Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Renewing a working class propaganda

Hello. I would like to call your attention to something you may not be able to do if enough of your day is spent working a dead-end job for the national prosperity; that is, writing criticism in the manner of a professional academic.

Professionals have time to do research and substantiate their claims. They also have time to read the kind of lengthy arguments they produce. Even if you produce something in your free time that approximates the professional standard, this doesn't mean that I have the time to read it. That in itself is a problem, insofar as one working stiff hopes to communicate anything to another.

Of course, some things need to be researched and substantiated. But there is a whole universe of primary experience that you can draw from that doesn't require 1000 words or elaborate referencing. A lot of what we go through on a daily basis is shared, but unmentioned. Those are good things to talk about, even with a couple words. Many people will know what you are talking about; they don't need an article from the New York Times to corroborate it.

Personally, I think an entire category of working class propaganda needs to be renewed. The left has come to see propaganda as somehow inferior to professional studies that the working class doesn't read. Propaganda -- brief, accessible media that promotes a specific perspective (namely, ours) -- is a format that was once widely embraced because it suited working class requirements. In the case of the IWW, it often took the form of songs.

I know a lot of you are talented bastards who could come up with all kinds of ways to do this, whether it's coining slogans or, I don't know, knitting revolutionary yarn bombs. At one of my jobs we used to wind down managerial enthusiasm by replacing their acronyms with ours. The "Total Service Plan" became "Time to Smoke Pot" -- and soon we were bigger advocates of "TSP" than they were. That is a small, situation-based example -- and I don't smoke pot -- but thoroughly rewarding nonetheless. The important thing is what we are communicating to each other.

4 comments:

Jim H. said...

um, Twitter (which I don't).

Salty said...

You are the first person to ever tell me propaganda is a good thing, then justify it correctly. Hats off to you, sir.

Richard said...

Yes, of course most working people have Twitter accounts.

Hattie said...

Hey, Twitter is free. It's how I follow politics. I am no longer a wage slave or caregiver to the young or old, but I have things to do nonetheless. If you follow the right people on Twitter you can learn a lot in a hurry and provide your own content if you want.