Thursday, January 5, 2012

The Mythology of People Power (2005)

"If you wish to study a Granfalloon, just remove the skin of a toy balloon." Book of Bokonon

Editors' Introduction

Is "the protester" now the new hero of TIME Magazine?  

The protester?  A new hero of this flagship publication of the US corporate media complex?  Owned, in essence, by the same bodies that also own the weapons industry and the biggest banks and the two-party political system?  Owned by those that recently bombed Libya into submission; by those that over this past decade have killed over a million Iraqi citizens; by those that first placed dynamite and then lit the fuse for a controlled, desperate, end-of-era economic collapse?

NOW these reliable corporate-sponsored mind managers have suddenly and inexplicably either 'capitulated to'(capitulated to what?)--or have become inspired by (inspired by whom?)--a leaderless sloganeering demand-free global movement of "spontaneous" park "occupiers"?  

We beg each reader to take a close look at the recent issue of TIME; take a good look at the stylized images; the faces and the outfits; take notice of the diversity of class, of race, and of nationality; then ask yourself, how do you think these images are intended to make you FEEL

Where would this "global movement" be without a CONSTANT stream of nurturing media attention?  Where would this movement be?  Are there not plenty of quality examples to the contrary?  

Because in their collectible year-ending magazine issue, TIME actually devoted its high-profile pages to advance...what?...the beginnings of a social revolution?  They draw attention to such topics as "how to occupy a square"; or "how to tweet during a crisis."  They include advertisement-quality photographic images that collectively sell the protest movement much like a corporate brand is sold--as a lifestyle choice--as if protesting required a certain hair gel, a sleeve of tattoos, or a pair of dirty GAP blue jeans.

Images above courtesy of our friends at TIME magazine
Of course those that have followed and learned from the color revolutions are not surprised by this phenomenon.  

What the color revolutions in the former Soviet space teach us is that well-meaning and highly-energetic groups of people can be (and are!) wholly manipulated into playing supportive, legitimizing roles toward the installation of sham popular governments; political regimes that, due to their suffocating support from Western benefactors, accelerate the weakening of social programs and prepare their economies for devastating privatization schemes to fit the "open society" model of global capital movement.

As with each period in the history of civilization, advances in communication technology initiate corresponding advances in strategies of class warfare and social control.

The color revolution social media "democracy" template (and here we include the "occupy" movement) is one such strategy, designed for the digital age.

As the following article, written in 2005, reveals (and, indeed, as many articles on this site reveal), there is a symbiotic relationship between a supportive media environment and a fake "democracy" uprising or a fake "social revolution."


The Mythology of People Power: The Glamour of Street Protests Should Not Blind Us to the Reality of US-Backed Coups in the Former USSR
By John Laughland
Originally published in the Guardian (London)
March 31, 2005
Images and captions added by Color Revolutions and Geopolitics

Before his denunciation yesterday of the "prevailing influence" of the US in the "anti-constitutional coup" which overthrew him last week, President Askar Akayev of Kyrgyzstan had used an interesting phrase to attack those who were stirring up trouble in the drug-ridden Ferghana Valley. A criminal "third force", linked to the drug mafia, was struggling to gain power.

Originally used as a label for covert operatives shoring up apartheid in South Africa, before being adopted by the US-backed "pro-democracy" movement in Iran in November 2001, the third force is also the title of a book published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which details how western-backed non-governmental organisations (NGOs) can promote regime and policy change all over the world. The formulaic repetition of a third "people power" revolution in the former Soviet Union in just over one year - after the similar events in Georgia in November 2003 and in Ukraine last Christmas - means that the post-Soviet space now resembles Central America in the 1970s and 1980s, when a series of US-backed coups consolidated that country's control over the western hemisphere.

Many of the same US government operatives in Latin America have plied their trade in eastern Europe under George Bush, most notably Michael Kozak, former US ambassador to Belarus, who boasted in these pages in 2001 that he was doing in Belarus exactly what he had been doing in Nicaragua: "supporting democracy".

But for some reason, many on the left seem not to have noticed this continuity. Perhaps this is because these events are being energetically presented as radical and leftwing even by commentators and political activists on the right, for whom revolutionary violence is now cool.

As protesters ransacked the presidential palace in Bishkek last week (unimpeded by the police who were under strict instructions not to use violence), a Times correspondent enthused about how the scenes reminded him of Bolshevik propaganda films about the 1917 revolution. The Daily Telegraph extolled "power to the people", while the Financial Times welcomed Kyrgyzstan's "long march" to freedom.

This myth of the masses spontaneously rising up against an authoritarian regime now exerts such a grip over the collective imagination that it persists despite being obviously false: try to imagine the American police allowing demonstrators to ransack the White House, and you will immediately understand that these "dictatorships" in the former USSR are in reality among the most fragile, indulgent and weak regimes in the world.

The US ambassador in Bishkek, Stephen Young, has spent recent months strenuously denying government claims that the US was interfering in Kyrgyzstan's internal affairs. But with anti-Akayev demonstrators telling western journalists that they want Kyrgyzstan to become "the 51st state", this official line is wearing a little thin. 

Even Young admits that Kyrgyzstan is the largest recipient of US aid in central Asia: the US has spent $746m there since 1992, in a country with fewer than 5 million inhabitants, and $31m was pumped in in 2004 alone under the terms of the Freedom Support Act. As a result, the place is crawling with what the ambassador rightly calls "American-sponsored NGOs".

CIA's Woolsey: an "activist"...of sorts
The case of Freedom House is particularly arresting. Chaired by the former CIA director James Woolsey, Freedom House was a major sponsor of the orange revolution in Ukraine. It set up a printing press in Bishkek in November 2003, which prints 60 opposition journals. Although it is described as an "independent" press, the body that officially owns it is chaired by the bellicose Republican senator John McCain, while the former national security adviser Anthony Lake sits on the board. The US also supports opposition radio and TV.

Many of the recipients of this aid are open about their political aims: the head of the US-funded Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society, Edil Baisalov, told the New York Times that the overthrow of Akayev would have been "absolutely impossible" without American help. In Kyrgyzstan as in Ukraine, a key element in regime change was played by the elements in the local secret services, whose loyalty is easily bought.

Former Kyrgyz President Askar Akayev
Perhaps the most intriguing question is why? Bill Clinton's assistant secretary of state called Akayev "a Jeffersonian democrat" in 1994, and the Kyrgyz ex-president won kudos for welcoming US-backed NGOs and the American military. But the ditching of old friends has become something of a habit: both Edward Shevardnadze of Georgia and Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine were portrayed as great reformers for most of their time in office.

To be sure, the US has well-known strategic interests in central Asia, especially in Kyrgyzstan. Freedom House's friendliness to the Islamist fundamentalist movement Hizb ut-Tahrir will certainly unsettle a Beijing concerned about Muslim unrest in its western provinces. But perhaps the clearest message sent by Akayev's overthrow is this: in the new world order the sudden replacement of party cadres hangs as a permanent threat - or incentive - over even the most compliant apparatchik.