22 August 2015

Radio, TV, Film and Video

Agitprop, Part 9

Radio, TV, Film and Video

This item is concerned with what generally falls under the description “broadcasting”.

A more descriptive phrase is “one-to-many” communication. The model form is the mass-circulation newspaper, developed in the last quarter of the 19th Century. Cinema as a mass medium followed at the beginning of the 20th Century. Radio broadcasting got under way in the 1920s. Television took off as a mass medium in the 1950s.

Mass, one-to-many, broadcast communication is therefore typical of the 20th century. All of these media have been used by states to impose uniformity of thought and culture on the population. They have all been used by revolutionaries, as well. But typically, one-to-many communication is patronising and not conducive to revolutionary thought, which as we know requires dialogue if it is to develop.

Only with the rise of the Internet, with its possibility of “many-to-many”, or “any-to-many” communications, has the broadcasting model been challenged. Internet has meant that means of production and distribution of cultural artefacts on a mass scale are now in the hands of individuals.

Consequently, all of the media of broadcast communications, newspapers, cinema, radio and television are in crisis. All have declined to a fraction of what they used to be at their peak, and they are continuing to decline.

What has replaced them is not yet a new communism of communications, although there have been periods when something like a stateless free-for-all has appeared to exist in communications, in what we now call ICT (Information and Communication Technology).

In practice the Internet, and the World Wide Web which is the protocol that we use on the Internet, has been exploited by the bourgeois State as much as, or more than, it has been by revolutionaries. The possibility of frictionless communication does not in practice mean that production is being done by everybody. On the contrary, the situation has exposed the reality that communications is always a labour-intensive business. The ones who dominate in communications are those who can mobilise the largest and best-co-ordinated body of individuals who can be put to work on production. Capital can do this if it wishes.

Therefore what comes about is in effect an Agitprop war, where those with the most consistent and the best output will prevail. The revolutionaries, with potentially millions of well-motivated volunteers, should be able to win. But in fact it is usually the money-bags capitalists who win, because they can hire people quickly to get ahead.

What the revolutionaries need in the first place are people who are capable of working the means of communication, technically, artistically and ideologically.

At the same time, the revolutionaries need to avoid mimicking the communication strategy of the bourgeoisie, while stealing from it at the tactical level.

The bourgeois strategy is to return as soon as possible to the condition of “broadcasting”, whereby the fountain of national culture is effectively in their hands. The fullest development of this model is the British Broadcasting Corporation, of which the SABC is intended to be a copy. The SABC is supposed to set the tone of the nation by centralised and country-wide communication. The fact that the SABC is in a constant state of collapse, and the resultant furore that has continued for many years past, reveals that the bourgeoisie and the middle classes badly want a way to communicate with the masses, on their own (bourgeois) terms.

The revolutionary model, on the other hand, is the Freirean model of dialogue. Therefore, film and video are not in themselves good forms of propaganda for revolutionary purposes. Video locks people away from one another, with each person being held in a private channel of connection with the screen. It is extremely difficult to generate a discussion of quality from that starting point, if not impossible. Meetings that begin with the showing of videos seldom take off.

A revolutionary communication is a two-way communication. Revolutionaries must produce, as well as consume, political culture. This is the theoretical basis of this Agitprop course. Agitprop is not an add-on to political theory. It is in itself an indispensable part of political theory.

Internet that is private and secure

In August 2014, on the Keiser Report, on RT, Max Keiser interviewed David Irvine and Nick Lambert of MaidSafe, which David Irvine describes as “the Internet as it should be”.

This system uses the computer resources of its users, plus encryption, so that the Maidsafe system is vast but blind, and has no owners. Your data cannot be possessed by others. Your communications with others cannot be seen by anybody else.

The first interview of the MaidSafe two can be watched in the second half of episode 639 of the Keiser Report, broadcast on 12 August 2014. The follow-up interview is the second half of Episode 640, here. There is a Wikipedia entry on MaidSafe, here. The MaidSafe web site is here.

·        To download any of the CU courses in PDF files please click here.


Post a Comment

Post a Comment