Jacques Ellul on Propaganda and Occupy Wall Street

Jacques Ellul

Jacques Ellul on propaganda (Think: Occupy Wall Street):

“Propaganda’s great power is precisely that it furnishes modern man with simple, global explanations, broad, dogmatic causes without which, engulfed by information, he cannot live.

Man is doubly reassured by propaganda: first, because he sees in it an explanation which he can readily understand of the events as they occur; second, because he is promised certain solutions to problems which arise when his limited personal experience yields to objectivity.

But propaganda also teaches him that these problems can be solved only if he participates in the actions proposed for their solution. This is how it makes the individual feel his worth.

Overwhelmed by information, he regains his balance, thanks to propaganda.

He had acquired a sense of his extreme helplessness in a world that had become too vast and too complex, and now he becomes aware of his own importance.

Propaganda tells him that his adherence is essential, that his intervention is being relied upon, that his action is decisive, and that nothing can be solved without him.

While information is necessary for self-awareness, propaganda is necessary to prevent self-awareness from turning into despair.

Man is enriched by the conviction that he can intervene effectively in political life. Furthermore, propaganda teaches him that the extraordinary problems which information has revealed can be solved, but on condition that a certain party, a certain nation, a certain movement, triumphs; and that he, an ordinary individual, will be the artisan of this triumph and will be clothed in glory.

Thus information receives its answer and is put in its true place. It does not produce further obstacles; on the contrary, it becomes another reason for action.” ~ Jacques Ellul


OWS = Otpor

“But Otpor’s founders realized that young people would participate in politics — if it made them feel heroic and cool, part of something big. It was postmodern revolution. “Our product is a lifestyle,” Marovic explained to me. “The movement isn’t about the issues. It’s about my identity. We’re trying to make politics sexy.” Traditional politicians saw their job as making speeches and their followers’ job as listening to them; Otpor chose to have collective leadership, and no speeches at all. And if the organization took inspiration from Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr., it also took cues from Coca-Cola, with its simple, powerful message and strong brand. Otpor’s own logo was a stylized clenched fist — an ironic, mocking expropriation of the symbol of the Serb Partisans in World War II, and of communist movements everywhere.” See: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2011/02/16/revolution_u?page=full

See: Facebook and People Power: The View From Tahrir Square


About ajmacdonaldjr

writer, author, blogger
This entry was posted in Activism, Government, history, Literary Theory, Philosophy, Politics and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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