De-programming the minds and the hearts from the powerful propaganda machine that poisons the intellectual and emotional capacities of people in the USA is an arduous task. From birth to death cognitive and emotional dysfunction is embedded within and imprinted onto the “American”. The national religion, an ugly mix of Calvinism and evangelical Christianity, is the ultimate expression of greed and manifestation of death wishes which destroys any human love for the poor and down-trodden. The dominant culture promotes the continuation of the ability to make money for consumption; an addiction to mind numbing media; and the desensitization of the population to violence to benefit the greed based fundamentalism of ruling power elites.
Most “home grown” in the USA have not been taught the essential features and underlying intentions of the US constitution (centralized power at the national level, a system of checks and balances which strengthens private power, a system of separation of power which prevents a simple majority rule by and for the people, with a bill of rights which protects property but which fails to guarantee participation by the people). The fairy tales told in the history classes of elementary and secondary schools in the USA tell a story about a system of “checks and balances” and a “balance of power” among the branches of government but they omit the truth about how these checks are to keep the people “in check”. The belief in a “manifest destiny” which fueled the founders who established the fundamental principles of profit, ownership and consumption which constituted life in the new USA at the expense of life and limb of the native and the African is now a glorified legend, noble lies, and Strauss-type myths to keep the people docile and dumb.
The obedient folks in the U.S.A. are exposed to hundreds of Hollywood films, after-school specials and school projects that prioritize USA dominance, rabid consumption at the cost of the planet, and the repeated story of “The Jewish Holocaust” with a capital “H” as opposed to the “always forget” truths of indigenous holocausts of North America, Africa, Palestine, Iraq, and soon to be Libya promoting the take-over of as many countries as possible by a very real axis of evil, real dictators, and real gangsters—the corporate-government elites of the USA, Britain and Israel.
The main focus of new resistance movements must be that of human cognition. The people of the USA, Europe and Israel do not see themselves as the oppressors, the occupiers, the killers and the torturers. They have convinced themselves of their superiority in all things. The moral education system they have deconstructed forms a cognitive structure which views greed and aggression for “democracy” as the norm. My assertions here will make most Americans, Europeans, and Israeli’s uncomfortable, because most do not “feel” like the “bad guys” in fact, they think they are the “good guys”. Whereas in the past cultural imperialism and white supremacy was asserted through blatantly racist acts and colonial political policies using liberal Enlightenment ideas about the “equality of man” there is now a weeding out of notions of national superiority based on so called democratic economic standards that are even more complex and more firmly entrenched than old style European imperialism. The moral import of this dominant cultural notion of the human person is clear. Children in the USA, Europe and Israel across race, gender and class learn concepts about love, equality, and the Golden Rule while simultaneously being trained in the importance of killing and torturing so called terrorists and “liberating” countries lead by so called dictators in the name of “national security”. Equality now is reserved for those members of the USA, Israel and Europe who obey their masters and those who question this set of lies experience isolation and accusations of being unpatriotic and “domestic terrorists”.
Currently, the U.S. corporate/government media promotes values and self-conceptions that rest upon national myths which, through the generations has become more and more firmly entrenched. In the West, consciousness is shaped through the assigned category of class, nation, race through a domination screed disguised in democratic and human rights rhetoric. There is a pervasive set of social constructions, a set of positions in the global structure for which humans will be assigned a category that influences the education and “life style” one is allowed, the life world in which one moves, the experiences one has, and the view one develops. Today’s cultural imperialism through neo-liberal and neo-conservative globalization structures the world as to have negative ramifications for every sphere of life for the Muslim, the Arab, the African, the Mexican, the Central and South American, the red, the brown and the black through juridical standing, moral status, personal ethnic identity, epistemic reliability, existential plight, political inclusion, social metaphysics, sexual relations, and aesthetic worth to name just a few of those constructions. This dominant immoral code within neo-liberalism and neo-conservativism is based on a set of myths and lies creating a new version of a master race for the USA and Europe in general and Israel specifically. Thus, critical resistance movements must bring to consciousness the assumptions and mechanisms of this ethic and ultimately subvert it by any and all means.
History today is repeating itself in horrifying patterns mirroring past genocides and state sponsored terrorism. During the Cold War the military industrial complex of the U.S.A. sponsored covert terrorism that killed millions of people. Today the same rabid greed that fueled the European imperialists of the past fuels the US, U.K. and Israeli corporate-government elites as they conduct genocidal programs similar to those of their European ancestors. Replete with walls, Jim Crow segregation from latrines in Iraq to schools in Israel, no voting or land rights for Arabs, puppet regimes and the killing of millions of men, women, and children in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine and now, Libya.
As the greedy power elites manipulate legislation against immigration in their home countries while increasing criminalization to profit private prisons they simultaneously give the orders to rendition and torture. They enslave the poor with debts while giving them “equal opportunities” to work in their sweatshops, agri-businesses, oil fields, diamond, copper and gold mines. The privatization of the prison industry (corporate owned prisons funded with tax dollars) creates an entirely new industry which is dependent upon filling prisons cells to make a profit. This is accompanied by the equally disturbing trend towards the use of extremely cheap prison labor forces that make more profits for private industries than even sweatshops produce. The constitutional imperative that a few “better” people rule in the interest of economic development now requires the establishment of private prisons to house those who may rise against their governments.
The Church Committee investigation on the CIA revealed that 140 of CIA personnel consisted of professional propagandists who fed false stories about Cuba and the Soviet Union to the press, the state department and the ambassador of the UN. The CIA co-opted several hundred journalists, including some of the biggest names in the business to pump its propaganda stories into our media. Today, they work for all the major media networks spinning the doublethink and doublespeak (a mind control program described in detail in George Orwell’s novel titled, 1984). In today’s media lingo, freedom isn’t free, and “we” fight over there so “we” don’t have to fight here because war is peace and safety/security is better than freedom.
Historically university and college students across the globe have formed revolutionary movements in struggles against oppressive external and internal regimes. A funny thing about knowledge and truth is that once people acquire some and connect the dots they are less willing to accept oppression. In order to counter this historical trend educational institutions themselves are designed to be centers of indoctrination. From 1952 to 1966, the CIA spent $3,300,000 on the national student association in an attempt to favorably influence the student community toward CIA policies. The CIA monitors faculty members under consideration for grants and recruits professors, administrators, and other covert allies within the university community for purposes of political control. The CIA also funneled $12 million to labor, business, church, and cultural groups. One million dollars was given directly to “intellectuals, writers and artists.” Between 1949 and 1972, the CIA spent $25, 000,000 on mind-control and brain washing techniques.
A primary focus for today’s resistance movements must be to identify the manner in which social consciousness is constructed. By reclaiming the truth of the past, by experiencing the truth of the present and by projecting that into personal, local, national and global plans we cast ourselves in our social and economic contexts thereby setting forth the problem of authenticity as a member of the human race. For the oppressed this undoubtedly yields adequate food, housing, health, education, work, personal development and self-determining humanizing relationships, for love and hope in life. For all resisters it means questioning the basic schema of how social and economic roles are determined for people through the prototypes of good guys and bad guys, dictators and leaders, liberators and liberated, oppressors and oppressed while learning to confront the reality of existence through critical thinking and a new identity for people as members of a human community in charge of history shaped by consistently questioning the historical consequences of activity produced.
Telling the truth means communicating so that people know history and present day practices and understand how it is that such a small group of people control the world and its resources. To speak the truth and confront the lies and take action is to transform the world.
June Terpstra, Ph.D. is an activist, educator and university lecturer in Justice studies, Criminal Justice and sociology. She has founded numerous programs for homeless, abused, youth and oppressed people in the U.S.A. She is presently teaching courses on law and terrorism, social justice, resistance, criminology, and juvenile Justice. She is a former Community Research Fellow and doctoral graduate of Loyola University Chicago.