Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Goebbels Gambit

This is a tale of two experiments, one deliberate, and one incidental - but both quite interesting.


Back in February, two Serbian artists decided to mock the political establishment (both the regime and the "opposition"). They did so by joining the Democrats, Serbian Democrats, Progressives, Socalists, Liberal Democrats, United Regions and another, minor party - all at the same time! To all these parties, they offered a "marketing program" which was entirely plagiarized from a 1928 treatise by Joseph Goebbels, called "Knowledge and Propaganda". Until the duo made their deception public, no one had figured out the Goebbels connection, nor did they realize these "bright young things" were prostituting themselves to a half-dozen parties all at once.

That in itself is quite a story, demonstrating empirically that Serbia's mainstream political parties are callous as well as clueless, obsessed with gaining power at all cost. I'm not really surprised that nobody recognized the Goebbels treatise, though. Few know much about Hitler's chief propagandist save for the fact that he was the Reich's minister of propaganda, and fewer still have read any of his work. Furthermore, a lot of the manipulation techniques he wrote about and used are still in use around the world, because they are effective. Sad but true. Also, expecting the Serbs to remember history - which has been systematically corrupted by a succession of regimes over the past 70 years, if not more - is a tall order these days. Even Americans routinely fail the Hitler test.

But the way this story ended up being reported is an experiment as well - one that concerns journalism, rather than politics. Imperial propaganda mills such as RFE and B92 set the tone, suggesting that Serbs like Nazi ideas. Inter Press Service actually headlined its story "Nazi Propaganda Gets a Makeover in Serbia." While technically true, it misses the point, doesn't it? Instead of the story being how two young artists pranked the mainstream political establishment, it ends up tarring the Serbs (yet again) with the Nazi brush.

Left out of the story was the notable fact that nearly all the parties that got pranked are part of the establishment created by the October 2000 coup, which was organized, financed and managed from Washington. This includes the Socialists, who in 2008 accepted Imperial dominance and signed a pact with the Democrats. The Progressives came into being when a former Radical leader defected to the "Empire is great" camp. One would think it might prove embarrassing for the Empire if its "democratic progressive social liberal democrats" turned out to be Nazi sympathizers, if unwittingly. Then again, maybe not.

The one exception are the Serbian Democrats - a party whose leader once fronted the 2000 coup, but which has opposed the Empire ever since. While they don't take marching orders from the U.S. Embassy like everyone else, they haven't been terribly effective, either - preferring to strategically withdraw from confrontations and more given to sulking than leading. Their leader translated the Federalist Papers, so they should have known better than to like the disguised Goebbels tract.

Finally, note that two parties that don't take orders from Washington are absent from this list: the Radicals and Dveri. Ironically, it is these two that get labeled (unfairly and inaccurately) as "clerical fascists", "hardline ultranationalists" and "right-wing extremists", by both the Western and the Empire-controlled Serbian media - while it is Empire's favorite Serbs who express enthusiasm for Nazi techniques repackaged as "democracy".

So you see, it's a bit more complicated than both the pranksters and the presstitutes would have you believe. But that's hardly "news," is it?


Zman said...

I have done some reseatch on the dveri. I like what I see. Their youtube website has a lot of good stuff, exposing the corrupt system and what really happened in the wars. I hope they dont get coopted by the empire though.

Anonymous said...

Bad news.

10.40am: Breivik says he and the Knights Templar were influenced by Serb nationalists rather than Nazis

He also claims to have been mentored by a Serb war crimes suspect Liberia

Breivik seems in a more belligerent mood today, refusing to answer the prosecutions questions or taking an age to do so. The way the court deals with his behaviour is especially interesting for a British journalist used to covering trials at the Old Bailey or other crown courts. Back home, barristers tend to showboat, using elaborate language in an attempt to outwit a defendant. Should the accused dare to throw a question back during cross examination, he or she is quickly told to step into line.

But not in Norway. This morning, the prosecutors are trying to tease out from Breivik why he made a trip to Liberia in the spring of 2002. They know he went there because they have seen the genuine stamps in his passport. But they want him to explain why he has repeatedly says he has no wish to play ball. The reason, he says, is that he does not want to say anything that could lead to anyone elses arrest.

Yet in 1,100 pages of police interviews, Breivik has already opened up about his Liberian adventure, and the prosecutors want him to elaborate for the benefit of the five judges, who have not read the police transcripts. I do not wish to comment on Liberia. Youll have to skip it, said Breivik at one point. Inga Bejer Engh, the prosecutor leading today, held her cool, saying she couldnt skip it and would have to read from the police transcript. Fine, said
Breivik. Read it, then.

Breivik also told berated Engh and the police for not following up leads relating to 8,000 Facebook contacts to whom he sent his manifesto and the Serb war criminal he claims to have met in Liberia.

Eugene Costa said...

Goebbels was a close and admiring student of the American Edward Bernays and had his brief but central work Propaganda in an honored place in his library. Bernays was in turn the nephew of Sigmund Freud, whose work Bernays exploited in American Public Relations, which is the American Capitalists' term, with advertising, for propaganda. Bernays had a very long career, including a central role, with his distinctive use of the "tie-in", in the US overthrow of the elected president of Guatemala, Arbenz.
One is no great fan of television and cinematic documentaries, but the BBC's Century Of Self, which is available on Youtube and focuses on Bernays, is a model of how an excellent and accurate documentary in that medium should be done, including an extensive analysis of the Bernaysian use of Freud to sell commodities.

Bernays' Propaganda is also still worth reading, though one has to be very sophisticated to see what lies under the simple, Babbitesque prose. Goebbels' diaries are also worth reading, for many different reasons. As a propagandist, however, as he himself might have admitted, he was still in kindergarten beside Bernays.

Zman said...

lol Serb "war criminal" in Liberia??? ahahahah that has to be a joke.

CubuCoko said...

The Breivik trial is intended to be an inquisition of all those who oppose the "cultural enrichment" doctrine prevalent in Scandinavia these days - but it's quickly becoming a showcase for how bankrupt that doctrine really is.

I hear that Swedish radio host that went on a rant about Serbs was either suspended or sacked altogether. That's certainly a surprising development; Serb-haters usually become celebrities.

Anyway, we're veering off-topic here; I guess the point is that what's going on with in Serbia (de-Serbification, i.e. social engineering) is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, and that this process has actually been ongoing in Europe and North America for quite some time now.