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("Quid coniuratio est?")
Testimony and Communication: A Way Toward La identidad
by Miguel Barnet
Translation by Brian Francis Redman
Domination relies on force and the lie is its sign.
With the mass media firmly monopolized, from the printing press to television and video, the democratization of culture has been no more than an illusion and a mirage in the Capitalist world. The workers, the exploited, have been made to systematically disappear by a system whose only interest is the mass production of material goods and the conjunct mass production of ideas.
The true artistic and cultural creations, those that would have filled the deeply personal needs of the people, that would have helped them in their search for self-knowledge, have not reached the masses. On the contrary, the mass media have served rather to poison our consciousness and to standardize a sense of enjoyment that today serves as the acceptable model. All of the media paraphernalia have served only to block the development of a sensibility and taste in accord with the truest needs of the common man; they have created an endemic evil instead of a cultural message.
The worst of all is the appearance of truth. With gallant models of bourgeois conduct, with the latest automobiles and tears of glycerine, they have innoculated us with the greatest and most atrocious lies, the cruelest deceptions, the most brazen blackmail of one group by another.
Without a glimmer of their own spiritual autonomy, subjugated by a dominant mode of being and alienated from their legitimate self-interests, the peoples of our America have had to endure a merciless barrage of sleeping pills so that they can have dreams that are not theirs. The channels of communication, like a modern Dr. Faustus, insure that strange ideas that dazzle the eyes are accepted.
The pathology of alienation has become something common and familiar. It is now almost impossible to distinguish alienation from a normal state of being.
We are a manufactured product. A merchandise.
What has the modern Capitalist society given us, with all its technological apparatuses? It has converted us into machines that reproduce ideas that have already been commercially processed. This is the equivalent of a psychological war. The mass media have been employed in order to promote this war, just as diplomacy has been employed for the other war that is its sister: politics. And marching arm and arm in the plot have been the Capitalist anthropologists and social commentators who have utilized their methodologies against the people, using their techniques to keep us submissive.
The myriad of scientific, ethnologic and sociologic reports swarm out from the think tanks and intelligence agencies of the entire Capitalist world. These reports have served for nothing except as a platform for the use of sophisticated methods of exploitation and colonialism. The psychological war which uses these studies has sucked the life out of all spontaneity and has strangled the human conscience. The greater the familiarity with our various idiosyncrasies, the greater the strangulation and enslavement.
Bourgeois anthropology has defined social conglomerates as if they are static bodies, ruled by implacable laws and incontrovertible schemes. Thus, the people can be perfectly processed by magic mechanisms of modern science into total inaction when confronted by colonialism and domination.
On the other hand, the bourgeois press has portrayed the people, at the same time, as if they are an inexhaustible source of crimes and rapes, especially when the enlarging of these types of events can serve to turn attention away from more edifying acts.
In spite of the fact that we know that art is not pure and that its nature is changeable, we should in any case dig into the depths of the soul of man. We are, today more than ever, able to do it. Modern technology simply cannot touch this depth. Computers will not here find earth to plow. This mission is put into the hands of man. We know that nothing is certain. But we have a greater consciousness and a more real possibility to overthrow the walls of lies and alienation.
The Capitalist communication systems will be able to put all of their resources into exalting the joys of tomato soup by means of advertisements showing a beautiful, gorgeous tin of Campbell soup. We desire that the only model for our culture should be the soul of the people.
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Preceding first appeared as "Conspiracy for the Day", 10/08/93
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