That's the gist of the Democratic National Committee's astoundingly tone-deaf Readers Digest version of a manifesto purporting to justify its continued existence. In the wake of its mid-term election defeats, the party prescription for itself is a bromide cocktail composed of better bullshit skills and recruitment strategies. They have to emulate the Republicans' messaging and propaganda expertise in order to thrive.
DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (Wall Street Wing D-FL) announced what she thinks will paradoxically turn us all on as it puts us to sleep:
- the creation of a National Narrative Project to work with party leaders, activists, and messaging and narrative experts to create a strong values-based national narrative that will engage, inspire and motivate voters to identify with and support Democrats;
- working with State Parties to build partnership agreements that include training, evaluation, metrics, and incentives and that are focused on ensuring that every State Party is on a pathway to self-sustainability;
- the development of an aggressive, multi-faceted legislative and legal strategy to ensure every eligible American is registered to vote, has access to the polls and has their ballot counted;
- the creation and resourcing of a three-cycle plan, in conjunction with our allies, that targets and wins back legislative chambers in order to prepare for redistricting efforts; and
- the DNC building on its success and playing a proactive role in helping identify, train and foster the next generation of Democratic leaders, especially at the state level.
We must remember that we are naught but consumers of multiple messaging facets, but if we get really lucky, we might even become unpaid trainees in the laboratories of Democracy. However, no questions must ever be asked, least of all by the press, who were treated like enemies of the state as they tried to cover the Democratic (sic)Issues (sic) Retreat last month. Writes Dylan Byers:
Reporters are being escorted to and from the restroom and lobby and are being barred from entering the hotel outside of scheduled events, even if they've been invited by a member of Congress.
During Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks at the retreat Friday, reporters were required to have a staff member, usually a junior member of the press team, escort them when going to the bathroom or to the lobby. The filing center for reporters was at a separate hotel from where the retreat was taking place, so access was limited to members of Congress specifically made available to the press.
“It was a police state. It was absurd how heavy handed the capitol police and Democratic staff were in trying to control everywhere the press went,” New York Times reporter Jeremy Peters said in an interview.
Peters said at one point he was also barred from entering the hotel where the retreat was taking place, despite the fact he had an invitation to eat breakfast with a member of Congress.
“I was an invited guest into this hotel, into the restaurant of the hotel. The staff from the Democratic caucus refused to let me into the hotel, and the Capitol Police told me to leave, even after the congressman went to them and said 'no, he is my invited guest,'" Peters said.
Peters said he was told by a staffer they were being escorted to prevent them from talking to members of Congress.In light of the de facto anti-democracy of the Democratic Party, it should come as no surprise that the Center for American Progress, that official corporate think tank of the DNC, pointedly and pettily left out the Oscar-winning documentary Citizen Four in its congratulatory post yesterday to the "progressive" winners who mouthed support for such Democratic initiatives as immigration reform, voting rights, and equal pay for women. The DNC is not about to support a major award-winning film that shines a harsh light on mass surveillance of Americans, especially when it contains a clip of a petty Barack Obama complaining that Edward Snowden "is no patriot."
Why even expect the ill-named Democratic Party to behave democratically? As the late French political philosopher Simone Weil observed in the aftermath of the horrors of World War II, the very concept of the modern political party was born in the Reign of Terror.
Political parties, wrote Weil, contain three essential characteristics:
1. A political party is a machine to generate collective passions.Hmm... so political parties have the exact same goals as hypercapitalism -- growth for the sake of growth, greed for the sake of greed. As a result, every political party is at least aspirationally totalitarian, even when it purports to exist for the public good. And every political party thrives by being deliberately vague, as the latest Democratic Task Force screed saliently demonstrates. "No man, even if he had conducted advanced research in political studies, would ever be able to provide a clear and precise description of the doctrine of any party, including... his own" wrote Simone Weil in On the Abolition of All Political Parties.
2. A political party is an organisation designed to exert collective pressure upon the minds of all its individual members.
3. The first objective and also the ultimate goal of any political party is its own growth, without limit.
No wonder Debbie Wasserman Schultz had cogency problems devising her bedtime story. Cogency is not part of her job-description, and we're fools for expecting to to be.
A political party becomes its own end. Even when power is achieved, it is never enough, and thus must party leaders be in the perpetual business of devising such things as "National Narrative Projects."
The pressure of propaganda would and should normally horrify us, but we've become too accustomed to the political B.S. in this age of new media and Citizens United. We're too accustomed to being bamboozled to care or be shocked. We don't have the time or the energy to cut through the bullshit. What Simone Weil wrote 70 years ago is especially and chillingly true today, in this time of permanent war and a ruling class maintaining power through multi-faceted wars of terror:
Political parties are organisations that are publicly and officially designed for the purpose of killing in all souls the sense of truth and justice. Collective pressure is exerted upon a wide public by the means of propaganda. The avowed purpose of propaganda is not to impart light, but to persuade.... All political parties make propaganda. A party that would not do so would disappear, since all its competitors practice it.I'm with Simone. Down with the Duopoly. It's hazardous to our health.