YOU THINK YOU ARE A CONSUMER BUT MAYBE YOU HAVE BEEN CONSUMED

Tuesday 5 March 2013, 16:07

Adam Curtis Adam Curtis

screens

One of the guiding beliefs of our consuming age is that we are all free and independent individuals. That we can choose to do pretty much what we want, and if we can't then it's bad.

But at the same time, co-existing alongside this, there is a completely different, parallel universe where we all seem meekly to do what those in power tell us to do. Ever since the economic crisis in 2008, millions of people have accepted cuts in all sorts of things - from real wages and living standards to benefits and hospital care - without any real opposition.

The cuts may be right, or they may be stupid - but the astonishing thing is how no-one really challenges them.

I think that one of the reasons for this is because a lot of the power that shapes our lives today has become invisible - and so it is difficult to see how it really works and even more difficult to challenge it.

So much of the language that surrounds us - from things like economics, management theory and the algorithms built into computer systems - appears to be objective and neutral. But in fact it is loaded with powerful, and very debatable, political assumptions about how society should work, and what human beings are really like.

But it is very difficult to show this to people. Journalists, whose job is to pull back and tell dramatic stories that bring power into focus, find it impossible because things like economic theory are both incomprehensible and above all boring. The same is true of "management science". Mild-mannered men and women meet in glass-walled offices and decide the destinies of millions of people on the basis of "targets" and "measured outcomes".

Like economics it pretends to be neutral, but it isn't. Yet it's impossible to show this dramatically because nothing happens in those glass-walled offices except the click of a keystroke that brings up another powerpoint slide. It's boring - and it's impossible to turn it into stories that will grab peoples imaginations - yet hundreds of peoples' jobs may depend on what is written on that slide.

modern

I want to do a series of posts that will go back and reveal the forgotten roots of some of this fake objectivity that surrounds us today. They will be a series of stories that show how over the past fifty years both the political Right and the Left have gnawed away at the idea of objective truth. Sometimes almost colluding together to help bring about today's uncertainty and confusion about where power and influence really lies in our society.

The first is an odd story - with a very strange character at its heart. It is about how in the 1950s the richest man in the world, an oil billionaire in Texas, invented a new form of television journalism. It pretended to be objective and balanced but in fact it was hard core right-wing propaganda. It was way ahead of its time because, in its fake neutrality, it prefigured the rise of the ultraconservative right-wing media of the 1990s - like Fox News, with its copyrighted slogan, "Fair and Balanced"

The billionaire was called H. L. Hunt - Haroldson Lafayette Hunt. He made his fortune in the early 1930s by getting hold of one of the biggest oil fields in America - in the pine forests of East Texas. He was a ruthless, driven man and from early on he became absolutely convinced that he had superhuman qualities that made him different from other humans.

Here is a picture of Mr Hunt which gives you a sense of his conviction about himself.

hunt

 

From the 1920s onwards Hunt was a bigamist. He married two women and raised two families that were oblivious of each other. He told his second wife, Frania, that he was called Major Franklyn Hunt. There was a rocky moment when his picture was on the front page of all the Texas papers because of his spectacular oil deal. Frania asked Hunt if that was him - he told her no, that it was his uncle who had been so clever.

two hunts

Hunt was part of a group of extreme right-wing oil men in Texas who had enormous influence because of their wealth. There is a brilliant book written about this group - The Big Rich by Bryan Burrough. Burrough describes how they had first risen up in the 1930s because they loathed President Roosevelt - "a nigger-loving communist", as one oil man called him. They were convinced that Roosevelt's New Deal was really run by Jews and communists - or "social vermin" as they politely put it.

A Texas congressman called Sam Rayburn summed up this group of right-wing oil men. "All they do is hate" - he said.

After the Second World War H L Hunt did two things. He added another, third, family to his bigamist's collection. And he also turned to the new medium of television to promote his ultraconservative views. In 1950 he wrote a pamphlet putting forward the idea of what he called an "Educational Facts League" - its purpose, Hunt wrote:

"will be to secure a impartial presentation of all the news through all the news channels concerning issues of public interest"

It would, said Hunt, be an organization where ordinary Americans would be supplied with the true facts of political life.

Hunt announced that the organization would be called "Facts Forum" - and he found a man called Dan Smoot to be its public face. Smoot had been an FBI agent - and he was smooth and reasonable. Starting on radio, but then moving to television, Smoot presented a show called Facts Forum which every week would give you, the audience, a balanced presentation of the facts behind the news. Very reminiscent of the later catch-phrase on Fox News - "We Report, You Decide".

facts forum

In fact this declaration of balance and fairness was rubbish. Smoot would begin by presenting the left or liberal viewpoint on a subject in a dull, bland way. Then would enthusiastically put forward the alternative, or what Hunt called, the "constructive" view. This view was simple - all government was bad, business should be left alone - and anyone who disagreed was a communist trying to take over the world. And was probably a Jew as well.

The programmes were radically skewed to promote an ultraconservative agenda while pretending to be neutral and balanced.

There was lots of implied racism in the shows. In his book Bryan Burroughs quotes from one episode where Smoot argued against fair employment legislation - and said:

"Remember that the negroes when first brought to America by Yankee and English merchants were not free people reduced to slavery. They were merely transferred from a barbaric enslavement by their own people in Africa to a relatively benign enslavement in the Western Hemisphere."

Facts Forum became a successful media enterprise - with two syndicated radio shows and three TV shows produced from their own studios in New York. They were backed up by books and pamphlets paid for by Hunt. One was called "We Must Abolish the United Nations" - written by Joseph Kamp. His previous "balanced" books had included one called "Hitler Was a Liberal".

 

hitler book

Here is a wonderful documentary profile of H. L. Hunt. It was made in 1968. By now his first wife had died, the second had got fed up and moved away, and Hunt was now left with only his third wife - Rita Ray.

You get a very good sense of Hunt's obsessive drive to promote his conservative views - sending out endless pamphlets, training young men and women to become part of his League of Youth Freedom Speakers, and even insisting that his whole family sit at the dinner table to listen to one of his new radio shows. It was called LIFELINE. Again Hunt was ahead of his time - because the show fused right-wing anti-communism with fundamentalist religion.

What you don't see is the tragedy of Hunt's life - his eldest son Hassie. He had originally followed his father into the oil business, but had then become violent and paranoid. Hunt had tried his own treatment - bringing in lots of women for Hassie to have sex with. But what had worked for the father didn't do much for the son. Doctors tried ECT - but that didn't work. In the end Hunt was persuaded to let them give Hassie a prefrontal lobotomy and his son spent the rest of his life wandering the Hunt estate like a strange ghost.

At the end of the film Hunt and his wife get up in their living room and sing together "We're just plain folks". It's very spooky. And it's not true.

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Hunt's Facts Forum was the model for much of what was later to come with the rise of the right in the media in the 1990s - both in radio and TV. But Hunt didn't just shape the future of the right, he also had a profound effect on the way the Left too attacked and corroded the idea of objectivity and neutrality in journalism.

It happened because of some pieces of paper that were found in the jacket pocket of Jack Ruby - the man who shot Lee Harvey Oswald. Two of them were scripts from Hunt's radio programme called LIFELINE. The third had a telephone number of one of Hunt's sons.

Many of Lifeline's programmes had attacked John F. Kennedy as a communist dupe who was destroying America - and Jack Ruby had apparently been outraged by such vicious propaganda against Kennedy.

Then it was discovered that a full page advertisement placed in the Dallas Morning News on the day of the assassination had been partly paid for by another of Hunt's sons - Bunker Hunt. It was surrounded by a black, threatening border - and was titled sarcastically "Welcome Mr Kennedy to Dallas"

welcome to dallas

Like his father, Bunker Hunt was an ultraconservative - and the advertisement was placed under a title that echoed Facts Forum. It was called "The American Fact-Finding Committee" who described themselves as "An unaffiliated and non-partisan group of citizens who wish truth". And it accused JFK of all sorts of treasonous acts against America - including:

"Why have you ordered your brother Bobby, the Attorney General, to go soft on communists, fellow-travellers and ultra-leftists in America, while permitting him to persecute loyal Americans who criticize you, your administration, and your leadership?

We DEMAND answers to these questions, and we want them NOW."

As a result newspapers across America attacked Hunt's operations for creating the "climate of hate" in Texas that might have contributed to the President's death. And Hunt and his sons became targets in the FBI investigation that would then become part of the Warren Commission.

And it got worse. In 1967 the ambitious District Attorney in New Orleans, Jim Garrison, opened a new investigation into Kennedy's killing. Garrison started talking about how there had been a conspiracy that might have included certain unnamed Texas oilmen.

Hunt's head of security managed to get hold of a diagram drawn out by Garrison's team where "H L Hunt" was at the heart of a complicated network of lines drawing connections between the Dallas police, Ruby, Oswald, plus all kinds of small-time players in Dallas. And although Garrison's investigation folded in 1969 - it, and its diagrams, became the template for the growing conspiracy theories from the left.

One of the earliest - and most powerful - expressions of this was a film called Rush To Judgement made in 1967 by a left wing filmmaker called Emile de Antonio and a lawyer-turned-investigator called Mark Lane. De Antonio is a fascinating character - he came out of the avant-garde art world, and had worked with Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg - and he shared their knowing distrust of the media world of two-dimensional images that was then becoming so prevalent.

Rush to Judgement sets out to propose an alternative explanation for Kennedy's assassination. At the heart of this other story is the idea that there is a group of powerful, shadowy men in Texas who used their wealth and power to create a distorted fiction - Oswald the lone nut - to disguise their conspiracy. A fiction that the public then believed.

The film interviews a whole host of extraordinary bit players from the Texas world and builds up a very powerful mood of uncertainty and suspicion. Underlying this is a message that says these hidden forces in America will never allow you to know the truth. Which means that what you are told by the media may be a lie. That you are being manipulated.

Just as H. L. Hunt himself was gnawing away at the idea of objectivity and truth through his own TV programmes, so too were the left also using a demonic caricature of H L Hunt to do the very same thing. He and other shadowy figures, the left said, will never let you know the truth.

jfk

Here is a section of the Rush To Judgement film. It had its world premiere in 1967 on BBC television - broadcast for an hour and a half at prime time. The section starts with the presenter in the studio introducing it - and framing how the viewer should interpret it. Then I have cut straight to the latter part of the film - which is all about how intertwined Jack Ruby was with the Dallas police and establishment.

It is long, but I have left it like that deliberately, because I think it is important to see how Emile de Antonio uses a particular technique to persuade you that he is presenting the real truth. The interviews are held long, and an archive interview with the Dallas police chief is used repeatedly to counterpoint them. It has a cumulative power that feels real and also feels like it is allowing you to judge the characters. That technique would rise up and become central to many of the more mainstream liberal documentaries of the last thirty years.

But it is also very much a technique borrowed from avant-garde cinema and in that sense is as artificial a language as anything you see on Fox News.

We report. You decide.

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Mark Lane went on to help write a film in 1973 called Executive Action. It was about how a group of Texas oilmen kill President Kennedy. It was the same idea that resurfaced in Oliver Stone's JFK. But the best, and earliest, caricature of Hunt is in the film Billion Dollar Brain - also made in 1967. It was written by Len Deighton and directed by Ken Russell. The villain is a raving right-wing Texas oilman called General Midwinter who runs an organisation called Crusade For Freedom - modelled on Facts Forum and Lifeline - and wants to use his giant computer to bring down the Soviet Union.

Here's a short clip of General Midwinter in full-on Hunt mode.

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But H L Hunt was far more than a caricature right-wing nutbag. The roots of so much of the distrust of the media today lie back with him and his ideas - with his Facts Forum in the 1950s and the strange role he played in Dallas in the 1960s.

In later posts I want to trace how what Hunt started, spread out from the dark pine forests of East Texas and began to develop into a much more powerful force undermining the idea of neutrality and objectivity in our age.

watching fox

Comments

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  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 1.

    I love seeing new posts here. I think of both "There will be blood," and "The Prize." I am tempted to read the Burroughs book now.

    Oil wealth is such an important part of understanding our world and future. Digging holes in the ground and burning what comes out seems to be the great project of the past hundred years if not all of human history.

    The extravagant level of wealth the oil industry creates, and the delusional and anti-rational behavior and power it creates is nothing new to most people. Wether Texas oilmen, Saudi princes, or British Industrialists, these people have so much wealth, they can bend reality around them by privilege alone. They often escape responsibility.

    I'd expect the new levels of natural gas wealth all over the world will create predictably similar people. This is not a good development.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 2.

    Would whoever has the power to do so please do as the BBC has done with much of its other video content and make these clips available to iOS devices. I still have to dust off the laptop to get the most out of Mr. Curtis’s essential posts.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 3.

    I wonder if there is a relation between Hunt Oil that signed the first production sharing agreement with Kurdistan Regional Government in northern Iraq and H. L. Hunt whom Adam mentions here? Kurdistan is the region where US Exxon Mobil is investing in its oilfields.

    Quote below from "Fuel on the Fire" by
    Greg Muttitt 2011 pages 271-3
    : "8 Sept 2007 KRG signed quietly the first production sharing agreement on an area 800 square kilometres centred on Semroot with Hunt Oil a mid sized privately owned company based in Dallas . Ray Hunt CEO and chairman was a close friend of George w. Bush." quoted in "

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 4.

    Thank you for yet another great article. I'd like to comment on the "astonishing thing" that seemingly "no-one really" opposes the recent "cuts in all sorts of things".

    I assume that Mr. Curtis and the fellow readers of this blog know well that there has been multilocational oppositions movements. But, for SOME reason they are treated as negligible and categorized as un-real. Within the Greek protest movement (2010 - 2012) several hundred people were injured and five people died. Furthermore, the Greek opposition movements had a wide media coverage.

    Hence, I wonder why the 'rhetoric of negligibility' is used in regards to the opposition movements ?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 5.

    Thanks, another interesting read about a character I'd never heard of.

    I guess if you are talking about a decline in objectivity - you might implicitly be starting from a place where journalism/public discourse was (more) objective - and I'm not sure that it ever was.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 6.

    A great article, as usual, but I don't agree with your statement: "The cuts may be right, or they may be stupid - but the astonishing thing is how no-one really challenges them." From the Occupy movement to the summer of student protests, and even localised community-led protests (such as against the closing of Lewisham Hospital) more and more people are making sure they are heard. This has had a marked effect on politics, as the Liberal Democrats learned all too painfully.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 7.

    Interesting post Adam. Perhaps you could expand on the way documentary techniques are used to present a particular viewpoint, and also how this informs your own methods of presentation?

    I also wonder about the sense of an ideal time and place you invoke to compare what is happening in the present; as if perhaps there was a particular place, in the late sixties perhaps, where absolute truth and understanding was attainable.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 8.

    Thanks for your, as always, great stuff. One observation, tho': If the public have accepted cuts as you say, then it will be interesting to how see how the exemption of bankers bonuses from the same logic will be conveyed to the masses.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 9.

    Another excellent item but as Kenny Park mentioned, please can some BBC techie sort out the videos for use with iOS.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 10.

    This is really exciting.

    When you look through the big comments threads on here you hear people talk about all sorts of grand ideas and philosophies and histories. They're amazing, and potentially liberating I think, because they give people another view of the world and can to some extent explain the way the world is, and why. A lot of them are really clever. The thing is that most people didn't study philosophy or economics or political science, and it's quite an insular world, so it can be hard for a lot people to get the benefit. It can be boring like AC says. And it can be almost indecipherable, because the people who've written these great books and have these great ideas tend to be quite smart and the ideas can be complicated, especially in the context of what we already feel we know. Academics and the like have failed in bringing it to people, or maybe failed to even try and communicate these ideas to people.

    I wonder if in one sense it shares the problems of capitalism, in that it's built on a kind of egoism, using specialised language and trapped by a narrow sense of what these ideas are for, in a little world where what matters is a career in the academy, 'peer approval', or just looking clever. I'm absolutely obsessed with the British Gas advert with all the little animated people in their little houses on their little planets. I wonder what someone from another planet would think.

    I really love the talk about 'glass-walled offices' and 'powerpoint presentations', it really struck a chord with me in context of my life in the last week. And that's where it's at. If these ideas and a scepticism towards some of things we accept every day are to spread (and this what we need I think) then people will have to see that these ideas have meaning to their lives, that they can understand them (they probably already do actually) and that they are part of something greater, a part of history.

    It should go minute, but be gigantic at the same time, which is what AC does to be fair. But I think you could further. Someone should do something that's like a cross between The Only Way Is Essex and Gramsci. I might do it.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 11.

    Dear Mr Curtis,

    I bet you would really like this ambient music radio program, on the Australian rough equivalent to Radio 4, whilst you are busy editing etc!

    http://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/quietspace/

    And I wouldn't be surprised if you come upon some music you would like to use in your excellent films, too. I listen to it often whilst painting my pictures late at night, and just now whilst listening to it I thought of you and thought you may be interested.

    I am very much looking forward to whatever your new film(s) is/are to be!. I hope something is in the pipeline, as I always find them truly wonderful.

    Yours sincerely,

    Michael Lightfoot

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 12.

    @olliefern - A reasonable question would be whether people really are being heard, or whether they are even making any noise. I haven't heard much. I have no one to vote for at the next election who provides a different story from the big three, a different voice making sure it is heard. I don't think the rise of UKIP should be rejoiced.

    With everything that's going on it's something of a shock that someone in the political class hasn't come out and said something different. It's going to take a serious political movement for things to change, with a real appeal to regular folks, and real involvement. I don't know what they could say. But something like -

    "There is no choice. We are going backwards. Austerity of the type we are seeing in this country has never worked in any comparable economy in history. The real reason this path has been taken is because it is a 'great opportunity' to weaken the majority of everyday people through unemployment so their wages can be kept low, they can be depressed and disempowered, and the people who own big companies and finance, who we all seem to exist to serve, can make more money and keep power. The Tories also hope that by undermining public services that private business will be wilfully invited in and take over these services, expanding both their domains. The distinction between 'scroungers and strivers' is arbitrary, and meant to divide people, because God forbid that people start having any sympathy for the poor, or recognise he brutal fact that we are to such a great extent defined and limited by circumstance - they might ask that something be done about it. Well, something should be done about it. We should create a society where everybody has a role to play and people have a fair chance to live fulfilling and meaningful lives, rather than be trapped in meaningless work, or poverty. This will only happen if we can look beyond our bins being collected and anti-social behaviour and challenge those that currently have power and ruthlessly use it in their own interest.

    We've lost faith in politicians and the media and business, and lost the ability to create or even a imagine a better society. And we wilfully accept this because we feel there is no choice, and it doesn't affect our own little worlds. Well it does, and it might threaten them in time. We need to rediscover the fact that what matters is what is good and what is right. We are so cynical that what has become important to us is GDP, personal development plans, body mass indexes, examination results, quotas and most of all 'the market'. Is this the sole measure of what we are, or can be? We've become obsessed with technique and measurement and forgotten the deeper questions humans are able to ask and answer - why, and what is all this for? Economic depression is not the only depression we are going through, and we need to get out of it, because a different society is possible.

    A vote for us is a vote for these principles, a 'hope' that isn't some empty PR calculation derived from another set of numbers, for a 'change' that doesn't fade like the ink on a poster, but a real intent to create a new society to replace the one we have now, a society that everybody knows isn't fair and isn't free. We can go backwards, or we can go forwards. Now you have a choice."

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 13.

    I'm enjoying all the videos on my desktop.
    Sometimes less is more, possibly a view Hunt might have agreed with.
    We have seen the conclusion of his journey. I'm looking forward to seeing how he got there.
    A shame we didn't get to see more of that neat Dallas diorama, built at huge expense (no doubt) by the BBC.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 14.

    "But it is very difficult to show this to people."

    Is that a key to the unusual montage of your films? Must say I llove it.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 16.

    I doubt that the lack of objectivity in current public discourse in the United States can really all be traced to H.L. Hunt. It seems to me that rational discourse presupposes that both sides in the discussion. It also presupposes that people are free to say what they really think. In the United States both of these conditions are lacking, because the official cant of the United States has nothing to do with reality, and because there are irreconcilable conflicts within the American public. Cant is obligatory in American political discourse, and the people on the other side of the aisle are not members of any loyal opposition; rather they are mortal enemies. Under such conditions of course genuine rational discourse is impossible.

    I think that the receptivity of the American public to the kind of propaganda that Hunt offered is a fact of more fundamental importance than the fact that he offered it.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 17.

    Another great piece, thanks once again - teaching me about the roots of 'shock jock' radio in the US prior to the 1980s and how it fed into the Kennedy assassination. One important difference between broadcasting in the UK vs US is course while the BBC developed a tradition through Reith as a paternalist guardian of socially uplifting, nation-building values (albeit liberal, middle-calss-led) while this has been more distant in US broadcasters who were more unashamedly commercial operations.

    Aaah but although some like to argue against a BBC 'golden age' of the 60s and 70s....Emile de Antonio on prime time TV with a major investigative piece!!! Thanks for showing this Adam (I had seen other films of his but not this) though my crummy internet connection forever frustrated me with the beachball.

    I too would like to contest the statement about the cuts and the reason why 'the astonishing thing is that people don't challenge them'.

    It is partially true that this is because computers, economics and management theory is hard to film. But as jhnhgs75 alludes, people are angry about bankers' bonuses.

    Marx's insight that 'in any society, the dominant ideas were ever those of the ruling class holds true. This was develooped by Gramsci's concept of hegemony, one of whose features matches what Adam is trying to illustrate here: that these dominant ideas are portrayed as neutral, natural and 'common-sense'.

    It begs jhnhgs75' question though: if the dominant ideas are those of the ruling class, how can anyone see through them? Partly perhaps because they are dominant not universal: anfd that say huge bankers bonuses conflict with the experience of the injustice of it in the face of the
    impoverishment of most of us. In other words fitting to the material circumstances of our lives, and contrasting through ideas of unfairness.

    But the other reason is also the failure, pessimism and lack of imagination of both the Labour leadership and most of the trade union bureaucracy to mobilise a fightback, still in thrall to the defeats that Thacher inflicted 30 years ago (althugh there are honorable exceptiopns like mark Serwotka of the PCS imaginatively calling their strike against pay and job cuts on Budget Day, 20 March.

    Miliband has barely moved from the New Labour template, and comes across as, and standing up for, the privileged Hampstead liberal focussing the 'squeezed middle' not the vicious squeeze on the less well-off with wage and benefirt cuts, now jumping on the divide-and-rule immigration bandwagon. with the One Nation stuff pinched from Tories

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 18.

    Another great piece, thanks once again - teaching me about the roots of 'shock jock' radio in the US prior to the 1980s and how it fed into the Kennedy assassination. One important difference between broadcasting in the UK vs US is course while the BBC developed a tradition through Reith as a paternalist guardian of socially uplifting, nation-building values (albeit liberal, middle-calss-led) while this has been more distant in US broadcasters who were more unashamedly commercial operations.

    Aaah but although some like to argue against a BBC 'golden age' of the 60s and 70s....Emile de Antonio on prime time TV with a major investigative piece!!! Thanks for showing this Adam (I had seen other films of his but not this) though my crummy internet connection forever frustrated me with the beachball.

    I too would like to contest the statement about the cuts and the reason why 'the astonishing thing is that people don't challenge them'.

    It is partially true that this is because computers, economics and management theory is hard to film. But as jhnhgs75 alludes, people are angry about bankers' bonuses.

    Marx's insight that 'in any society, the dominant ideas were ever those of the ruling class holds true. This was develooped by Gramsci's concept of hegemony, one of whose features matches what Adam is trying to illustrate here: that these dominant ideas are portrayed as neutral, natural and 'common-sense'.

    It begs jhnhgs75' question though: if the dominant ideas are those of the ruling class, how can anyone see through them? Partly perhaps because they are dominant not universal: anfd that say huge bankers bonuses conflict with the experience of the injustice of it in the face of the
    impoverishment of most of us. In other words fitting to the material circumstances of our lives, and contrasting through ideas of unfairness.

    But the other reason is also the failure, pessimism and lack of imagination of both the Labour leadership and most of the trade union bureaucracy to mobilise a fightback, still in thrall to the defeats that Thacher inflicted 30 years ago (althugh there are honorable exceptiopns like mark Serwotka of the PCS imaginatively calling their strike against pay and job cuts on Budget Day, 20 March.

    ... (contd) like Heath & Disraeli.

    Despite this, there is some resistance as olliefern rightly says such as the marvellous local demo of 25,000 to defend Lewisham hospital, people mobilising despite the dominant ideology.
    .
    So theartteacher is absolutely right to highlight the need for new left political parties/formations

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 19.

    12 the art teacher
    there is an economic theory which can logically and empircally underpin your manfesto
    Modern Monetary Theory
    it can explain the current situation
    and provide a rational response
    not that it can provide many answers in how to deal with the power and wealth of the elite
    but it clearly demostrates the real economic power the state has as the monopoly
    issuer of the soverign currency and its abdication from wielding this power for the benefit
    of its citizens

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 20.

    What's always interested me in relation to the Kennedy thing is by design or because of the nature of the media, the events in Dallas (possibly the first worldwide media/TV event) took on the form of a fictional/para-cultural phenomena with it's cast of characters (Oswald, Ruby), locations "Grassy Knoll" and props Kennedy's car, Zapruder camera etc. This surreal drama served to confuse and baffle people and continues to do so. I wonder if this has had a profound effect on the way Television companies present the world and it's events, to pacify the audience/consumer by a deliberate use of the way this media mediated event was percieved in modes of presentation and production of contemporary Television.

 

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