History Repeating : Nov 14, 2016

As enough Americans were apparently too uninformed about history to have seen in advance why electing Trump was so dangerous, I am beginning a series of posts that I’ll call “History Repeating” if only to document, step by step, our national descent into fascism.

History Repeating: November 14, 2016

Development: Trump appoints Stephen K. Bannon, the right-wing provocateur as senior counselor and chief West Wing strategist.

Parallel: When Hitler seized power in 1933, Joseph Goebbels was appointed Reichsminister for propaganda and national enlightenment.

How is this history repeating?

First of all, for all the Hard-Working Americans™ who elected Trump only because they wanted a better paying job, let’s clarify who Bannon is:

“Mr. Bannon’s selection demonstrated the power of grass-roots activists who backed Mr. Trump’s candidacy. Some of them have long traded in the conspiracy theories and sometimes racist messages of Breitbart News, the website that Mr. Bannon ran for much of the past decade.

The site has accused President Obama of “importing more hating Muslims”; compared Planned Parenthood’s work to the Holocaust; called the conservative commentator Bill Kristol a “renegade Jew”; and advised female victims of online harassment to “just log off” and stop “screwing up the internet for men,” illustrating that point with a picture of a crying child.”

In short, Bannon’s special “gift” is the type of propaganda that stirs up hatred and keeps working-class Americans divided, all while feeding them red-meat reasons to focus their anger (or disappointment in their new leaders) on minorities and in particular through the election on women.

Don’t believe me, see this list of Breitbart news headlines. A particularly vile one: “There’s No Hiring Bias Against Women in Tech, They Just Suck at Interviews”

Why is this parallel?

Let’s first refresh our knowledge of Goebbels:

As Reichsminister for Propaganda and National Enlightenment, Goebbels was given complete control over radio, press, cinema, and theater; later he also regimented all German culture. Goebbels placed his undeniable intelligence and his brilliant insight into mass psychology entirely at the service of his party. His most virulent propaganda was against the Jews. As a hypnotic orator he was second only to Hitler, and in his staging of mass meetings and parades he was unsurpassed.”

Mass meetings…like the rallies Trump announced he wants to continue through his presidency, mis-read by some pundits as a signal he doesn’t really have any interest in the daily grind of the Oval Office, but more likely in the service of keeping his base nice and angry, and the nation divided. Indeed, by making his chief strategist a media provocateur (this one in particular), Trump confirms his intent to govern/rule through a “divide-and-conquer” strategy, fueled with conspiracy theories and racism/sexism, and that any lip service he’s paying to unifying the country at the moment is pure horseshit.

What to do about it?

Trump is allowed to choose both his staff and his method of governance.

Basically, at this point, educating yourself is the best response. Below are the principles of Goebbel’s approach to nationalistic propaganda as deduced after his death. Pay particular attention to the last two points…they are the real killers (actually, in the hands of a white supremist, #5 is pretty fucking scary too):

Based upon Goebbels’ Principles of Propaganda by Leonard W. Doob, published in Public Opinion and Propaganda; A Book of Readings edited for The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues.

  1. 1. Propagandist must have access to intelligence concerning events and public opinion.
  2. Propaganda must be planned and executed by only one authority.
    a. It must issue all the propaganda directives.
    b. It must explain propaganda directives to important officials and maintain their morale.
    c. It must oversee other agencies’ activities which have propaganda consequences
  3. The propaganda consequences of an action must be considered in planning that action.
  4. Propaganda must affect the enemy’s policy and action.
    a. By suppressing propagandistically desirable material which can provide the enemy with useful intelligence
    b. By openly disseminating propaganda whose content or tone causes the enemy to draw the desired conclusions
    c. By goading the enemy into revealing vital information about himself
    d. By making no reference to a desired enemy activity when any reference would discredit that activity
  5. Declassified, operational information must be available to implement a propaganda campaign.
  6. To be perceived, propaganda must evoke the interest of an audience and must be transmitted through an attention-getting communications medium.
  7. Credibility alone must determine whether propaganda output should be true or false.
  8. The purpose, content and effectiveness of enemy propaganda; the strength and effects of an expose; and the nature of current propaganda campaigns determine whether enemy propaganda should be ignored or refuted.
  9. Credibility, intelligence, and the possible effects of communicating determine whether propaganda materials should be censored.
  10. Material from enemy propaganda may be utilized in operations when it helps diminish that enemy’s prestige or lends support to the propagandist’s own objective.
  11. Black rather than white propaganda may be employed when the latter is less credible or produces undesirable effects.
  12. Propaganda may be facilitated by leaders with prestige.
  13. Propaganda must be carefully timed.
    a. The communication must reach the audience ahead of competing propaganda.
    b. A propaganda campaign must begin at the optimum moment
    c. A propaganda theme must be repeated, but not beyond some point of diminishing effectiveness
  14. Propaganda must label events and people with distinctive phrases or slogans.
    a. They must evoke desired responses which the audience previously possesses
    b. They must be capable of being easily learned
    c. They must be utilized again and again, but only in appropriate situations
    d. They must be boomerang-proof
  15. Propaganda to the home front must prevent the raising of false hopes which can be blasted by future events.
  16. Propaganda to the home front must create an optimum anxiety level.
    a. Propaganda must reinforce anxiety concerning the consequences of defeat
    b. Propaganda must diminish anxiety (other than concerning the consequences of defeat) which is too high and which cannot be reduced by people themselves
  17. Propaganda to the home front must diminish the impact of frustration.
    a. Inevitable frustrations must be anticipated
    b. Inevitable frustrations must be placed in perspective
  18. Propaganda must facilitate the displacement of aggression by specifying the targets for hatred.
  19. Propaganda cannot immediately affect strong counter-tendencies; instead it must offer some form of action or diversion, or both.

SOURCE: edward_ winkleman – Read entire story here.