My first No Illusions podcast for 2010! Today I’m talking about the Australian Government’s “clean feed” with three guys who know a lot more about it than I do: Stephen Collins (@trib), Peter Black (@peterblackQUT) and Jim Stewart (@jimboot). This episode was recorded with a live studio audience. Well, okay, they weren’t in a studio, they were on my uStream channel, but I’ve always wanted to say that.
We just got back from the first Brisbane meetup around #nocleanfeed. It was a pretty huge turnout, I’d guess 100 people. Well done to @nicholasperkins and everyone else involved in pulling it together.
I gave a short talk, mostly trying to convey the idea that this isn’t a campaign that we will win by trying to be RIGHT. This isn’t about FACTS. This is a propaganda war about ideology, the ideology of the Christian Right, a group that Conroy, Rudd, Abbott and Fielding are all card-carrying members of. And you can’t fight a propaganda war by trying to be RIGHT. The only way to fight a propaganda war is to counter it with your own propaganda and by knowing how propaganda campaigns actually work. There’s no use taking a knife to a gun fight.
As a long-time student of people like Chomsky and Pilger, I have some understanding about how modern propaganda works. I quote tonight from 20th century French philosopher and Christian theologian (not often you’ll catch me using a Christian theologian to make a positive point) Jacques Ellul who explained that modern propaganda isn’t telling lies, it’s about telling half truths, limited truths and truths out of context. That’s what Conroy et al are master of. They don’t lie when they talk about the feed, they just limit their use of the truth.
So we need to fight a propaganda war. Fortunately, we are all very-savvy little new media / social media types, so this shouldn’t be too hard to do, as long as know what kind of fight we’re getting into.
The one idea that I didn’t have time to get across tonight was that I don’t think we can win this if we just focus on the mandatory filter. It’s too thorny an issue and too easy for Conroy to deflect criticism . I believe we need to make this a battle against the ALP. I believe we need to focus on weakening their credibility in the upcoming election by getting in their faces on a range of issue where they have either under-performed, such as the environment, indigenous welfare, immigration, etc, or where they have just flat-out turned out to be as bad or worse than Howard (the internet filter, bailing out the banks, failing to rein in corporate executive salaries, etc).
We need a campaign that attacks the ALP’s credibility and performance across the board. We need put pressure on then across multiple fronts, not just on the filter. It’s pretty clear that the mainstream media will give them an easy ride in the upcoming election. So it’ll be up to social media to put the heat on them.
As some of you may know, my girlfriend Christine (aka @fddlgrl) is a “formon” (that’s an ex-Mormon, I have to thank Mr Deity himself for introducing me to that term). She grew up in Utah in a tiny, mostly-Mormon town, the full deal but she broke away from the church when she was about 18.
Anyway I know she’s had lots of debates with active church members about Prop 8 (the Californian law, sponsored in large part by the Mormons last year, which banned gay marriage) and whether or not Mormons are allowed to speak out against it without being ostracized. This clip supports her argument that Mormons can’t speak out without fear of retribution. This guy tried expressing his disappointment with the LDS’ church’s support of Prop 8 and watch what happens.
So what does this tell us about religious organisations like the Latter Day Saints? They don’t appreciate it when people inside the church start thinking for themselves. Why not? What do they fear? That one person actually thinking for themselves might start a trend? If they aren’t scared, why not let the guy speak his mind? If they are so sure of the moral superiority of their position, why not allow, in fact ENCOURAGE, free and open debate?
Because, my friends, religion is an act of mind control. It exists to pray on the minds and the wallets of the weak.
This is the same reason Father Peter Kennedy was defrocked from the Ca$holic Church earlier this year and why Father Bob Maguire in Melbourne has been told to resign. They had the temerity to think for themselves instead of obeying orders and sticking to the script.
If you are a member of either of these religious “institutions”, I invite you to argue with me in the comments section below.
I did a show yesterday on China’s censorship and human rights record. A few people have told me that in Australia, we can say what we like and do what we like. Really?
China has censorship. Australia has censorship. Ours may be less strict and more sophisticated, but if you want to argue against the principle of censorship, letâ€™s fight it at home first. Iâ€™ll be there with you. Letâ€™s just avoid the mass hysteria and hypocrisy of criticizing easy targets when we have similar laws at home. Thatâ€™s just the way the mass media and governments deflect attention from what is happening in our own backyards.
Australia has laws about what and can’t be said. So does China. And China isn’t going to change until the people of China was it to and do something about it en masse.
If Australia REALLY wants to protest China’s human rights record, let’s boycott the Olympics. We could also stop selling them coal but I suspect economic sanctions hurt innocent civilians more than the people in power. However let’s stop censorship at home first, then perhaps we’ll be in a position to critique other countries.