires’ heaven, but they’ll be a nightmare for seniors who’ve earned their Medicare benefits,” said New York Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, “For the last 18 months, we’ve said Republicans will have to defend the indefensible — their vote to end Medicare. Now with Congressman Ryan on the ticket, House Republicans face the one thing they hoped to avoid — a national debate on their budget that puts millionaires first and Medicare and the middle class last.”
I think that quote says it all. Let’s see what it really says — section by section.
Section 1. “Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are a match made in millionaires’ heaven.” Okay, great point, Mr. Israel. We all know Republicans’ crocodile tears for the working people and middle class, especially at election times, are phony. But do you know what’s phony about your quote? Democratic Party has done exactly the same thing over the past two presidencies — of Clinton and Obama. You have not done a thing to bring the economy back to the direction of the poor and middle class, who voted you in with so much hope and expectation. You have worked with the rich bankers and financial institutions, and have not held them accountable for their destruction and looting of the American economy.
If the Republicans are hypocrites, at least we always knew they were. But Mr. Israel, you can’t project a different, clean image for your party and your administration. As far as I am — a registered Democrat voter — concerned, I feel cheated.
Secton 1: post script. Bill Clinton destroyed the welfare system in a way even Ronald Reagan or George Bush Senior couldn’t do. See, we’ve heard a lot of talk from the Dems about Republicans’ destruction of Medicare and Social Security. I’m sure some of it is true. But again, they don’t make any pretension about it. They tell us that Medicare and Social Security are wasteful expenses and they want to get rid of them. They tell us that they want to privatize Social Security (which will really be the end of the last remnant of New Deal economics), and I am sure Romney and Ryan will keep their promises. They will also destroy America’s once-prized public education system, once and for all.
But think about it. Clinton destroyed American welfare that was so critical for so many poor people especially poor women and single mothers. You Democrats named it welfare reform. Corporate media was handy again to spin on it and middle class people who didn’t know much about the devastating impact of this “reform” bought your spin. Clinton won in 1996, with help from Southern moderates and Northern conservatives.
At the same time, Clinton put Greenspan, Larry Summers and Robert Rubin in power, who with help from Phil Gramm, et al. in Congress, overturned the landmark Glass-Stegall Act and deregulated financial derivatives. Basically, the Clinton administration privatized the U.S. economy and promoted deregulation — going against the New Deal principles of the Democratic Party.
Section 2. “Now with Congressman Ryan on the ticket, House Republicans face the one thing they hoped to avoid — a national debate on their budget that puts millionaires first and Medicare and the middle class last.” Great again, Mr. Israel. But what if someone like me challenges you and the Obama Democrats how you have performed over the past four years when you bailed out the richest corporations (and let off the hook Goldman Sachs, etc.), took in some of the biggest Wall Street crooks on your administration, and did not do anything significant to drive the economy back in the direction of the working people and families.
What answer would you have for them: like, “Well, I know we have not done anything significantly different from Clinton or Bush W., but see we are really significantly different? Just trust us?”
Well, Mr. Israel, I am definitely not going to vote for Mitt Romey and Paul Ryan, because I just know them all too well. But guess what, a LOT of ordinary Americans, who are sick and tired of your party’s and administration’s false promises for Change We Can Believe In, will vote for them.
I work with American labor and immigrants — all poor and middle class. I know for the fact that a large number of these people will vote Republican this time. Not because they don’t like Barack Obama. They do. Barack Obama is a likeable guy: he is smart, he is extremely articulate, and he is I believe much more caring than some of his predecessors.
But his personal qualities and his administrative records simply do not match.
So, to keep it brief, here’s some of the reasons Romney and Ryan will win.
Bullet Point 1. The Republicans and Democrats are now really flip sides of the same, old coin (or you can use the other cliché and call them same-old wine in a new bottle). People now call them Republocrats, and how much ever you’d dislike to hear it, they have truly become just that.
Bullet Point 2. The Koch Brothers, ALEC, NRA, right wing think tanks such Enterprise Institute, Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, Center for Immigration Studies, Eagle Forum, and the billionaire Super PAC’s are now going to work extra hard to pump in an historic amount of campaign money to the Romney-Ryan ticket. With U.S. Supreme Court’s recent Citizen United verdict, nobody can prevent them from doing that, and they don’t even have to disclose their identity.
Bullet Point 3.We have seen a small version of that enormous campaign cash in the Wisconsin Scott Walker recall election. It’s going to be deja vu, thousand times multiplied.
Bullet Point 4. Labor and youth will vote in a drastically smaller number because they have lost their enthusiasm for Obama. If anything, a large number of working people — especially non-union people — will vote Republican this time. Even a significantly higher number of union members will vote Romney-Ryan. Congressional elections this November will also be a Republican landslide. Hate me for saying this, and I hope to be proven wrong.
Bullet Point 5. Contrary to the above, Tea Party will come out in full force and with help from white supremacists who absolutely want to see Obama eliminated, will work Romney-Ryan with the same enthusiasm we had for Obama in 2008. They do not believe in government, they hate Obama, and they’ve found their best spokesperson now in Ryan (and Joe Biden is…well, I don’t know what he really is). Government programs, whatever is left for the poor and needy, are going to be history. In fact, chances are, the U.S. government as an institution is going to be history too! And that would be the ultimate victory for Ayn Rand and Frederich Von Hayek and their disciples such as Milton Friedman, Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin.
Bullet Point 6. The war lobby, especially the Middle East war lobby and their known spokespersons in the media, will make sure Romney wins. Romney’s announcement today on the V.P. pick in front a Norfolk war ship is not a missed point, especially for these powers and their big friends in big media. Romney presidency will start a new Middle East war very soon. In spite of Obama’s so-called terrorist kill list (one that President Carter denounced recently), there has not been a new full-scale war in four years; in fact, people are coming out on the streets of Egypt, Yemen and those places, and are throwing off U.S.-supported dictators. The Middle East war lobby and their media are deeply disturbed.
I shall come back and write more. I hope you come back and send your comments and criticism too.
Update: Prof. Noam Chomsky just wrote about my London Olympics boycott blog: “All too accurate. You could have quoted Adam Smith instead of Marx, on the “savage injustice of the Europeans,” particularly the British in India who changed “dearth into famine” among other monstrous crimes. […] Bernard Porter in the TLS [Times Literary Supplement, U.K.] a few months ago … pointed out that the early British imperial conquerors could stand alongside the grand genocidists of the 20th century. And to the British we can add comparable or worse contemporary examples.”
The “fun” Games have begun and Indians are watching with major glee and awe (with their unbroken world record of one Olympic medal at the rate of every one billion people)! Here in USA where I live, people are watching with supreme patriotism and pride American media’s supremacist, Orwellian propaganda. But I am not. I am boycotting London Olympics of 2012.
To voice my strong protest against the British tyranny, violent occupation, colonization, artificial famines, pauperization and bloody partitioning of India (and countless “other” deaths by prison, torture, hanging and shooting)– which caused me, my family, my ancestors and my people lifelong misery, hopelessness and trauma, I am boycotting the global, athletic theater of corporate media and billionaire establishments — now known as the Olympics.
I am boycotting the Summer Olympics of London, 2012. Read my reasons below. Thank you.
(For those who might say: “Big deal!” Or, “So what?” Or, “Who cares?” You might read it too. Thank you.)
If you know me, this IS a big deal. For the first time in my sports-loving life that included religiously following decades of Olympic athletes and their superhuman feats — starting from Bob Beamon, Larisa Latynina, Mark Spitz, Olga Korbut, Nadia Comaneci, Carl Lewis, Teófilo Stevenson, Dick Fosbury, Usain Bolt and Abebe Bikila (even including our lone Indian gold medalists the field hockey team) — I shall not be watching the games or the opening ceremonies on TV, reading news on the progress of the games and medal tally, or getting sucked into the massively profiteering corporations’ 24/7 commercial blitz, continued under the guise of a not-for-profit, global sports movement.
(And I could never afford to watch the games sitting in a stadium, ever in my life.)
Today’s Olympic games are anything but not-for-profit, and they are anything but a movement. Michael Jordan and his so-called Dream Team, with help from global corporations and their media, have destroyed once and for all the pristine athletic camaraderie.
I offer my profound apologies to Bob, Larisa, Mark, Olga, Nadia, and everybody else. Sorry, I had to outgrow it, my lifelong idols.
A noted observer named Helen Jefferson Lenskyj said this.
She is absolutely right! But for now, I want to concentrate on the London and British part of it.
Because this is perhaps going to be the last Olympic assembly in London before my death, my boycotting is even more significant. I invite you to join this cause. I have no other power to protest on behalf of myself and the generations of suffering of people I mentioned above. This is my personal political poster.
I say, “Down with British barbarism!” I say, “Down with Downing Street!”
I demand an official apology for the two-hundred-year-long, violent British occupation of the Indian subcontinent and the bloody 1947 partition, and I demand reparation from the British government (just the same way South Africa demanded apartheid apology and reparation)– to the ordinary people of India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Burma. No, this is not an academic debate. For me, this is real! I shall keep demanding until my death — Olympics or not!
There is a good chance that some conscientious and thinking people from many countries will read what I have to say, and share it with their family, friends and colleagues. Given the healthy size of blog readership I somehow managed to create over the past few months, I am optimistic that some ripple-effect actions will take place. I pin my hopes on that synergy of activism.
The Irish blog from where I took the the “British Mafia” photo above, however sharp in its language, actually finds reassurance for me that I am not the only one protesting the London Olympics. This is what the blog says:
“The British Government are political hypocrites and war criminals waffling on about human rights overseas, while being found guilty of torture and human rights abuses in British Occupied Ireland and interning political prisoners of conscience, even in their own Olympic city of London 2012, which all non-infiltrated human rights activists worldwide, are calling to boycott !”
Given where you are from, if you are from a country that once went through the horrific, bloody British occupation, rights and justice abuse and economic destruction, you can replace Ireland in the above paragraph with your country, and get the same, sharp message! I am doing just that for India and Bangladesh and Pakistan.
It’s about time we sent that message of protest across the globe. “Down with Downing Street!” (Just the same way we recently said, “Down with Wall Street!”)
Karl Marx wrote about the British occupation of India many years ago. I am not a Marxist in my beliefs; but you don’t have to be a Marxist per se to admire and appreciate what Marx wrote to expose the tyranny of corporate capitalism and global aggression of powers such as the British Empire. In the twenty-first century, U.S. corporate powers have taken over the mantle the British powers left behind; the modus operandi and results have, however, remained the same. I wrote about it elsewhere in this blog.
Marx said: “There cannot, however, remain any doubt but that the misery inflicted by the British on Hindostan [i.e., Hindu land of India] is of an essentially different and infinitely more intensive kind than all Hindostan had to suffer before. I do not allude to European despotism, planted upon Asiatic despotism, by the British East India Company, forming a more monstrous combination than any of the divine monsters…
All the civil wars, invasions, revolutions, conquests, famines, strangely complex, rapid, and destructive as the successive action in Hindostan may appear, did not go deeper than its surface. England has broken down the entire framework of Indian society, without any symptoms of reconstitution yet appearing. This loss of his old world, with no gain of a new one, imparts a particular kind of melancholy to the present misery of the Hindoo, and separates Hindostan, ruled by Britain, from all its ancient traditions, and from the whole of its past history.”
[Quoted from http://sabhlokcity.com]
But because I am not a Marxist, and these days, quoting Marx has become out of fashion, I want to write about my own life and lives of my predecessors (and our next generation) from a non-Marxist, “non-political” point of view. I want to talk about the British looting of India — and in particular, looting the economy of the once-golden land of Bengal — where I came from. I want to talk about how my family members — both from my own side and my wife’s side — became destitute overnight because of the trickle-down, arbitrary and bloody partitioning of Bengal and Punjab. I want to talk about a colonial education system that never taught us how to think critically, and actively discouraged us from questioning the conventional wisdom or sociopolitical hierarchy.
I want to talk about the British government’s and East India Company’s destruction of Indian farmers and forcible, rapacious plantation of indigo, accompanied by barbaric torture of the farmers and their families. I want to talk about British government’s solitary confinement in the horrific Andaman Cellular Jail and hanging of thousands of Indian young men and women who fought back against the occupation. I want to talk about British police’s brutality against Bengali, Punjabi, Telugu or Marathi revolutionaries of 1920’s and ’30s as well as North Indian peasants who revolted in 1857. I want talk about British government’s blanket press censorship and absolute suppression of freedom of speech to quell rebellion.
I want to talk about the British colonial rulers’ creation of artificial, man-made famines numerous times in numerous places of India between 1757 and 1947, including the two grotesque Bengal famines of 1769 and 1943 — one immediately after they occupied India and the other just before they left. You can find a chart of some other catastrophic famines the British aggressors caused during their two centuries of occupation of a very prosperous land where nobody had ever imagined death of starvation!
I could write about the British rulers’ destruction of forests, farm land and environment in India. I could talk about their massive, forced conversion. I could talk about their total derision and belittling of an ancient civilization. I could write about their sinister divide and conquer policies creating permanent rift between Hindus and Muslims.
I could go on and on. But I shall stop now. I am tired and I am tired of impressing on, not surprisingly, my fellow Indians and Bengalis about the importance of such a boycott. History is now another out-of-fashion subject; nobody wants to spoil the fun Olympic games because of some old, difficult history. Especially, I do not have much hope from a strange variety of greedy, selfish-individualistic, MTV and MacDonald’s-following younger generation. Maybe you can help me to spread the word. If you can, reach my blog to Warren Anderson, ex-CEO of Union Carbide of Bhopal, who now lives dandy in the Long Island Hamptons, and whose former company renamed Dow Chemicals is now a major sponsor of London, 2012.
I pin my hopes on people around the world who share my story — those who share India’s history of a barbaric colonization, partition, forced destitution and death. I pin my hopes on people around the world who understand how the violent West has occupied, subjugated and raped civilizations and human minds everywhere — in the name of their masters — the British or Dutch queens or more recently, MTV, Monsanto or IMF.
I am paying the price of such violation of humanity and forced occupation all my life. I have no other way to symbolize my lifelong anger. I am a non-violent man. I am, therefore, boycotting the London Olympics, 2012 to vent my protests. I did the same when India hosted the now-infamous Commonwealth Games a couple of years ago. The rulers looted, exploited and lied then; and they’re doing it now. I am voicing my strong opposition against those rulers and their violation of human rights.
Would you join me in this cause and protest against the British government and monarchy? Demand an apology and reparation!
Thank you for your global solidarity and support. Please share your protests with others you know. Believe me, there are millions of people out there — all over the world — who would want to join this cause. Let’s reach out to them.