De zwarte doos van de democratie

In de Duitse geschiedenis staat de Weimarrepubliek geboekt als de eerste Duitse democratie, maar duurzaam was ze niet. Na de nederlaag in de Eerste Wereldoorlog wees de legerleiding elke verantwoordelijkheid in het debacle af en liet de vredesonderhandelingen over aan een burgerregering waarin de SPD de leiding kreeg. De conservatieven weigerden echter de nieuwe Republiek te steunen.

NSA_SURVEILLANCE_SNOWDEN_31763777

Read More

Why conspiracy theories are reactionary

The defects of Hofstadter’s paranoid style

From 1950 to 1954 the Cold War exacerbated resulting in persecution of alleged communists and socialists in the US. This period is referenced as McCarthyism. Senator McCarthy headed the infamous hearings conducted by the House Un-American Activities Committee, which compiled an index of one million suspects. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) under Director J. Edgar Hoover, who was one of the most fervent anti-communists, led the investigations.

The number imprisoned was in the hundreds, and some ten or twelve thousand lost their jobs. In the film industry, over 300 actors, authors and directors were denied work in the U.S. through the unofficial Hollywood blacklist. Charlie Chaplin was one of them. Blacklists were at work throughout the entertainment industry, in universities and schools at all levels, in the legal profession, and in many other fields.

 “Guilt by association was the watchword, as loyalty oaths, blacklists, registration requirements, and congressional inquiries sought to identify and penalize those who were sympathetic to or associated with the Communist Party, irrespective of their involvement in any otherwise illegal activity.” (David Cole, 2002, p. 997)

Read More

Susceptibility for conspiracy theories

In a previous article I gave some definitions of conspiracy theories and reported about their pervasiveness, in this article I review some social-psychological papers on conspiracy ideation.

Lacking control in day to day life causes fear

The desire to combat uncertainty and maintain control has long been considered a primary and fundamental motivating force in human life and one of the most important variables governing psychological well-being and physical health. For example learning details and training about a painful medical procedure can reduce anxiety and even lead to shorter recovery time.

In contrast, lacking control is an unsettling and aversive state, activating the amygdale, which indicates a fear response. It is not surprising, then, that individuals actively try to re-establish control when it disappears or is taken away.

Jennifer A. Whitson and Adam D. Galinsky show in their paper ‘Lacking Control Increases Illusory Pattern Perception’ that participants who lacked control were more likely to perceive a variety of illusory patterns, including seeing images in noise, forming illusory correlations in stock market information, perceiving conspiracies, and developing superstitions.

Read More

Conspiracy theories… a long history and a new trend

Conspiracy theories in retrospective

Claims that rich capitalists are no longer out to make a profit, but to create a one-world government go back many decades now and it is always said that it is really going to happen this time, but it never does.

Since these claims have proved wrong dozens of times by now, it makes more sense to assume that leaders act for their usual reasons, such as profit-seeking motives and institutionalized roles as elected officials. Of course they want to make as much money as they can and that can lead them to do many unsavoury things. Revolving door policy, demagogy, manipulation and corruption must be denounced, but not be buried in intangible myths and conspiracy legends.

Dorling refers to sociologist Zygmund Bauman for a refutation of conspiricism. Look here for a video of Zygmund Bauman explaining his view on conspiracy theories. Both claim that there is not and never has been conspiracy of the rich:

“There has not been any great, well-orchestrated conspiracy of the rich to support the endurance of inequality, just a few schools of free-market thought, a few think tanks preaching stories about how efficient free market mechanisms are, how we must allow the few ‘tall poppies’ to grow and suggesting that a minority of ‘wealth creators’ exist and it is they who somehow ‘create’ wealth.”

“That there is no great conspiracy was first realised in the aftermath of the First World War, when it became clear that no one ‘… planned for this sort of an abattoir, for a mutual massacre four years long’ (Bauman 2008: 6). The men they called the ‘donkeys’, the generals, planned for a short, sharp, war.”

Read More

Het cyber-industriëel complex

Wikileaks Spy Files
Overal bewakingscamera’s, Google street view, … er is geen plekje nog veilig voor gluurders en pottenkijkers. Het Internet is waarschijnlijk het meest bespiede terrein van allemaal. Het valt niet op, een cookie droppen, niemand die het merkt maar het gebeurt continu.

Einde de jaren tachtig zagen hackers en ngo’s het internet als nog goedkope manier om informatie snel te verspreiden.  Democratisering van de informatiestromen. Goedkoop wel, maar nu is er een ander probleem. Ook al zijn alle rekeningen betaald, het is alsof er voortdurend een deurwaarder geflankeerd door twee dienders onze internet-huiskamer binnenstormt om de inboedel te inventariseren.

Waarom doen ze het? Machtswellust? Voyeurisme, of simpelweg omdat het kan…  Op het net kan iedereen het woord nemen. Democratie van het woord. En dat was niet de bedoeling. Dus moet het gajes in de gaten gehouden worden. De legitimiteit van het regime zou wel eens in vraag kunnen gesteld worden.

Read More

Cunning plan of police and authorities to discredit the indignados

Apparently the police has damaged tents and material of the Indignados, while they were emptying the HUB building during the demonstration. Pathetic. Revenge because one of their colleagues was caught in the act at the Dexia action? Part of their misbehaviour was also filmed.

First, the cops threw away the food of the Indignados. With as official motivation hygiene and safety, they found it necessary to search all personal belongings (safety) and to trash the eco-toilets (hygiene).

Read More

Media desinformatie over de Spaanse Revolutie of hoe men een reëel democratische beweging actief saboteert

Auteur: Daniël Verhoeven

mainstream-media

Het is een bekend fenomeen, nieuwe sociale bewegingen moeten vechten voor hun plek in het medialandschap, niets bijzonders aan de hand. Een andere regel die mediacritici vaak aanhalen is dat hoe dichter bij huis rampspoed of omwentelingen zich afspelen hoe meer aandacht ze krijgen.

Maar deze laatste regel blijkt niet van toepassing op de Spaanse, Griekse en IJslandse opstanden. De Egyptische, Tunesische, kortom de Arabische revoluties kregen veel meer media-aandacht dan bijvoorbeeld de Griekse, Spaanse en IJslandse opstanden terwijl men eerder het tegenovergestelde zou verwachten.

Maar zo werkt het niet, de mainstream media zijn onderdeel van een systeem dat door die opstanden in vraag wordt gesteld en zolang dat veraf gebeurt, bedreigt dat hun positie niet, dichter bij huis kunnen ze het niet hebben. Dat blijkt althans toch uit onze analyse van de berichtgeving over ‘Democracia Real Ya’ in Frankrijk en België. Read More