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Americans Are More Propagandized Than Chinese People
Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix
The US government is far more abusive, destructive and tyrannical than the Chinese government and Americans are far more indoctrinated by propaganda than Chinese people. Americans don’t even know they’re continually ingesting US empire propaganda to inform their worldview, and they live under the most abusive regime on earth.
There’s this weird propaganda two-step being performed where westerners are being told over and over and over again that Chinese people live in a freakish backwards mind-controlled dystopia, but somehow we westerners do not.
“Chinese people live in a freakish backwards mind-controlled dystopia where dissenting thought is crushed and everyone’s brainwashed by propaganda.”
“Oh yeah? How do you know?”
“Come on man, it’s all over the news all day every day!”
Point 1: It’s bad to be racist.
Point 2: Being a warmonger is worse than being a racist.
Neither of these points should be controversial, and saying them both should draw no objection whatsoever. But the entirety of the mainstream synthetic left — and a substantial percentage of the authentic socialist left — quietly disagree with Point #2.
You know this is true because if they actually agreed with Point #2 no mainstream western government official would ever be able to show their face in public, because all mainstream western government officials are warmongers. Mainstream media reporters and pundits would not be able to appear in polite company, because mainstream media reporters and pundits are warmongers. Anyone publicly supporting the western empire and its foreign policy in any way would be the main villain on social media for the day, and would be confronted by angry protesters wherever they appeared. The New York Times would become as socially rejected as The Daily Stormer unless it stopped churning out war propaganda.
The entire empire would crumble. That’s why Point #2, despite being self-evidently true, is shoved outside the Overton window of acceptable debate by mass-scale psychological manipulation. And that’s why there are people reading this doing all kinds of mental gymnastics to find a way to make what I’m saying here wrong. But it is definitely undeniable and worth pointing out that warmongering is far more accepted than racism throughout the synthetic left and much of the authentic left, when really both should be rejected with maximum force.
The authentic left opposes the ruling power structure, opposes imperialism and opposes economic injustice. The mainstream synthetic left does everything it can to build left-wing credibility without opposing any of those things. It opposes racism, sexism and discrimination against LGBTQ people just like the authentic left does, but whenever there’s an opportunity to actually act against the interests of the capitalist imperialists it’s nowhere to be found.
And it’s important for the authentic left to be aware of this, not least because it will often fool itself about its power and its numbers by conflating the left-wing issues that are amplified by the mainstream synthetic left with successes of the authentic left. It was easy to make the mistake, for example, of thinking that the BLM protests of 2020 were a sign of a surging socialist zeitgeist, or that the opposition to Trump and January 6 was a sign of rising anti-fascist sentiments, when really they were both only getting the mainstream traction they were getting because they were supported by the mainstream synthetic left as well. Members of the authentic left hitched their wagons to those impulses in a big way hoping to see a major authentic shift to the left, but nothing meaningful actually happened as a result of them. The traction was coming almost entirely from the mainstream synthetic left, who have vastly greater numbers and vastly louder amplification.
Contrast that with the traction gained by movements driven solely by the authentic left without the support of the synthetic left, and the picture looks far more bleak. Antiwar rallies with a hundred people. Communist meetings with a couple dozen people. The only traction we ever really get is online, because the internet lets us all find each other around the world and network. But it doesn’t translate to real-world movement.
That’s not our fault of course; a tremendous amount of effort has gone into stomping out the authentic left and diverting all energy to the synthetic left for generations. But it’s important to be real about it, because we can’t begin to address the problem if we don’t understand it. And we definitely don’t understand it if we’re mistaking the successes of the mainstream synthetic left for our own successes.
Nothing will shatter your dreams of a broad left-right antiwar coalition faster than publicly opposing US warmongering against both Russia and China simultaneously.
One of the most brilliant innovations of modern empire propaganda has been splitting the population into two groups who argue about WHAT KIND of warmongering should be supported, rather than IF warmongering should be supported.
Ten Tips For Empire Critics Getting Started In Indie Media
I don’t really know how I wound up gathering a following and making a living out of railing against the empire every day; from my point of view it’s been a happy series of miracles and coincidences combined with decent work ethic and a burning desire for a healthy world. So while I don’t really know how I wound up doing this thing myself, I have picked up a few tips that might be useful to someone who wants to try to do this sort of thing in their own way.
Here then are ten suggestions for empire critics who are getting started in indie media, for whatever they’re worth:
1. Put out daily content if possible. The best way to build an audience is to become a regular part of people’s day that they look forward to enjoying in their spare time. I’ve found it impossible to get an article out every single day without fail 365 days a year just because that’s how life moves, but I do my best and I get pretty close. This isn’t possible for investigative journalists and people who do deep dives or extensively produced videos, but if you’re doing commentary, analysis or art or whatever it’s a real advantage.
2. Be sincere and trustworthy. People can sense sincerity and insincerity, and they’ll keep coming back to your articles, videos or whatever you’re putting out there if they get the sense that you’re being sincere and telling the truth as best you can. Be completely honest and straightforward about who you are, where you’re coming from, and what your agendas are, and trust people to sort out for themselves whether you’re their cup of tea rather than trying to manipulate them into liking you by misrepresenting yourself. They’ll be able to tell.
3. Always be learning, and always be getting better at learning. Make sure you’re taking in more information than you’re putting out, and always work to find new sources of information. By taking in as much high-quality information as you can and forming an understanding of it, you can then simplify it and explain how it all fits in to the bigger picture for your audience in a way that they can easily understand.
4. Be courageous and kind with yourself about learning on the job. Don’t expect to get everything perfect right away. Understanding and talking about power structures and systemic abuses is a skill just like any other, and you’ll necessarily be worse at it when you start out than you will be a few years on. You will make mistakes, but as long as you course correct then no mistake is fatal. Looking back on some of the stuff I said in my first year at this gig is a bit embarrassing, but I kept at it and got much better. I didn’t walk very well when I was first learning that skill either.
5. Listen to feedback, but don’t be driven by it. Everyone’s going to have an opinion about your content, and a lot of them are going to be 100% certain that you should listen to their opinion and no one else’s and can’t understand why you don’t view them as the sole authority in your world. I learn more from random people’s comments on my stuff than I do from any authorized opinion-havers of mainstream punditry, but I also refuse to say anything I don’t personally see as true from my own education and understanding. Let feedback provide you with information and perspective, but don’t let it shape your work. Your work should be driven solely by what you sincerely understand to be true and nothing else; the job of feedback is to help you build on your own understanding, not to supplant it.
6. Check against your biases. Find out if things are really true by deeply researching opposing perspectives on them; don’t just accept the narrative that confirms your worldview and feels good in your feely bits, find out if the people whose worldview it goes against have produced any compelling evidence or arguments against it. There are certain things I would love to be true just because of my conditioning and the way I’m wired, but sometimes it turns out that the facts don’t support it. Our cognitive biases will always place a filter over our understanding of the world to some extent, but if we bring our awareness to them and stay real honest with ourselves about them we can minimize the wobble they put on our perspective. Plus being aware of the facts and arguments which go against your biases strengthen your own arguments, because you know which arguments can be easily dismantled and which the opposing perspective doesn’t have any real answers for.
7. Don’t cloister yourself in an information echo chamber. It’s extremely common for indie media to get lost in these weird self-validating information feedback loops where things are believed to be true solely because everyone who’s always furiously agreeing with each other about everything has agreed that it’s true. You need to always be gathering information from a bunch of diverse circles and a bunch of different ideologies to avoid this sort of brain poison, including circles and ideologies you disagree with. Don’t knee-jerk unfollow someone simply because you disagree on their current position on the debate du jour. You will disagree with everyone at times. That’s normal. Keep your information stream as diverse as possible.
8. Be very cautious about who you collaborate with. It’s fine and good to have co-collaborators (mine’s my husband), but be unapologetically limited and exclusive about it. Once you show up as an exciting new voice you’ll get activists and other indie media people trying to bring you into their thing and get you on board with their agendas and use your energy to power their projects, and it can get really messy. The attention can be flattering at first, but it very quickly takes on a life of its own, and all of a sudden your voice isn’t your own and isn’t being used in the ways you sincerely feel called to use it. These days I avoid group chats like the plague and resist getting sucked into cliques and factions of all sorts, just because I’ve found even that much can create peer pressure to speak in ways that don’t feel aligned with my inner guidance, and I don’t like it.
9. Meditate/do inner work. I can’t understand how anyone can do this work without a discipline dedicated to bringing inner stability and a practice of discovering inner truth. Having people scream at you all day online while examining the darkest things happening in our world today will burn you out and put a massive wobble on your work unless you can create some psychological spaciousness around it somehow, and inner exploration turns up all kinds of insights on the problems in our world that you can use in your work.
10. Remember that nothing is personal. Your critics are never commenting on you as a person, they’re commenting on their own inner conditioning that shapes their understanding of what you’re saying and their response to it. We’re all just lost little kids interfacing with a very complex and highly manipulated world using brains that were designed to avoid prehistoric predators and find grubs to eat. Don’t take it too seriously.
My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece here are some options where you can toss some money into my tip jar if you want to. All my work is free to bootleg and use in any way, shape or form; republish it, translate it, use it on merchandise; whatever you want. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. All works co-authored with my husband Tim Foley.
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