Quelling the Revolution

Our café discussion heavily revolved around our understanding of  Marx’s ‘German Ideology’ and how it applies to the way in which revolutions are perceived in the U.S.  The general consensus is that in this nation attempts made by groups to challenge the system are most often received unfavorably by the majority of the American public. This phenomena can be explained by using two of Marx’s concepts we learned last week: ‘ideology’ and ‘false-consciousness’.  In our society revolutions are rarely labeled as such but instead categorized as social movements. The term ‘social movement’ is used to pacify the more aggressive and fear evoking revolution. Nonetheless, the presumed interchangeability of the two terms does not serve as a deterrent for the covert criminalization of social movements by media outlets; this is evidenced by the negative connotations attached to social movements and its participants. They are often characterized as violent, uncouth, un-American, and disruptive. The dominant ideology behind the rhetoric surrounding how social movements are portrayed in the media is one controlled by the powers that be: a homogeneous handful of corporations who dictate what we, the public, are exposed to. For a country as large and vast as the U.S., one would assume that the media would reflect the diversity of its citizens (diversity not limited to racial and ethnic but also religious, cultural, and political diversities) but in reality, much of our choices are controlled by a mere ten companies. (http://www.freepress.net/ownership/chart) An example of this are the various news programs offered that specifically target conservatives or liberals yet are owned by the same company and encouraging the same ideology. The major conflict here is that people are fooled into believing they have agency in where they choose to receive their information and how their perceptions are shaped but in fact, they do not. Thus when the media reports on social movements in the usual manner while appealing to political orientation, what Althusser calls interpellation is at play. We are pulled into believing and practicing their ideology whatever it may be. Marx’s ‘false consciousness’ then becomes apparent when people actively participate in maintaining this ideology despite the actual reality that this ideology does not benefit them in the least. The acceptance and perpetuation of this ideology by these people is potentially detrimental to their well being but their ‘false consciousness’ prevents them from realizing.



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