A Brief Note on the Power and Limits of Propaganda

The 1872 presidential election (Ulysses Grant vs Horace Greeley) represented the last time progressive change was  brought about through a national election. Since then, progressive change has either been forced by mass action (Women’s suffrage, Welfare, Social Security, Unemployment insurance, Civil Rights, Gay rights, &c) or been a small part of a bill the bulk of which was to increase the burden on the working class (Affordable Care Act).   The job of our elected representatives since 1877 has been to either to rubberstamp what they can’t avoid (then, if possible, taking credit for it), or to pass a defeat off as a victory.

And yet, in spite of this, so many, especially among the petty bourgeois intellectual set, are still convinced that progressive change not only can, but MUST come through elections. This is a testimony to the power of propaganda.

And yet, however powerful propaganda is, it has its limits. Poker theorist Mike Caro said, “It is hard to convince a winner that he is losing.” It is also hard to convince a man who can’t feed his family that the economy is doing well and everything is fine.

A Totally Original Parable Not Derived From Anything Else Really

Once upon a time a man named Barry Goldwater appeared on the political scene. And the radical cried, “Danger! A fascist!” And the people came running, but they saw that, actually, he was just a right-wing authoritarian, and he was making no effort to build a mass movement based on violence and terror in order to overturn democratic institutions, so the people went away grumbling.

Then a man named Nixon appeared, and the radical cried, “Danger! A fascist!” And the people came running, but they saw that, while he was extremely right-wing, and was, indeed, chipping away at democratic institutions, he still had no mass movement based on the frustrated petty bourgeoisie, nor an agenda to lead such a movement to establish himself as dictator on behalf of finance capital, so the people went away annoyed.

Then Trump came along….


I keep getting asked if klava is real, and if so, how do you make it?

No, it isn’t real, but people have been working on it. The problem is the wood chips, which tend to increase the bitterness, and the whole idea behind it is to remove the bitterness (I’m one of those unfortunate people with an over-sensitivity to bitter; it’s why I hate most of the really good beers).

Now, one individual says he’s actually made it work, and even sent me the recipe plus all of the ingredients to test it out, and, to my shame, I got lazy and never got around to it. But if that person wants to come forward, I’ll put that recipe here, and then stick this post onto the sidebar.