a.nihil

the smallest triviality can become the vision that wipes out the world.

Why is it expected that a person is always connected to the internet and within the reach of an email account, WhatsApp or Instagram? Why is it that the default mode of communication is over WhatsApp and if one chooses to not be on the platform there is an actual loss of information. Smartphones are also an ubiquitous presence in the public spaces of modern cities where having one is always assumed by default. Payments, check-ins, money transfers, security procedures to access critical apps all require a smartphone with internet access though it isn't implicit that a person should own a phone in the first place.

The internet as a highly deregulated space has a feeling of being a privatized version of the Wild West where the big landowners can do what they want to do and the plebs are at the mercy of these anarchic overlords. Sure, there is a lot of utility to be made with the helps of the tools provided by these corporations, but at what cost? This belief by the general populace that everyone is connected to one of the data exploiters is problematic as any reasoning would only evoke suspicion, as that's what we've been trained to believe. The internet for most parts is still has a very nascent presence in our lives. Most of us weren't born into it, and so we don't know what happens behind the screen – the assumption that if it looks good then it is good applies to our day-to-day usage of the internet.

Getting a job requires a cellphone number, having a twitter account needs a cellphone number, opening a bank account needs one and in a country like India, the government itself starts a bio-metric surveillance project that connects all IDs to a phone number and a person. Even a mundane shopping experience needs one to give a phone number to 'unlock' special benefits and people do so because they're not educated on what the drawbacks of doing so entail. This means that not wishing to have oneself not surveilled means that not having access to State machinery and simple conveniences. This gate keeping helps in perpetuating existing power structures without giving scope for people to move up hierarchies, as who wants to give up political power and status? The inequality index of power should also be considered along with money and this index is closely tied with an omnipotent entity knowing everything about you.

For now, it's hard for one to say how the internet propaganda machine can be used to manipulate us, as our own biases are not visible and the traces of any programming done upon us is further obliterated by the echo chambers of communication the algorithms build around us. We are far into the future where predictive mechanisms know more about us than we do about ourselves and in that extent it feels like the cellphone has become a bionic implant put inside us by a rogue corporation. It is the case anyway, the phones suck all our time through online slot machines of apps and websites, all luring us with an overload of junk information trained to dose us with the right hits of dopamine. The phone listens to us, knows what we think and sees what we capture. It has an eye to the world and another staring directly into our faces for all the time we let it gaze at us. It has a cold, mathematical dissemination with which it investigates and classifies us – for purposes of making us buy more and think less.

I think the luxury offered by the smartphone + the internet is something we will not let go easily, it is an addiction that triggers us, like Opium wars of distant past. Since the government and the people are hooked onto the dope shouldn't force me to become a user. This is the time to exercise my rights further as a citizen, if we are all equal even in a hypothetical sense then it is only fair that what I know of myself should be restricted to me and if entities larger than me choose to consume my data exhaust then they should open their black box algorithms and show me what's up inside. The internet and technology has brought a significant change in my quality of life, yes, and that comes with a price. That price shouldn't be my own self and that too not with my dopamine addled consent.

If I want to junk my phone and cull my internet personality I should be able to do so. If the being registered in a more direct surveillance project is mandatory then the terms have to be clear through law or through coercion. This would at least entail a direct participation for or against the current methodologies in use. The current policy of subliminal nudging only accounts for a deeper disorder while hiding the real fight. I say bring it on, we are all in this together.

#data #algorithms #SurveillanceCapitalism #facebook #google #privacy

or fuck your Thunbergs and other false Jesuses

Fridays for the Future, Extinction Rebellion..streets around me are full of hope and excitement for activism, young students going to demonstrations and coming back with badly designed flyers and a general conversation at workplaces and university cafeterias about that friend that has gone vegetarian or vegan. Oat milk replacing cow milk, soya and legumes taking the place of meat. There is no problem for a society to shift towards healthier and environmentally conscious avenues, but the dialogue with which we're immersed in this transition bothers me more. For now, it is mostly a narrative in the educated classes of developed nations making them united for a cause that is suitable for some armchair activism and subtle lifestyle changes in their otherwise saturated, mono-dimensional lives. This is what it feels like, something greater than themselves, a replacement to a God and money they have seen dying over the years.

Yes, money is dying in a way. It offers nothing that we don't know and the rush of making and spending money has become predictable, turning ourselves into self-optimizing machines in the process. The areas for insight in the developed world are few, almost every aspect of daily life has been made efficient with precision. This is no space for humans as it has been too desensitized, it is hard to believe that we as a species ever came from the jungle to having domesticated plants and some millennia later be where we are. In retrospect is cause for the discontent, money asks too much from ourselves to be in possession of it, and we have to drive ourselves bone dry to achieve its objectives.

This lifestyle dysfunction turned towards a very real problem of climate change creates interesting avenues for discussion and how this problem can be solved with a Utopian tinge. It is the same reasoning for the counter-cultural movements that happened in the West (I have absolute contempt for this word. West of fucking what?), coupled with the booming businesses of yoga, mindfulness and organic food. This brings me to the point, where did the opposites for all these modes of living arise in the first place? Considering India as an example, one sees that the country was introduced to fast food, economic liberalism and unchecked expansionary capitalism as a response to a globalized world view first created by the powers in the developed world. Now, the fancy pants in Europeans capitals boast about their all-grain vegan diets and lactose + gluten free milkshakes while on the other hand India gets hooked onto greasy burgers and deals with the problem of unchecked capitalism taking over the psyche of its residents.

Then comes along, conveniently, the issue of climate change and the fad of activism in the West. People dance behind wagons playing deep techno, screaming in between the need for a better planet. Sure, this activism is for the greater good. But the good has to happen within the domain of the system they are living in — the protests and demonstrations still happen in a very controlled space under the auspices of the local police and perhaps the local intelligence community. So the change first appears in form of corporate acceptance where companies greenwash at every possible instant: at bus stops signs, petrol stations and inside supermarkets while buying oranges in winter. The irony is not visible as this messaging is confirming one's own beliefs but a taking a deeper look one sees the invisible hand of capitalistic trickery in play.

A time will come when political action will be taken against polluters and new trade deals will be signed under the pretense of the environment. The rules will be written by the polluters and the blame will be shifted to all those barbaric people in the developing counties. India should not consume so much coal, Indians should not be throwing plastic in the water, Indians should not follow the American dream and buy a car and whatever the fuck they need. This would create an optimum business creating situation where the polluters find new technologies to tackle with the problem they have created in the first place. Then they will shove it down everyone's throat in a rent seeking push to fatten their bottom line and the circle exists where these rich countries become richer with the blame fair and square always on the countries that are historically poor because of colonial and economical conquests of these rich countries in the first place. It is in this context the armchair activism of the average Westerner is problematic, it aims to solve a problem without tackling the inherent system within which it functions, because who wants to let go of the luxuries of living in a hyper-capitalistic society? Capitalism always tries to find newer methods of profit generation and the climate crisis is a cow waiting to be milked and slaughtered.

The effects of this activism is not yet seen in India but for now there is rampant deforestation and a reliance on energy guzzling devices and cars. That is a symbol of prosperity and changing this view just when it has come within reach will seem hypocritical. The aims of the Thunbergs and your local café hipsters it should not involve holding colorful placards but engaging people across the world in conversations. What the climate crisis is about is essentially a problem with consciousness itself — we have at some point forgotten our origins as animals and have gone so deep in immersing our make-believe reality that we forget that the planet is a home shared between millions of species. It is not going to be solved through sanitized protests that don't involve all the stakeholders and by that it means looking beyond borders and creating a common culture of understanding and some foundation in economics.

Our enemy is not the polluters but the system itself. As people, we have a common cause ahead of us, this should not become another trope for unequal exploitation as that would be the perfect recipe for global strife. Technologies should be freed of their patents and the knowledge of our future should be free for all. Remember that the planet does not have borders, we do.

#climatechange

Schools in our country have remained as, in essence, middle-class institutions, in the worst sense of the word. Middle and secondary schools, which belong to the state, and therefore, are supported through the people’s taxes, through taxes which are also paid by the working class, cannot be attended by anyone other than the young sons and daughters of the bourgeoisie, who enjoy the economic independence necessary to be able to carry out their studies to the highest standard. A child from the working class, even if he is intelligent and in possession of all the abilities needed to become a knowledgeable man, is forced to waste his talent on other pursuits, to become a rebel, or to educate himself; that is to say (apart from some notable exceptions), he is forced to become a half man, a man who has not been able to give all he could have, if he had been completed by and made stronger through the discipline that school offers. Knowledge is a privilege. Schooling is a privilege. And we don’t want it to be that way. All young people should be equal in terms of knowledge.

The State shouldn’t be paying for the schooling of imbeciles and those who are just plain mediocre, merely because they are children of the wealthy; equally it shouldn’t be excluding those who are intelligent and more than capable, just because they're the children of the proletariat. Middle and secondary schools should be for those who have shown themselves to be worthy. If it is in general interest that they exist, even if they're supported and ruled by the State, it is also in general interest that all those who are intelligent enough should have access to them, whatever their economic background. The sacrifice of the collective is only justified if it is for the benefit of those who really deserve it. The sacrifice of the collective should be made so as to give economic independence to those who are talented, so that they can dedicate their time completely to study, so that they can study in earnest. This problem is dispensed off entirely if education is not under the purview of the State but private, for-profit entities, which will automatically pivot towards one form of meritocracy – money.

The working class are excluded from middle and secondary schools because of current societal conditions which mean that there is a division of labour among men, in a most unnatural manner; it is not based on individual ability and therefore, devastates and corrupts production. This class has to fall back on subsidiary schools; those of a technical and professional orientation. These technical schools were established on a democratic basis, yet, because of the antidemocratic provisions of the State budget, they have gone through a transformation which has destroyed their very essence. Now they have mostly become accessories to the classical schools, an innocent outlet for the petty-bourgeoisie obsession with finding a job. The admission fees which are constantly on the rise, and the practical possibilities which they offer for life, have made these schools too somewhat of a privilege. The majority of the working class is excluded from them, automatically, because of the uncertain, random life that the wage-earner is forced to lead; a life which does not go hand in hand with following a course of study.

The working class needs a school which is neutral. A school which gives children the possibility of educating themselves, of becoming men, of acquiring the general knowledge needed to develop their individual character. A humanistic school then, as the ancients and the most recent men of the Renaissance intended it. A school which doesn’t mortgage the child’s future or constrain his will, his intelligence, his conscience, so as to set him off on the road with a fixed destination. A school of liberty and free initiative and not a school of subjugation, where people are quasi-mechanized. Even the children of the proletariat should have the power of choosing from all the possibilities available, all areas should be free to them so they can fulfill their own individual purpose in the best way possible, and consequently in the most productive way possible, not only for themselves but for the rest of the society. Vocational schools should not become a breeding ground for monsters, dryly educated for a job, without being given broad ideas, broad knowledge, without any spirit at all; just an accurate eye and a steady hand. Through professional education too, men can be allowed to break out of their childhood; as long as this education is just that; educational, not merely informative, not just the study of manual procedures.

Certainly, for the harsh industrialists, it might be more useful to have worker-machines instead of worker-men. Yet the sacrifices which society makes in order for progress, in order for the best, most perfect men to fly from its nest, who themselves will help to improve things even further, should see a wealth of returns which benefit the whole of society, not just one type of person, or class.

It’s a problem of rights and of power. And the working class should be on alert, so it doesn’t suffer even more oppression, as it has suffered so much already.

— Antonio Gramsci, edited for easy digestion.

#education #workingclass #inequality

If you are thinking seriously of developing the social consciousness of the masses, if you believe that the middle class cannot come to power without the active participation of the illiterate and property-less majority of our people, then you should not dismiss the discontent of the workers and peasants as “simply economic”. No community is ever involved in any political movement unless urged on by economic motives. The patriotism of the “thinking portion” of our population originates in the clearly-defined consciousness which this class has of its own economic needs. If you want the masses to take an active part in the political movement, you will have to go down into the economics of their lives, find out their basic necessities, and arouse in them the consciousness of these necessities and how to go about winning them in the political struggle.

Why do the so-called “thinking” elements of our people take a more active part in the political movement than the “common” people? It is not because this class is specially created by God to monopolize the political destinies of the nation, but because as a class, it is more conscious of its own economic interests. And why? Not because of any natural superiority, but because they have more access to education. Some want industrial development, which will increase the amount of their profits; others want the doors to the higher government positions thrown open to them; still others want such a system of education as will enable them to earn more wages, etc. etc. Politics is based upon economic interests and necessities. Consequently, the political movement in which we want the masses of our people to take active part, must take into consideration the economic desires and necessities of the latter. That is all I have to say. If a party will be organized in India upon this principle, with an economic programme translated into political activities, backed up by direct action of the masses, there will be no further need to bother you with unwelcome heaps of literature.

A few concrete points. You seem to be very much concerned with the problem of Hindu-Muslim unity. This is the logical reaction of our old exclusively Hindu Nationalism, which was simply Pan-Hinduism when carried to its extreme conclusion, forming the antithesis of the aggressive Pan-Islamism. Now permit me to point out to you that, so long as you will endeavor to rear the structure of this much-needed Hindu-Muslim unity upon the thin surface of the “thinking portion” of our people exclusively, you may achieve mutual cordiality, but real unity will remain an unsolved problem. Here again, we must go down to the roots of things. It is upon the dynamics and not the statics of the question that we must base our calculations. The preachings and exhortations of well-meaning patriots have their subjective significance, but the main problem can be solved only by the development of objective forces. The unity of the various communities inhabiting India should not be regarded as a mere political exigency. This unity will be achieved only by a social readjustment taking place as a result of the growth of new economic forces.

The vertical divisions of our society can be eliminated only by the intensification of the horizontal division. That is to say, the divisions of caste, creed and religion will be replaced by class-cleavage, which divides society as a whole into two great, hostile camps, – that of the propertied exploiter and that of the expropriated and exploited working class. Such being the case, Hindu-Muslim and every other communal unity can and will be realized only through the gradual process of development of class-demarcation. There is no other way. You may hate it; you may try by all means to prevent it; but it will be in vain, since the natural and inevitable development of social forces cannot be set at nought by our desires. If you are courageous enough to get a firm grip on the economic foundations of our movement, the question of communal unity will not worry you so much; because then you will see how the pressure of economic forces is breaking down the ancient communal and religious prejudices and traditions.

A landlord is first of all a landlord, and a Hindu or Mussulman or anything else after that. He does not take any less rent from a tenant who is his co-religionist than from one who is not. The same holds true of employers of labour. Have you ever seen a Muslim or Hindu or Parsi employer paying. a higher scale of wages to his brothers in the faith? These are general laws of economics that hold good everywhere. One can take them a priori for granted, because they have been proved and are proven true wherever tested. One dare not say that they are applicable to some countries and inapplicable to others. We cannot seek to escape from the working of these economic laws by trying to believe that.

India is a special creation of Providence. Our communal unity will be realized through the economic development of the country, just as communal unity has been realized everywhere else. Sentimental propaganda is useless. Your “thinking portion of the people” will on the contrary, try to preserve our communal animosities, since by this way they can keep their hold on the situation. No my dear friend, we must determine our method of work, not according to the convenience and capability of our handful of intellectual aristocrats, but according to the economic interests of the overwhelming majority of our people. Just so long as we delude ourselves and others on the subject of superiority as measured by a university degree, just so long will we live in our heaven of intellectual isolation, happy perhaps, but condemned forever to our chains of slavery.

— M.N. Roy, 10.11.1922 (Source: Marxist Internet Archive)

#India #communalism #caste #religion

India's caste system is, of course, unique in the way all national institutions are unique. But it is far from the only caste system and it is not so different as is usually supposed. There were similar and contemporary systems in China, Korea, Japan, pre-Christian Igbo and Mande societies... And as for historical precedent, there are even more. Nor is India's system unique in surviving on a social level. If anything, it's unique because the government of India has taken such strident measures to counteract it in a democratic context. For example, Japan has a caste of untouchables and they are still discriminated against.

So the premise of your question is flawed. As is the idea that Islam, Christianity, and Sikhism couldn't affect the caste concept. While it didn't eliminate it completely, the way a Christian, Muslim, or Sikh experiences and conceives of the caste system is radically different than a Hindu. This is even true for Buddhists. And generally Sikhism and western Christianity is considered to have strong anti-caste sentiment and is attractive to certain castes as a result.

Why did it exist and with such elaboration? The British. (This is also why it's common even to religions that reject it: the British didn't exclude Christians or Muslims etc.)

The modern caste system was created by the British in 1881. Now, the British did not invent the concept of caste or that it was a system or invent any castes or ethnic groups. What they did do was conduct a census where every single person was categorized by caste, religion, and ethnicity. For the first time ever there was a coherent, India-wide system of castes with different ranks and laws applying to them. At least in British territory: the princely states could be more varied.

It's controversial if the British made any modifications to the census for political purposes or if they simply accurately reported what they were told. What is not controversial is that they prevented people from changing caste and created laws that applied by caste. This system, whereby there were different laws for different castes, persisted with modifications until 1948.

To transport it to an American context, imagine America is being colonized by Britain (again) except we're an alien people and they don't really understand us. (Okay, that's not so hard.) Now, you have racial, religious, work-based, and other conceptions of yourself. You may or may not believe you can leave some, all, or none of them. Their importance varies vastly depending on location and how they interplay. The system is complex and more than a little chaotic and it varies from state to state.

And the British don't understand it. So they send out a bunch of census takers. Alright, a census taker is knocking on your door. Now, what are you?

You're a mixed race Democrat living in Albany and working as a school teacher named Gloria van der Wafel? What races? White and black? Oh, well we've decided that if there's a mix you count as white. Also, from your name and the place you live you're obviously Dutch. And you're a member of the school teacher profession? Have you worked in it your entire life? Great, that makes things easier. Okay, I've got what I need. No, I don't need to know what your religion is: we've discovered there are no real differences among Americans due to religion. Silly you.

Anyway, here's what you are. Now, we've decided White Americans aren't very good at running things so you'll be forbidden from holding any kind of high office. However, you're a Dutch White American and we know the Dutch caste are really good at fighting so you can become a high ranking soldier if you join the army. Also, you and your children will put into the 'school teacher' class which will be allowed to teach school or do related work like being a secretary or coal mining. We've determined the skills and predilections of your profession make you ideally suited for that. And lastly, because you're a Democrat, you'll be paying a special Democrat tax. Also, you can't go to New York City anymore. But you can move to Buffalo or visit (but not move to) Boston.

Oh, and your neighbor has been determined to be of a criminal caste. Canadians, you know. Can't trust them. So we've arrested him and are currently rifling through his stuff to find evidence of his crimes. Don't worry, it won't happen to you. You're Dutch and the Dutch aren't predisposed to crime!

Toodles, spot of tea, what what. (And yes, they really did have things like that.)

Did the British invent the concepts like 'black' or 'white' or 'Dutch' or 'Canadian'? No. You would have articulated your own systems and rules before they showed up. Were there no laws or customs or beliefs about any of this before? No, there were. But despite that, the situation is rather different now, isn't it? And your place in society is now explicitly and entirely reliant on these classifications. Which are all unchangeable, by the way, and recorded in a very official looking office. And the rules are now made by the British, beyond your control. This was the effect of the British census and their use of it to rule India. And this was not particularly unusual, by the way. The British undertook similar measures in other societies. And more widely, the ossifying of social boundaries through censuses is a fairly common part of projects to make the population legible to central authority, even in non-colonial regimes.

So was there anything unique? Well, yes. Orientalism meant there was a far greater interest in the Indian caste system and the 'ancient wisdom' of their society. This made westerners far more aware of it than they are about caste in (say) Nigeria. But sociologically or in imperial terms? Not really, no.

From Society, and Politics in India from the 18th century to the Modern Age, the Making of the Raj, Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of New India, The Peasant and the Raj, and Religion and Personal Law in India

u/Erusian

#India #caste #colonialism

Create a FB account, and then through that account, create a right-leaning FB page.

Through that page, set up your ads. FB ads allows you to target for things by interests, by certain political affiliation, and you can restrict your targeting down to the point of which city. So for example, if I wanted to target extremely conservative men ages 20-35 in Austin, Texas, I'd set my FB ads to something like this:

facebook ad datasets

Right away, FB tells me I have 24,000 potential people I can reach.

You could tweak and tune the FB ads as much as you like until you reach your desired audience. Want to include avid readers of Breitbart? No problem. Sean Hannity viewers? You betcha! Tomi Lahren fanboys? Of course!

Make sure you get people who run the page to constantly put up articles that reinforces what those pages stand for. It doesn't matter where the content comes from, so long as you get content up there that confirms your audience bias.

For each article you post, create an ad to an article. Maybe consider linking a Breitbart article about how muslim gangs are raping young girls.

Use divisive language in your ads, but nothing that directly calls anyone out so the ad can get approved, something like:

Texans! Keep your loved ones SAFE from terrorism!

Use pictures that invoke the “gotta protect OUR children” reaction. Something like a young white girl in a white dress holding a teddy bear?

Set your budget—$5 a day is a pretty good place to start to figure out your cheapest cost per click—and run that bad boy. You can get as low as 9 cents a click if your audience interact well to the ad (i.e. they click it, they LIKE it, they comment on it), so don't worry, those $5 will go a LONG way. Once you get a good audience, you turn up the budget to as high as you want to reach as many people as you can.

Facebook will deliver this ad to your aforementioned audience's newsfeed because those people have proved to FB that they are more likely to engage with this sort of content.

Ideally, you want to keep this going on for about six months to a year to ensure that you build a big enough audience group who will not only click on your link but who will also LIKE and FOLLOW your page.

After that is where the fun begins. This is when you create an event called “Keep Islam out of Texas” from that page.

Remember that audience you've been cultivating all these months? You can save it, expand it, and create what FB calls a lookalike audience—i.e. people who 'look' similar to your audience in their online behavior or could otherwise be brought into that audience.

You can use that to target up to 5% of the entire US population. Yeah, let that number sink in.

Do the same kind of ads, but this time drive people to this event. Since they've been blasted by your content for the past half to whole year, it should be a pretty easy sell.

TheDonald uses this EXACT SAME PROCESS to help get Trump elected, but through Reddit instead. It's literally EXACTLY. THE. SAME. See what I'm talking about:

Create a reddit account:

  • Go to r/The_Donald which aggregates all of these types of users for you already

  • Post content having to do with Mexicans, Muslims, Marxism, and whatever else conservatives have been trained to live in fear of, linking those post to an article on Breitbart or just use a funny meme video that appeals to their hate and fear driven biases

  • Once you've built up the hate and fear enough use it to manipulate users into attacking whatever makes Donald Trump look bad or threatens his power

  • Repeat, with hundreds of thousands of upvote accounts and thousands of posts

99% of our job is to convince people that something that is fucking them over is actually good for them. The whole concept of 'shills' has somehow became a conspiracy theory when in reality it's just PR workers who are paid by a company to defend their product/service. My last job was defending fracking.

Anytime a post containing keywords was submitted to a popular website we where notified and it was our job to just list off talking points and debate the most popular comments. Fracking was an easy one to defend because you could paint people as anti-science if they where against it. The science behind fracking is sound and if done properly is safe, so you just focus on this point. You willfully ignore the fact that fracking is done by people who almost never do it properly and are always looking to cut corners.

Your talking points usually contain branching arguments if people try to debate back. For example my next point would be to bring up that these companies are regulated so they couldn't cut corners or they would be fined, all the while knowing that these agencies are either underfunded or have been captured by the very industry they are trying to regulate.

The final talking point, if someone called you out on all your counterpoints, was to simply try to paint them as a wackjob. Suggest they are crazy for thinking agencies who are suppose to protect them have been bought and paid for. Bring up lizard people to muddy the waters. A lot of people will quickly distance themselves from something if it is accused of being a conspiracy theory, and a lot of them are stupid enough that you can convince them that believing businesses conspiring to break the law to gain profit is literally the same as believing in aliens and bigfoot.

u/insoucianc

#facebook #propoganda #fascism

Attacks on a indistinguished minority usually takes the rhetoric of a cockroach, pigs, rats and termites. These words show the status of this minority in the society and in the minds of the powerful who view them as sub-humans or even less, legitimizing violence against them. the Nazis used Untermensch while the killing fields of Rwanda saw “exterminate all cockroaches” radio broadcasted across the territory.

This tells us something about the oppressed and the fear and status they occupy in the oppressors head. Cockroaches, rats, termites and pigs are all scary and filthy beings. Most people do not want to have a contact with these organisms because of their irrational fear towards them. This means that these organisms hold a certain psychological power over the oppressors which can be used to their advantage.

Imagine a scenario where you are afraid of cockroaches. You hate them, deep inside your mind you want to exterminate them all. You think of nothing but the darkest thoughts for them but here's the catch, you do not see them that often. Your experience of the cockroach is built on slight interactions and group think. They are everywhere, but not around your eyes. You are seething with passive anger as you go with your day, there is no call for exterminating the cockroaches yet though the messaging is loud and clear — the world will be a better place only after all the cockroaches are killed. There is disease outside and crumbling infrastructure. Someone says that the infrastructure is decaying because the people are sick all the time. The causation is made. Then some more, it seeps around. Into politics, into education, into how people behave. Why? The infrastructure is corrupt, dead. It was always for whatever reasons. It can be institutional apathy but who wants to blame oneself for wrongs that can be attributed to someone else? The “infiltrators” start gaining more and more prominence and outcomes someone who connects the dots. It is the vile filth of the termites, cockroaches, pigs and rats that have contributed to this decay, look, we were a glorious civilization all the way back (we have no proofs because the vermin have digested them all!) until these “infiltrators” have come in caused us pain and disease.

These cockroaches are so because they cannot speak their needs. They are reduced in form and shape because they cannot assimilate in this society of humans because their needs are not legitimate in the human sense. When one speaks of these sub-humans (and accepts them), then the delegitimizing is complete. What powers do the cockroaches/vermin have, as the narrative is already prejudiced against them?

The psychological fear that they carry along with them is their biggest power. What they have in unity is what the people on the top fear the most, a tumbling mass of cockroaches and rats gnawing through. Their unision itself is a thing of horror as the narrative of infrastructural loss and disease cannot be forever harangued upon them. There will be repurcusions of course – a strong backlash coupled with violence, but how many of these insects have to be killed before one knows that it is too much? Other worlds start to take notice and the narrative falls flat on its face. The expelling of blood is a natural consequence but the narrative was the bigger enemy – to classify something one doesn't know as evil but one must recognize that they were part of the society very much so and they had particular functions that the people living on top cannot fathom.

This hate can seen through the lenses of poverty, generational discrimination and racism – the images of cockroaches and termites are not something that the cockroaches and termites have given themselves but it is in the eyes of the powerful who choose to disseminate these ideas against the general masses for escaping scrutiny and for their own good. The vilification once instituted cannot be satiated without direct confrontation but it is for every society to decide if such a narrative is necessary in the first place. This is a hierarchial system we all function in and the nature of hierarchy itself is to place things without power so that the powerful can amplify their own presence and give enough space for a mass to flex themselves. The consequence of multiple narratives are upon us but we choose not to learn either because of laziness or shortsightedness. Together, the underlings can constitute a larger terror to be fought against and creating enough doubt in going full on with the institutions of state power.

Changing these narratives would need an open mind. To welcome people inside without letting their terminology be the first filter. To not let politicians makes gambles on entire populace based on a single vote given by you. Knowing that all this has happened before and will happen after but your place in the world should not be on the basis of the same bigotry. Invite for a coffee, reach down and listen. All beings speak the same language as you do, drink some coffee or invite for a beer. One man's cockroach is another man's best friend, repeat not what the powerful say but know that choices are all of yours to make.

#racism #India

Read the first part in this series here

The media is self-referential and exists in its own bubble. It is not a scientific establishment where peer reviewing articles and sources is a thing. Scientific process is slow and cumbersome because of the consequences of putting an unfinished thought/product/theory into the world can have disastrous consequences. However, the media does not bear the same weight of scrutiny. The media has to be nimble and ever-changing because of the nature of our reality and information. Things have to move quick otherwise you lose your audience to another source. This means a piece of information once it gains attention in a legitimate, audience filled podium, it will be referenced over and over without thought being given to if the first fact is true or not. This is at least the case of the fast moving media anyway, longform articles and books might come after the media cycle has finished covering a particular topic but that does nothing as the dopamine charged media consumers have moved a thousand stories forward.

Considering that the media only exists within the framework of capitalism, it cannot produce any means of dissent against the existing system because that would mean suicide. And all modern nation-states also exist within the same ecosystem which makes the relationship symbiotic and self-serving. That is why it would make sense if the media works to preserve the status quo than to break it. Considering that the media produces only what the lowest factor in a society can understand since alienating the masses is not a good sign for a balance sheet, it makes content that appeals to this lowest factor in a democracy. This would mean simplistic renditions of events, the idea that truth has two sides and that one doesn't need to think but just believe.

That would be the only explanation why people who work in thankless jobs keep functioning in them and perpetuate their lives forward. It is not that they do not know that their existence is trivial but because they do not know of any other existence that would be any different from the one they are living. The media hands out to them that there are people elsewhere that your life is worth sacrificing for, say a soldier at the frontier or a farmer slaving his time in the field. The soldier and the farmer also receive programming that their work and actions have a greater meaning for these people in thankless jobs – they all work for this fictional entity called the Nation, but who does the Nation really belong to? The people? It does seem like the Nation belongs to the people on paper but the reality is far different – the soldier does not have a say whether he wants to fight or not, nor does the thankless worker or the farmer. They should just accept things as they are and make the country proud. Proud for whom? In India that would mean for the businesses that operate internationally, the tourists and the politicians seeking international legitimacy but these population subsets are miniscule compared to the whole of Indian population. The media works for this subset rather than the whole, pretending to be a part of the masses but a cleverly disguised medium manipulation in our midst.

Now whatsapp, facebook and youtube have completely taken over traditional forms of news where the choices become more and more limited as prescribed to a certain kind of news consumption – echo chambers out of which there is no certain escape. Neither should not following the news be an option because being informed is a critical process of participation and if one removes oneself from the information loop then one becomes zombie citizen who exists just to consume but exert no real change. The way the current system of media concentration can be challenged is to draft laws that no big businesses or politicians can hold media companies and existing media houses be nationalized under strict guidelines for what can and cannot be reported. This is again easier said than done because if the nation does not evoke any kind of confidence then neither does the nationalized entity.

Competing against deep pockets needs deeper pockets and in this case to dismantle the media mechanism is not an easy task as private capital would be hard to come by. Grassroots activism via blogs, websites and social media channels by alternative media is possible but the limits to their access to information will be minimal. The internet had a capacity to do what traditional media couldn't but with the centralization of the internet it has become the new norm. The breaking of this hegemony needs a crew of academics, thinkers, strategists and politicians who believe that a real change is possible. Change in this context is not a utopian ideal but the betterment of a deeply flawed society with no incentives to better itself.

There should be a secondary constitution written on which this group of thinkers operate, a legitimate ideology connecting the members. The constitution should involve the developed values of today along with a strong scientific backing and minimal religious or emotional value. This doctrine should become the locus of interaction rather than the loosely bound ideas of a Nation and this entity should also choose to function outside the commercial universe, relying on itself for its growth, no matter how small. Upon fostering for such a community for a period of time one can start negotiating for a better future from the inside out, giving no chance to the existing elements that rule our society.

#media #democracy #dissent

The protests happening around the implementation Citizenship Amendment Act and the National Register of Citizens pan-India are a joyous sight for Indians. The last six years the populace has remained largely complacent with the promises made by Modi and his cohorts but it looks like even the people are calling out B.S. on the openly anti-Muslim rhetoric pursued by the government in power.

The protests are being condemned because of the torching of public property and the pelting of stones against policemen, it is vital to remember that the mob has paid for the buses and policemen through their taxes and it is their right to exercise a protest in a form they deem fit. As for the policemen, it is an interesting development indeed that just a few weeks ago when the alleged rapist/murderers in the Disha case were “encountered” the police were elevated to the level of heroes. This shows the deficiencies in public memory and one must use it as a cause to vilify further against the Indian Police Force that remains corrupt and reliable as always. It is also worth to remember that the police are not there to propagate healthy protests but maintain the status quo as requested by whichever government that is in power.

The police do need some help in training themselves and is important that some stones get thrown at them. But the anger here is not towards the Government of India or its servants but towards the parent organization that fosters hate amongst people by dividing them along communal lines. The BJP is a relatively new entrant to the political field but the root of the problem is the RSS with its open “Hindu Rashtra” ideology that propels that BJP forward. Fighting against the BJP and the police will do little but pulling the mask off RSS is the need of the hour and the methods to do so are simple.

Order some ground beef and take along some cows. Gather all the people willing to eat a delicious beef biryani or beef fry and go the nearest RSS shakha, slaughter the cow and start cooking. If anyone comes close by attack with the raw beef and in more threatening times give the RSS a taste of its own medicine, Gaumutra and the eternal droppings of the Holy Cow. It is a joke that in modern India to stifle people one doesn't need guns or bombs but a simple cow and people hungry enough to slaughter it and eat.

The killing of the RSS must be done in a bottom-up fashion, inflaming the lower rungs and getting a response from the higher ranks and constant badgering at their ideals, their past and their plans for the future of the country. Their flags should be burned along with their books, their existence is both a grave threat to Hinduism and the other minority religions as they are a fascist organization hiding behind the iconography of the Hindu religion.

The chaddis need a good beating, team up and gang the next group you see. The only way to save the plurality of the Indian democracy is to remove the fascist and nepotistic elements and retain the essence that has been mandated in our constitution. The Congress is of no help either but that is a different question. Indians now have to fight for their freedom yet again, this time to be not fooled by organizations willing to exploit stagnant masculine anger diverted towards minority groups. The hydra has a thousand different heads and it is vital to rip its heart apart. Burn them down as you would burn your worst fears and protest till you go hungry, there is an abundance of cows for you to eat once the hydra is dead.

#CAAProtests #India #Hindutva #RSS

Our time and our attention and hopefully in the well oiled gearboxes of capitalism, our money.

I have a very short attention span when it comes to passively immersing myself into advertisements but sometimes, it is inevitable. I have all the blocks to keep myself from constant programming, I have de-googled and de-facebooked my life to a large extent, I have an employ of privacy features on my devices and I even pay for services that we have otherwise taken for granted but still, I am being advertised to and I am influenced by media propaganda just as much as anyone else.

I walk down the streets and see advertisements for hipster brands on bus stops and on buses, there advertisements for things I don't care about on walls, doors, hanging from supermarket ceilings and worse still, embedded into media pretending to be genuine content but nudging me to do something I do not want nonetheless. Though I have become insulated against this general messaging what I am not insulated against is in feeling one with the others, being a part of the herd even when I am not thinking the same things as the herd. I might hear about a stabbing on the London bridge or a rape in Hyderabad, I might or might not have feelings for these incidents but still, my mind is hijacked by these subjects in a way I do not have any control over them, or do I?

At what point does it become obvious that a particular news story is not worth my attention or when do I know that a certain subject needs my complete focus and thought, so that I can apply my knowledge and make the world 'a better place'? Making the world a better place is not why I think of things. I think of things because it is almost an ambient, natural response to events, my frame of reference to the things that happen around and inside me. In this sense there is no objective truth I am essentially pursuing even though I know that there are facts, but those facts exists because I understand them. Otherwise I could be a flat-earther talking about how vaccines are bad and how the Jews are the Illuminati and the Nazis are playing football on the moon.

Making the world a better place is not the objective but thinking about the world I live in is. Being human also puts me square in the hive mind of things, eventually I consume what all the others do, no matter how high and snooty I wish to be. In some analyst's computer right now I am a blip who has spent the same amount on average on a Coke product than the nose-picking Joe Guy sitting next to me on the Metro and I do not even know it. Saying which, does talking about an issue that is the center of focus of media attention mean that I am swayed by the media machine that demands my eye balls and my brain cells? Mass media tells me things without me even paying for them, social media is just like this essay, throwing words about topics I did not even subscribe to but being human I am held sway by what people talk and since I want to belong, I participate first by listening and then by talking. The in-between stages is by the meta-talking and meta-listening I do by injecting ideas in interpersonal conversations, which are again narratives over which I have no control over after the initial ignition.

This personal stages of opinion forming is what the media does for me, it is thinking outsourced to a well branded agency that I am told I must trust. The media talks about itself in a self-flagellating sense of entitlement, projecting itself as the upholder of value, virtue and the truth. The truth it is, as the media sees it or the people holding control of the cameras and the people holding control of the people holding the cameras. The media also has the responsibility to be relevant and keep its business model alive so each moment there is a new ping of information, bread crumbs for the wagging dog.

What the media does for reporting is what we do for our lives itself. We are confronted with a complex world where there are thousands of narratives building themselves around us in a single moment but we do not have the necessary brain power to process and make sense of what is unfolding in the immediate reality before us, so we have to satisfy ourselves with simplistic narratives that help us focus on other aspects of living – mainly work. This is also a deliberate function of a highly industrialized and capitalistic world where people are mere economic actors and their role in the political process is reduced to a number that votes to their particular smidgen of colour.

There was a time a decade ago with the nascency of the internet was taking over the world there was a talk of decentralized citizen journalists revolutionizing media itself. What these commentators in newspapers and other traditional media did not expect was social media and the subsequent boom. What they imagined as a decentralized reporting apparatus has instead become a walled garden of algorithms deciding who hears what without telling why such a conclusion has been made in the first place. This obfuscation of the rules underlying communication puts consumers in a space of not understanding the bias of the media they are consuming. As it happens, most media ownership is now controlled by a few handful of people across the planet and that is not a good sign, to have the future of the world shaped by the gentle nudge of a few.

The ultimate product of the media is not the content but us, it lulls us into comfortable anger, confuses us with information overload, distracts us and in the end makes us be what it intended in the first place, docile humans who will work and live, maintaining the status quo. The media makes us complacent in having voice, making sure that we have just the right amount, not more and not less. When we choose to vote with our eyeballs and keystrokes we are pandering to this opinion forming machine. So what does the media really want? In short, nothing less than your soul.

#media #democracy #dissent

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