By Paul Street at Mar 07, 2009
After reading my dark essay "The Resistance Gap: On Media, Time, and the Curious Absence of Riots," a friend in lower Manhattan writes the following (received via my secret e-mail address): "you touch on the cultural indoctrination of the public, which in america is well beyond whatever succeeded in nazi germany. distorted class values are injected into every advertisement, into every program on tv, the medium par excellence for indoctrination. every minute we are unrelentingly subjected to false anti-democratic propaganda. that is what I call totalitarianism because no sliver of reality is ever allowed to penetrate this darkness of the mind. is it any wonder that despite your statistics, people remain inactive?"
No, there is no wonder. Indeed, I am often literally amazed when people DO rebel to any extent. On the nights of March 19 and 20 2003 in Chicago (big antiwar marches both nights....vast swaths of humanilty clogging the Outer Drive and Michigan Avenue), it was to me surreal. I couldnt' fathom the level of protest before my eyes. I thought I was dreaming. It seemed impossible, like a wrinkle in the universe.
And then, like a dream, it was gone. Poof. They all went home, never (?) to return...mesmerized and repressively desublimated by their glowing blue Telescreens and stuck in their more private dramas and pain and pleasure and now subjected to the soothing centrist faux-progressive palliatives of His Holiness the Dali Obama, Empire's New Clothes.
Corporate-managed democracy, U.S.-style, is yes more effective than the Red fascist and brown fascist variants of totalitarianism when it comes to population control.
And yet... Resistance will shoot up to a degree and in ways that will surprise and go unreported until it can no longer be erased from awareness and impact. The end of history has been proclaimed and disproved again and again.
I cling to an almost faith-based belief in the possibilities for a world turned upside down. It is my left-secular version (hardly original) of Pascal's Wager and it is also my related existential sense that without radical-democratic revolution and evolution beyond the pre-history of class society we are truly doomed as a species. You're a fool to believe, but a bigger fool NOT to believe.