What is happening in the United States is a textbook revolution.
Although different in their historical concreteness, revolutions always have some elements in common. The French Revolution of 1789 is considered a symbolic event precisely because all the ingredients of a Revolution were paradigmatically manifested in it. Perhaps future historians will likewise study what is happening in the United States as an event with emblematic characteristics.
What are the ingredients of a Revolution? How do they present themselves in the United States?
A Frenzied Climate …
The first ingredient of a Revolution is a climate of electrifying frenzy, resulting partly from real but craftily harnessed circumstances, and partly artfully created according to well-studied techniques of mass psychological manipulation — without forgetting a considerable dose of preternatural infestation.
During the French Revolution, the frenzy was such that even members of the nobility were carried away by the intoxicating enthusiasm of the sans culottes. In her Memoirs, the Marquise de la Tour du Pin Gourvernet (1770-1853), a legitimist and lady-in-waiting of the Queen, tells how–against all her own convictions–she was so fascinated to hear the Marseillaise on the street that her husband had to slap her to bring her back to herself. More than once, dragged by the frenetic music, she found herself screaming at the top of her lungs “à la lanterne les aristocrates! – the aristocrats on the gallows!”
The climate of the 1968 student revolution was no different. “The Revolution is here because there’s something in the air,” sang Thunderclap Newman. Describing this “something in the air,” Time magazine spoke of “a wind of philosophical madness … the bourgeois values of the century are overwhelmed by a provocative, inebriated and irritating wave of youth.” This wave of collective madness inebriated and dragged an entire generation down the vortex, including many representatives of that same bourgeoisie that it sought to destroy.
In the United States, the air had long been charged with electricity. Donald Trump’s election as President displaced the liberal left, accustomed to reigning supreme. They reacted rather furiously, unleashing against him a virulent campaign with no holds barred. The Donald was not intimidated and replied accordingly. This triggered a process of growing ideological division in the country. The polls show an America split in two, with a few centrists still looking out the window. A climate of civil war was already in the air.
To this was added a surreal atmosphere full of nervousness, fear, and uncertainties that arose with the COVID-19 pandemic, which hit the United States very severely. Here too, the left missed no opportunity to lash out against the President and his health policies, receiving the usual flaming tweets as an answer. The atmosphere was now saturated. A spark sufficed to detonate it, and the spark was the death of African-American George Floyd, asphyxiated by a white policeman in Minneapolis. Albeit gruesome, this death would not have caused such an explosion were the atmosphere not already saturated.
…that distorts people’s perception of reality.
The first victim of this electrifying frenzy is people’s perception of reality.
In many ways, a public opinion dominated by an electrifying frenzy behaves as a psychologically labile person, easy prey to paranoia. In psychiatry, they speak of “sense-perception disturbances.” The perception of reality itself is altered, and consequently, so is its evaluation. While marginal facts become sensational news, others, perhaps relevant, disappear from sight. Therefore, it becomes very easy to spread not only fake news but also what could be called flawed judgments, that is, false evaluations of events. It is a sort of collective paranoia, in which, in the excitement of the moment, people lose the ability to reason objectively, and therefore to evaluate situations impartially and behave in an orderly way.
Gestures that in ordinary times would be considered as weird, pass for normal, or even nice. Examples are the “feet kissing” spreading in the United States: a black man on the street holds his foot and whites queue to kiss it. Closer to Italy, leaders of the leftist Democratic Party (PD) kneel in the Chamber of Deputies in homage to George Floyd – a grotesque scene were it not for the climate of revolutionary frenzy.
This is why it is so difficult for the defenders of order to oppose the revolutionary hurricane while it blows impetuously. Their “weapons” — truth, logic, serenity, and common sense — are utterly useless in an atmosphere of collective paranoia.
A typical example of a false perception of reality is the manipulation of the term “racism,” the enemy to be destroyed, flaunted by the American left as the trigger for the current Revolution. While everyone is convinced they are protesting against racism, a simple look at the figures would suffice to realize that this is fake news, then evaluated with a flawed judgment.
Official data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics for the year 2018 record 547,948 cases of violence of blacks against whites, and 59,788 cases of violence of whites against blacks (National Crime Victimization Survey 2018, Table 4). If anything, racism would be to the detriment of whites.
Another example. From 2017 to today, the American police, or simply the police, as each state has its own, have killed 1,398 whites and 755 blacks. Since blacks in America are 12.7% of the population, the conclusion is that police violence against blacks is only a fraction of that against whites (Statista Research Department, June 5, 2020). Where is racism? As early as April 2015, The Washington Times published a well-documented report titled, “Police kill more whites than blacks, but minority deaths generate more outrage.”
In recent weeks, the testimonies of well-known African Americans, such as actors Morgan Freeman and Denzel Washington and rapper Lil Wayne, have multiplied, denying there is dominant racism in the United States. However, in an atmosphere of paranoid frenzy, these testimonies have gone unnoticed, while the “racism” button continues being pressed relentlessly.
A side comment: Abortion is the real “executioner” of blacks in the United States. As many as 44% of all abortions practiced in the country have an African-American child as their victim (“Abortion: The overlooked tragedy for black Americans,” Arizona Capitol Times, February 25, 2020). A real African American holocaust is underway. Yet the media don’t talk about it.
The role of propaganda
Another element in revolutions is propaganda.
We assume that the makers of revolutionary propaganda know very well that a public opinion in the grip of an electrifying frenzy is more easily manipulated than a serene and reasoning public. In times of Revolution, psychological warfare operations unthinkable in normal times can be carried out.
Manipulation is done in various ways, by:
– choosing which news items to publish and which to obscure;
– telling the facts in a biased way;
– giving each news item a certain “vibration” to impress the reader in an emotional rather than rational way; or presenting coldly and without any ‘vibration,’ news that usually should elicit a reaction, to produce indifference.
It is an authentic art – sometimes called “Real Art” – that revolutionaries utterly master.
An important aspect of propaganda during a Revolution is the manipulation of environments, which act on people’s sensibility and, therefore, at the subconscious level. That is what Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira calls the “tendential” depth of the Revolution: colors, spaces, shapes, music, fashions, human types, and so on. Included in this group, for example, should be the manipulation of photographs, symbols, gestures, and symbolic characters of the revolt.
A concrete example of propaganda discrimination: while the media published with great fanfare the news of the death of George Floyd, and later that of Rayshard Brooks at the hands of the police, almost no one bothered to report on the death of African-American David Dorn, a 77-year-old retired policeman killed in cold blood by demonstrators in Saint Louis.
Danielle Kilgo and Summer Harlow, of the University of Indiana, have published an interesting study on how propaganda is manipulating the narrative about the riots in the United States: “The general public’s opinions about protests and the social movements behind them are formed in large part by what they read or see in the media. This gives journalists a lot of power when it comes to driving the narrative of a demonstration” (“Riot or resistance? How media frames unrest in Minneapolis will shape public’s view of protest,” Women’s Agenda).
Let’s leave aside the “million-dollar question”: how do the media coordinate with each other to publish the same news item all in the same way while silencing or hiding other news? Here we would enter the fascinating yet delicate field of studying the mechanisms by which revolutionary forces organize themselves. To think that many players can move everyone on the field in the same direction and in the same fashion to pursue the same goal without a mind directing it is like believing that hundreds of letters thrown out a window could arrange themselves on the ground to spell out a literary piece such as Carducci’s Ode to Satan, for example. It simply doesn’t happen, as Americans would say.
The Fear-Sympathy Syndrome
Revolutionary psychological warfare is based on manipulating what Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira called the “fear-sympathy syndrome”: “In the very psychology of countless persons in the West, there is an interplay of forces that we will call the fear-sympathy syndrome.” (Unperceived Ideological Transshipment and Dialogue, 2012 ).
On the one hand, American public opinion is afraid of a possible explosion of racial violence, with its sequels of blood and destruction. On the other hand, it has a natural sympathy for racial equality and tends towards the peaceful inclusion of ethnic minorities in the American system. In concrete terms, American public opinion is afraid of looting and violence, while showing sympathy for peaceful demonstrations in support of Floyd.
Therefore, against this psychological background, revolutionary propaganda launches what the Brazilian Catholic thinker calls “talismanic words” — in this case, “racism” – that arouse a whole constellation of impressions and emotions, sympathies and revulsions that guide people toward new ideological paths.
Talismanic words are very effective in terms of propaganda. They also have high elasticity, which is abused to present it in ever more radical ways. So we move from the rejection of “racism” in the strict sense, that is, the end of discrimination on the grounds of race, to the rejection of “racist” society. In other words, we go on to fight against all discrimination: political, economic, cultural, moral, and so on. By employing this psychological technique, revolutionary propaganda switches the focus of public opinion from a perfectly acceptable ideal to an anarchist ideal.
It would be useful to reread Plinio Corrêa de Oliveira’s essay above, replacing the talismanic word he analyzed — “dialogue” — with “racism.”
An organizational structure behind the riots
Is there an organizational structure behind the riots in the United States? Or are they spontaneous and uncoordinated popular movements?
An essential element in any revolution is the existence of a structure – usually not apparent – that stimulates, coordinates, and directs the movements. A paradigmatic case was the so-called Great Fear (La grande peur) of July 1789: Throughout France, on the same day, at the same time, and in the same way, agitators came out of nowhere crying for revolt. They caused nervousness and fear, and incited citizens to take up arms because “The Germans are coming!” Riots broke out everywhere. Jacobin clubs obtained rifles from the Army on the pretext of defending France. A few days later, they found that it was a colossal hoax, and the riots ended. However, the Jacobins were now armed, and the climate of electrifying frenzy fueling the French Revolution was greatly exacerbated.
Something similar is happening in the United States. “When protests that turn into riots happen everywhere at the same time, using similar tactics and slogans, it is not the work of a small number of lawbreakers,” comments John Horvat. “When pallets of bricks allegedly appear near places of looting, this is not the work of random opportunists. When the bailed-out rioters enjoy the universal support of the liberal media, politicians, celebrities, business leaders and clergy, something bigger is at play. This now-worldwide effort is guided by those who know how to direct and articulate events toward a determined goal. These riots are not spontaneous or random. Things like this need organization, thought and narrative. Riots need riot-makers” (John Horvat II, “Beware the Rule of the Riot-makers”).
A subversive and revolutionary goal
That brings us to the central point of this analysis, which is also the last.
What characterizes, and I would say precisely defines, a Revolution is its ultimate aim of radically subverting order. Revolutionary uprisings are not made to protest this or that situation or solve this or that problem. If anything, they act as an instrument or pretext. Revolutions are made to overthrow order.
“The riot-makers need violence because they are writing the narrative that everyone is following,” writes John Horvat. “It is the same tired narrative of the left that history is an eternal struggle between the exploiters and the exploited. Rioter-makers do not want social harmony since it impedes the advance of the revolutionary process. The radical left has capitalized on the riots to foment class struggle on a mass scale. Indeed, all the familiar characters in this drama remain the same. Pro-abortionists, LGBT activists, socialists, feminists and even Satanists join ranks in this Revolution against the established order” (id.).
Unsurprisingly, the American left is calling the riots a “systemic crisis.” In other words, the problem is not racism. They want to upend the entire American system and use every angry sector of the public eager to change it: abortionists, LGBT activists, socialists, feminists, and so on. Revolutionary theorists speak of a “new proletariat” engaged in the struggle for what Marcuse called “a widespread and total disintegration of the system.”
The riots in the United States are part and parcel of a new type of Revolution that researchers call “widespread molecular revolution,” signs of which emerged, for example, in Chile at the end of 2019. It is an anarchist revolution that seeks a general dissolution of the system and employs any minority or social group willing to rebel against any point of the established order. That, however, would be a topic for another article.
Translated by the staff of Fatima Today.
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