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 How do we respond to populism? Causes? Strategies?

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regmelocco



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1PostSubject: How do we respond to populism? Causes? Strategies?   Wed Nov 16, 2016 9:22 am

A cardinal question has been asked by the opposition and the genuine left in Hungary many times, and it has come up in the UK in relation to the Brexit decision as well as by the progressive press in relation to the recent election of Trump in the USA.
Is our communication too brainy? Does the new populism partly count upon people who think with their emotions - especially a projected sense of a misguided tribal identity, as science research of the recent century suggests?
Huff Post article 2013
This could be a problem in democratic societies, where one man counts as one vote, no matter where the origins of some of these policies lie.
With a small margin of voting manupulation, the same is the question here in connection with Mr. Orban. Clear, a few hundred thousand people out of ten million total population (so around six million potential voters) were excluded by administrative manipulation, and a few hundred thousands added with foreign citizens, but the opposition knew all this in 2014 - the last elections - and the same way, the US opposition clearly knew of the electoral college. Trump - though he clearly lost in the number of votes - won by the electoral college count, which many of his voters cannot assess. The real question in both countries as well as Britain is why their solid, often less educated supporters showed up to support? And why so unquestionably?

I would say that if a person has any publicity with a genuine freedom and equality agenda, they should chisel out a sound that is very "populist." First of all, they should simplify the results of complex thoughts to nuggets. If it weren't for the short and powerful messages he blew on Twitter every day, he would have lost. The study also found that significantly more committed right-wing voters used TV as a source of news (with soundbites and emotional effects, including the pretty and honest-looking newscasters on Fox News who nicely defer to the interviewed men while the real programmers define the themes and cut the results). More committed left and Democratic voters used articles on the internet as well as printed press as their source of information on politics. (This leads to a simple conclusion that the left and the opposition should buy and groom a strong TV channel. While some pessimistic people would say the PTB won't ever let that happen, or that there's never enough money, let me point out that the Russians were able to do it - RT - and that Clinton, for example, had a good relationship with quite a few affluent people and groups.)

One thing that Clinton's campaign did very well in the past few months, already showing some consciousness of the answer to these questions was to have famous entertainers and sports people back simple messages. (I'm with Hillary etc.) That was very clever, and more of the same is needed next year in France, Germany and in Hungary in 2018, and in the US at the midterm elections then in 2020.

So messages (let us take Sanders as an example of a good and genuine alternative message, for example) should have a strong emotional appeal. The above study also found that the strongest candidate for emotional appeal in politics is based on the (right) amygdala - the in-tribe instinct. At least, science supposes - it has not of course proven yet - that this part of the primitive brain was probably used in the time of small hordes in mobilizing instant reaction of the horde against invaders - who, as the chimpanzee example suggest - were really dangerous at the time and no mercy was expected from them. We do not know about the actual behavior of our most primitive ancestors but the closest genetic relatives, chimpanzees, often literally rip apart the babies of a rival horde.
The thought pattern here is "we have enemies who attack us/abuse us - exploit us" etc.

The amygdala is the system that warns us of danger - the familiar example is that we jump out of the way of a car before the signal reaches our conscious brain.

Another strong point of the study was about conflicting messages - negative news about their favored party or candidate. More of the committed Democratic and left voters were based upon the cortex (which does comparing situations impartially), while committed right-wingers were mostly unquestioning in their support - against cognitive dissonance. They were asked a few more questions (basically the essence was "are these conflicting messages not a problem in your support?" The answers around cgnitive dissonance were two main kinds: 1. unquestioning allegiance - "I'm still supporting XY because he/she is still our guy/honest/been good in the past." 2. the conflicting news is probably false/made up/manipulation of the enemy etc.

In terms of the branch of Chomsky-based psycholinguistics I studied because of NLP, the linguistic form of amygdala question would be an identity statement.

One phenomenon that satisfied all these criteria was the one percent protests years ago. "We" were the ordinary folks, the workers, "the people" etc. "They" were the super-rich, the investors, the power brokers, the bankers (not the branch manager though). I thought that was clever aside from being genuine and mostly true to my understanding of the world.

Another phenomenon we could base upon was the recurrent popularity of President Obama - his chief crime amongst the right-wing think tanks was that he was actually quite popular. He could speak simply but with restraint.

I do not think a populist and TV-savvy progressive politician who is ready to defeat LePen, Geert Wilders etc. should have an unrestrained expression, though what the Brexit and the Trump campaign proves is that the public who we seek the allegiance of readily forgives quite a few extremes, emotional eruptions etc. Perhaps less in the office of the POTUS than during a campaign...
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2PostSubject: Re: How do we respond to populism? Causes? Strategies?   Wed Nov 16, 2016 12:30 pm

reg, #1:

reg said: A cardinal question has been asked by the opposition and the genuine left in Hungary many times, and it has come up in the UK in relation to the Brexit decision as well as by the progressive press in relation to the recent election of Trump in the USA.
Is our communication too brainy? Does the new populism partly count upon people who think with their emotions - especially a projected sense of a misguided tribal identity, as science research of the recent century suggests?
RR's response: modern American history seems to show that liberal candidates traditionally appeal to voters' emotions whereas conservatives candidates appeal to voters usually operates on a more rational, cerebral level. For example, social and political liberalism is usually based on fear of established authority and a desire to get more human rights for either the voters themselves or those with sympathy for people they consider disadvantaged. However, conservatism is usually based on intellectual conclusions that "things are OK as they are and there's no need to change them". By these standards, the Democratic Party was "liberal" and the Republican Party was "conservative there " until the 2008 election when these roles were essentially reversed. Since then, the Democrats have been trying to maintain the status quo and the Republicans to change it. Both the Tea Party and Trump movements have been attempts to re-introduce social bigotry and to curb upward economic mobility ... and both have been highly emotional in their appeal to voters.

re: Huff Post article 2013
When this article was first published, I asked for opinions on these findings from several of my dirtside friends with liberal/progressive opinions who were making their living as psychotherapists or social counselors. I was told that there's a large body of similar literature going back many years, but the theories presented all seem to be over-simplifications of little use in understanding how human beings make ethical decisions or form opinions on social or political issues.

reg said: This could be a problem in democratic societies, where one man counts as one vote, no matter where the origins of some of these policies lie. With a small margin of voting manupulation, the same is the question here in connection with Mr. Orban. Clear, a few hundred thousand people out of ten million total population (so around six million potential voters) were excluded by administrative manipulation, and a few hundred thousands added with foreign citizens, but the opposition knew all this in 2014 - the last elections - and the same way, the US opposition clearly knew of the electoral college. Trump - though he clearly lost in the number of votes - won by the electoral college count, which many of his voters cannot assess. The real question in both countries as well as Britain is why their solid, often less educated supporters showed up to support? And why so unquestionably?
RR's response: I don't know enough about the politico-economic systems in Europe to discuss the details of election manipulation there, but what just happened here in the USA is very easy to explain. Both the Tea Party and Trump's right-wing populism were given massive free publicity by the Mainstream Media, which are owned by the same plutocrats who make massive contributions to the campaigns of Republican candidates. This is easy to identify in retrospect and was also openly discussed on Web venues such as Twitter all through the campaign.

reg said: I would say that if a person has any publicity with a genuine freedom and equality agenda, they should chisel out a sound that is very "populist." First of all, they should simplify the results of complex thoughts to nuggets. If it weren't for the short and powerful messages he blew on Twitter every day, he would have lost. The study also found that significantly more committed right-wing voters used TV as a source of news (with soundbites and emotional effects, including the pretty and honest-looking newscasters on Fox News who nicely defer to the interviewed men while the real programmers define the themes and cut the results). More committed left and Democratic voters used articles on the internet as well as printed press as their source of information on politics. (This leads to a simple conclusion that the left and the opposition should buy and groom a strong TV channel. While some pessimistic people would say the PTB won't ever let that happen, or that there's never enough money, let me point out that the Russians were able to do it - RT - and that Clinton, for example, had a good relationship with quite a few affluent people and groups.)
RR's response: It wasn't Trump's tweets that affected the outcome of the election, but the MSM's endless repetitions of them on the aid. Plus Trump's speeches got greater and more sympathetic MSM coverage than Clinton's speeches, all through the campaign. And the public assumptions that some MSM outlets were more liberal than others were true, but the deeper reality was that ALL of them still favored the Republicans over the Democrats,especially in subtle ways that were subliminal for the majority of voters. Plus the surface appearance that both Parties had conspicuous support from "rich and famous" people was also true, but far less important than the invisible support exerted by plutocrats through the media. Another important factor is that the MSM can reach an audience of people who are extremely passive in the way they absorb information, whereas print media and the Internet only reach people who actively read newspapers and magazines or messages posted on various Web venues. I won't make detailed comments on the elaborations this that you made in the rest of your message, because I assume the people reading this have already read them.
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3PostSubject: Re: How do we respond to populism? Causes? Strategies?   Wed Nov 16, 2016 4:59 pm

So we get back to another question: how come the Washington Times (owned by the Moonies) and Fox News have ever gotten to be accepted as mainstream media? They used to be regarded as fringe right when I lived in the US. In the UK, it was assumed that yellow journalism and tabloids won the fight for the Brexit voting masses, whereas statistics and intelligent arguments were posed side by side, liberal style, in all the normal media. BBC was trying not to take sides.

We can see what happens in Russia: one state-owned corporation delivers all the news and as a consequence, there is a cognitive dissonance between Russia and the rest of the world. Turkey just banned all opposition papers and they are actively jailing any critical journalists as "enemies of the nation." Over here it is still mixed, nut only in the capital, and one by one, they hunt down all the alternative media sources - mostly the first thing they do is clamp down on their internal emails and make all the older articles and archives unsearchable - whereas the Putin-style public service TV is free in any village and it make unabashed government propaganda, failing to mention all the scandals of government breaking in the capital.

One scandal among many that made them clamp down against investigative journalism is that a Ghaith Pharaon, a Saudi businessman, who founded BCCI back in those days, wanted by the FBI for financing terrorism for 25 years (and financing the entire Pakistani nuclear program with stolen American money) was actually let into Hungary for years. He was making deals with the government, bought a villa across from the Prime Minister's mansion from none other than the Interior Ministry (it used to be their children's preschool) and was even seen recently in an Adriatic port docking next to one of our most important oligarchs.
All the while, the phony campaign a tune of 17 billion HUF (about 57 million dollars) was spent on PR by the government, out of public money, to mobilize in Trump-style against the "refugee settlement plan" of the EU... with the implication openly stated that we might invite Moslem terrorists. Great! And the head of our government actually does business with a known Arab businessman with ties to Al-Kaida, the founder of BCCI, on a wanted list for 25 years... Of course no reports of this ever reach the state-controlled media, and the general public is galvanized to say that it is all the work of treasonous liberal Commies funded by Soros. (In Turkey, it is Gülen, in Russia, it would be Khodorowsky etc.) Is this were we are heading?

The equivalent of the shutting down of Népszabadság in the anglo-American world would be the simultaneous annihilation in a single day of The New York Times, the Washington Post, the SF Chronicle and Huffington Post. Internet, ditto.

Facebook info is in bubbles - you get the news stream by codewords discovered in your posts and by previous selection. Thus engendering paranoia and narratives not even talking to each other.

I am not sure I would want to live in a world defined by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh though...

I wonder what the IC is saying to all this. Are we a small opposition again, and since normal dialogue ceased to exist in society, we should merely turn to the arts - rock music etc.?

That's what Sufis traditionally did when a Moslem state turned tyrannical.
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4PostSubject: Re: How do we respond to populism? Causes? Strategies?   Thu Nov 17, 2016 8:29 am

At this point, I'm so depressed by the election of Donald Trump and the lack of effective resistance to it from both the political left and the general population here in the USA that I intend to do the most intense magical working I've ever done to create a miracle that would lead to a new Constitution, and if this doesn't succeed to commit suicide right after Trump is inaugurated. I asked RB to take over ownership of all my Web groups and he refused, so I'm going to delete them all before I go. I won't ask you to do it, because you have other responsibilities to the IC, and also health and social/political problems that would put undue strain on you. And I know of no one else who has the proper qualifications.
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5PostSubject: Re: How do we respond to populism? Causes? Strategies?   Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:39 am

Oh my goddess...
Maybe this is the right course.
However, all day something was prompting me to write the realization to you that
OUR PRESENCE HERE HAS NEVER BEEN SO NEEDED AS WILL NOW.
In the upcoming times - couple of years.
What you do is different in role but obviously we are serving the same power. Perhaps a new Constitution will be a good thing, and I am not saying this lightly because I have lived in America, and both my children live there now, and unlike many Europeans, I know how important and unquestionable the Constitution is, while I personally also think it is one of the most important documents of human history, agreeing to most of its principles.

I would not mind it at all if the weapon thing were left out though. It has caused me serious conflicts when I lived there - and to this day I preferred places in the US where weapons were not so popular, e.g. downtown Boston last year.

I myself had strange thoughts of not fitting here at all in merit recently, though since one of my great-grandfathers committed suicide, I formally resolved I would never, unless it was due to a terminal illness confirmed to be without any remedy at the time and pain or discomfort would be so great.

So I would respect your decision and I would uphold as much as I could were you to go. It would not be easy for me since you have been one of the most important influences in my lifre, very active in synthetizing the single most important spiritual, human and art aspects of my life and generally all of it.

However, I would feel I would leave only if the human experiment was a total failure - and both by children were sentenced to live an increasingly thanatic life - full of wars and environmental destruction only, leading to annihilation. And I still hope if it ever came to that, we would get adequate warnings to incarnate or migrate to another planet.

It is clear that either being afraid of death or wishing to die (an understandable Romantic period I went through myself) disqualifies one from such a perception.

And let me post my poem translation for you about the creeping effects of Fascism in Europe, from the greatest ever Hungarian poet, who did end up finishing his life a few months later in 1937.

The poem's author is Attila József, the title is
Ancient Rat (Ős patkány)

An ancient rat is spreading the plague
among our people: thought unthought;
it hogs in everything we cook,
it runs from man to man.

That’s the reason why the drunk, killing
his moods with champagne, is unaware
he’s slugging the empty soup
of small poor folks recoiling in awe.

And because the spirit will not wring
dripping rights of nations,
a new ignominy’s exhorting
each race against the others.

Croaking oppression descends in flocks,
on live hearts like on corpses –
and poverty leaks around the globe
like saliva on imbecile faces.

Summers, transfixed by the pins
of dearth, hang their wings, while
machines creep upon our souls:
like bugs on a sleeping man.

Grateful devotion hides inside caves
while tears fall into flames –
the desire for revenge and conscience
chase each other’s tails.

And like a jackal that turns around
to vomit star sounds in the sky,
in sparkling agonies aglare,
the poet howls in vain…

Oh, stars, you rusty, brute
daggers of steel around,
how many of you have pierced my soul –
(all you succeed here is to die).

And I still hope and trust. I admonish
you, our bright future, with tears,
stop being so bleak – at least
we aren’t empaled like our forerunners.

Some time peace and freedom will
no doubt come, with agonies allayed –
and forgetfulness will be our share
in quiet trellises of shade.


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6PostSubject: Re: How do we respond to populism? Causes? Strategies?   Thu Nov 17, 2016 12:31 pm

reg, #5:

The poem you just posted reminds me very much of William Blake's "The Tyger", which popped into my mind as the present wave of desperation and dispair swept over me.

I've already started the working I mentioned, and I'm hoping that the intense psychic activity will automatically pull me in more positive emotional directions. So it's really just a matter of waiting to see what will happen next.
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