Seize The Means Of Creating Culture
Former Green Party Vice Presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka recently made the observation, “From Wakanda with its ‘Black identity extremist’ and nice CIA agent to Hoover’s FBI as noble and honest institution, the ‘American’ people are propagandized to their very bones. Critical thinking is replaced by fear, mindlessness and the manipulated passions of the herd.”
The movie Black Panther has sparked a lot of much needed dialogue. It features a heroic white protagonist from the warmongering CIA for no good reason, a villain who just so happens to embody the “black identity extremism” label which has been invented at the FBI and the movie tells the story of a leader of an isolationist nation slowly discovering the wonders of globalism.
I don’t know how all that gratuitous pro-establishment messaging found its way into a movie that was supposed to be a cultural triumph for a viciously abused group of people. The US defense and intelligence agencies have a well-documented history of extensively influencing mainstream Hollywood film. At best, the movie was the product of filmmakers who have lived their lives saturated in establishment propaganda.
“We are led by the least among us,” the late Terence McKenna once said. “The least noble, the least intelligent, the least visionary.”
Culture shapes our minds. If we are to create a true grassroots revolution to overthrow the ecocidal, omnicidal oppressors who are driving us toward dystopia at best and extinction at worst, we need to transform not just the way people vote and organize, but the way people think.
A true bottom-up revolution will necessarily entail a revolution of the ninety-nine percent shrugging off the boxes they were told to stand in and rebuilding culture from their own authority where they stand.
In the old days, rulers relied on religion to shape culture. Obedience and humility are supreme virtues. “Heathens” were converted not just into a new religion and loyalty to the Holy Roman Empire, but into a new culture which consumed and annihilated their old tribal cultures and campfire mythologies. Control the culture and you control the power structure.
Now they use Hollywood.
One of the most pernicious tropes that almost all commercial art pushes is the “deus ex machina”, the-hero-saves-the-day. From Jesus to Bruce Willis to Superman. It’s now so obviously insane that we’ve gotten to the point where half of America is hoping the intelligence agencies will save them, and the other half is hoping the reality-tv star president will save them.
They don’t want us learning to look at the world with fresh eyes, unobscured by the cataracts of authorized filters. They don’t want art which points to the inherent beauty and dignity of the living, which exists prior to any heroic accomplishments. They don’t want art which wakes us up to new perspectives.
All art is political. In a society dominated by elites who use art to manipulate the public, art can only ever be political. You either (A) make art directly in service of the ruling class, (B) make art indirectly in service to the ruling class by promulgating dominant orthodoxies, (C) make innocuous mall art which sits there placidly distracting everyone while the world burns, or (D) make revolutionary art, born of inspiration.
Start making art. You can only get it right. Your you-ness is the prism through which the light dances. Just let the light shine through you and draw the shapes that it makes. Or dance them. Or sing them. Or sculpt them out of mashed potato..
Tend your spark. Become playful in your everyday life and look for opportunities to make something. Put one rock on another rock. Write a little love letter on a wall. Gather a posy of flowers and found objects. Put it in a vessel in front of your television so the light makes shapes on the wall. Draw the shapes.
This is how you build a fire. Shine as bright as you can to draw interest and attention toward the authentic and away from the inauthentic, toward inspired art and away from propaganda. Collapse the machine from its very foundation with a people’s takeover of artificial culture.
Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, bogan socialist, anarcho-psychonaut, guerilla poet, utopia prepper and unapologetic rabble rouser writing out of Melbourne, Australia.
volume 32 no 5 May / June 2018 p 6