How does the mutiny in Eisenstein’s Battleship Potemkin start?
With a side of beef crawling with maggots that the ship doctor nonetheless declares fit for consumption by the crew.
The fairly obvious point Eisenstein is making is that insurrections start when the stench of the corrupt, rotting status quo becomes so overpowering that official narratives can no longer hide it. When people are asked to disbelieve their own eyes and noses, trouble brews.
As C.J. Hopkins recently noted, the Western elites face a similar moment. The neoliberal order stinks and the corporate media is in full deodorant mode.
The Brexit referendum and the election of Trump alerted the global capitalist ruling classes to the existence of another dangerous insurgency that had nothing to do with the Greater Middle East. While they were off merrily destabilizing, restructuring, privatizing, and debt-enslaving, resentment of global capitalism had grown into a widespread neo-nationalist backlash against globalization, the loss of sovereignty, fiscal austerity, and the soulless, smiley-face, corporate culture being implemented throughout the West and beyond. That this backlash is reactionary in nature does not change the fact that it is an insurgency … just as Islamic fundamentalism is. Both insurgencies are doomed attempts to revert to despotic social systems (nationalist in one case, religious in the other) and so reverse the forward march of global capitalism. The global capitalist ruling classes are not about to let that happen.
The corporatocracy wasted no time in dealing with this new insurgency. They demonized and hamstrung Trump, as they’ll continue to do until he’s well out of office. But Trump was never the significant threat. The significant threat is the people who elected him, and who voted for Brexit, and the AfD, and Sanders, and Mélenchon, and Corbyn, and who just stayed home on election day and refused to vote for Hillary Clinton. The threat is the attitude of these people. The insubordinate attitude of these people. The childish attitude of these people (who naively thought they could challenge the most powerful empire in the annals of human history … one that controls, not just the most fearsome military force that has ever existed, but the means to control “reality” itself).
The corporatocracy is going to change that attitude, or it is going to make it disappear. It is in the process of doing this now, using every ideological weapon in its arsenal. The news media. Publishing. Hollywood. The Internet. Intelligence agencies. Congressional inquiries. Protests. Marches. Twitter’s “advisory emails.” Google’s manipulation of its search results. Facebook’s “counterspeech” initiative. Russiagate. Shitholegate. Pornstargate. The ruling class is sending us a message. The message is, “you’re either with us or against us.” The message is, “we will tolerate no dissent, except for officially sanctioned dissent.” The message is, “try to fuck with us, and we will marginalize you, and demonize you, and demonetize you, and disappear you.”
The message is, “we control reality, so reality is whatever the fuck we say it is, regardless of whether it is based in fact or just some totally made-up story we got The Washington Post to publish and then had the corporate media repeat, over and over, for fourteen months.” If that doesn’t qualify as full-blown Orwellian, I’m not sure what, exactly, would.
The media war on “fake news” is a war on all those who dare call rotting meat what it is. In Battleship Potemkin, the captain dealt with the rebellious sailors by ordering a tarpaulin to be thrown over them, literally sweeping them under the rug, and then ordering a firing squad to shoot them. At the last moment, the firing squad refuses the order to shoot. The mutiny is on.
Attempts to throw a tarp over insurgent Deplorables are ongoing at Google, Facebook, CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post and countless other guardians of the liberal regime. A particularly astute move is the effort to invest the counterinsurgency operation mounted by the corporatocracy and the organs of the Deep State with the aura of “Resistance.” But squelching dissent is a desperate measure that testifies to the fatal unraveling of the official narrative. It delays the final reckoning but cannot turn rotting meat back into living tissue.