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14484RE: [GreenLeft_discussion] Re: Results in WA - technique of "framing"

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  • Sean Diggins
    Mar 1, 2005
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      This note from my mate Peter Woodward, an industrial officer in the MEAA

      I've just been thinking about this "framing" thing in the light of things
      I've said before.

      In society, things happen because of the underlying forces at work. I
      suppose people's perception of what is going on assumes the character of one
      of the underlying forces and everything is affecting everything else in a
      dialectical sense.

      Suppose the world ran out of oil. People's perception of that will not
      change the fact that there is no oil. It will just affect how they respond
      to it. The particular ruling class of the time might want to affect people's
      perception of the event to serve their particular purpose (whatever they
      might be). Therefore, they will employ sophisticated propaganda techniques
      if it is necessary.

      However, if the ruling class is sufficiently powerful, what people actually
      think doesn't matter at all if unless they can give practical effect to
      their concerns. People in jail hate being there but they just can't bloody
      do anything about it. In the interests of practical convenience the prison
      authorities can give them bromide in the soup or personal TV sets or
      anything else to minimise the effort required to maintain the status quo.

      So, I'm putting my view that the object of propaganda, however contrived, is
      simply to minimise the effort required to maintain the status quo.

      Capitalism is been very good at this and it is using explicit language to
      reinforce the values embodied in the consciousness of the generations who
      have grown up under the capitalist system. Mostly though, it's not necessary
      for them to do it knowingly because the people who operate the capitalist
      means of mass communication have already internalised ruling class values
      anyway; it's just second nature for them to propagate them to the masses.
      But, if you're going to have a war, or destroy the environment or something
      like that where people might have lingering doubts then a bit of framing
      won't hurt.

      Some people on the left seem to believe that if you can just present a
      logical argument to the rational population then they will engage their
      rational processes and just change things for the better. I aberrantly
      thought that for some of my recent life. I have now abandoned this view as
      is right for any unreconstructed old Marxist. To think that people
      could/would actually change the status quo by just changing their thinking
      because of our version of 'framing' is just so much wishful thinking isn't
      it? After all, (as Marshy used to say) if you could change things by voting
      they'd just ban voting!

      No, the object of our version of "framing" should be no more than to make it
      a bit harder for the ruling class to minimise the effort required to
      maintain the status quo. So, we should only use it where it might possibly
      count like where it affects the point of view held by people with power and
      liberation politics....

      Peter Woodward
      Industrial Officer (entertainment and arts)
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