It is very simple to look at someone who is either a social activist, a youth in need of representation, or any other disenfranchise population and say, “hey, we should work together and solve this!” But it is easier said than done, it is easy for someone in academics or adults who want to teach the young about how they can create their own media to get their point across or to teach and assist those without proper connection to the media and democracy of this nation in present day. To make it all work and see huge sustainability and progress within our current system is less reality than we hope. As stated by Clark and Aufderheide in my latest blog, a problem with media justice is the fact it has very little support or policies to help it thrive (MSJ, p. 63-65). However, as needed and beneficial as taxpayer support and federal organizations to help create and foster this area of work, this wouldn’t be the cure. We need to bridge the gap between the academics in fields such as sociology, anthropology, or just the liberal sciences in general, to the people these fields are supposed to help. Academics getting the funding and grants to do such things like helping out those who do not have access to published media and to create their own for proper representation is hard because these programs eat away the resources and did not show the fast, expansive results the funders wanted (MSJ, p. 77-78). The academics, as long as they have the resources and funding, need to work as a resource themselves to activists and communities in need and build a reciprocal and sustaining relationship (MSJ, p.76). Another problem that arises is that media and its policies and control is not the problem, the problem is the social justice its tries to represent or misrepresents. At the 2007 Southeast Media Justice Conference, the Media Justice Fund (MJF) and Ford Foundation both emphasized an important on policies and such as ownership and control, but in the bigger picture it really comes down to do the people have access to the media. Policies about the media itself do nothing to those who do not have access to it in the first place. After people do have it, that is also not enough, when people need to fight for proper representation and the ability to be heard, that is the problem. More access is great but the justice itself towards all people is the main problem that must be the focus. For those to be represented and allowed to create their own media and collaborate with others and break into mainstream media.
I personally see quite a lot of themes relating back to the earlier book The Rise of the Blogosphere (RotB). Before I bring up the similarities lets lay down some points from Media and Social Justice (MSJ). To start off I need to talk about the main point, this may just be a personal opinion, but this should be a universal fact. Democracy is only as strong as the voice of its people and the influence and fear/concern the people put into their governments. Our problem today is that most media that seems to make the most impact on people’s lives is commercial media. Commercial media purports itself as “the news that asks the tough questions no other place will” or “our in-depth reporters/analysts covering the events that impact YOU!” We all heard these sayings or other related ideas yelled out to you by some deep voiced man during the loud music and constant spinning images on the screens. But they fail at this, Hamelink argues, commercial media dominates with the idea of sensationalism (MSJ, p. 28). A topic I brought up in several earlier works of mine, media wants the story that’ll get them views and ratings. Even if they must spare details and just show the same image or video with more speculation than analysis. As Barlow states in his book “ignoring politics, for the most part, Bennett was an active seeker of other news, items that would draw enough interest so that people would shell out that coin for his paper,” (RotB, p.68). James Gordon Bennett was a media entrepreneur during the early 1800’s who used media, something at this time was believed to be for the common man and to engage them in political discussion and hold powers responsible, but instead commercialized his work and trumped the public sphere and its needs (RotB, p.67-68). We have the necessary tools today to make more public media with the ability of input from the common person and an audience to all of any level of enablement (MSJ, p.62-64). But, this does not mean we are capable entirely. There are X different problems given to the authors of this book.
1) Hamelink – our media is ill-equipped to cover human rights violations (MSJ, p.28). Within a democracy, we need to ensure all can access and give input into the public sphere. Those who suffer due to the system they live in need coverage they most times will not get within commercialism. Since commercial media focuses on sensationalism, they refuse to make time for longer, in-depth analysis and documentary. Sometimes these rights infringements are seen as “natural” within the system they live in, for example, large populations livings in poverty. Commercial media does not give human rights violations its own specialized field (MSJ, p. 28-29). Another problem explained my Hamelink is that technology has grown so fast that it passed our mental capacity (MSJ, p.31). Humans can only do so much within their own power and mental might, but we are failing at bringing technology we created, into a much greater focus and purpose.
2) Couldry- our culture creates a “hidden injury” that destroys one own confidence and ability to represent themselves within the public sphere. Close to the naturalism aspect of Hamelink, we see failure within a society attributed to lower position groups as deserving. Even for those people within those lower positioned groups, they believe they do not possess the qualities to be successive like those above (MSJ, p. 47).
3) Clark and Aufderheide- we have the digital tools, but they are not used efficiently. We need government funding of these experiments of expansive public media and they need to be supported by the government and other organizations to create policies to ensure all have access to this media and all can give input into this media (MSJ, p. 62-65).
The only way to get rid of these problems is to change our views within our culture, human rights infringements are not natural, they stem from humankind activity. We need to get new movements to put new policies in place to give the public media the support it needs to be experimented with and changed if needed. But we also need universities and professionals to create fields specifically for human rights and democratic coverage. Without these we are doomed to never catch up to our own technology and democracy itself will dwindle as people are cut off from the means of engaging in this system.
Occupy sprang up while I was still in high school, by this time I learned in history classes, English classes, and in my own research, of America’s many historical blunders. Many times online and from the news I happened to breeze by Occupy coverage and I always heard it depicted as some socialist-communist bull-crap from lazy people (from anywhere not progressive). As I started looking into it and saw the main point being in response to the bank bailouts and what many called “unchecked capitalism” that allowed these banks and corporation great disparity between the working class and the capitalists in charge of said businesses. I did not see laziness, just people tired of being screwed over. If the working class is the reason why this country stays afloat and as they say make up the “99 percent”, how is it all these businesses get bailed out while families lose houses, small businesses, and jobs. As much as it was a progressive socialist movement, it wasn’t lazy nor an attempt at some communist revolution.
However being so young I was able to give minimal help to the cause other than posting constant memes and videos of the events, and one event that horrified me. UC Davis pepper spray incident, for those not familiar, here is a link. This will be more relevant later.
Coming into college as a psychology major I always had a long fascination with people, this is what drove myself to sign up as an anthropology minor after taking many courses in that field. I quick fell in love with Karl Marx, a political/economic philosopher whose ideas leaked into anthropology. Now he was a communist, not (all*) Occupy protesters. But as his theories suggest culture creates a way to ‘legitimize’ oppression from the powerful. American capitalism has the idea that we fail because we are not good enough, it is a personal problem, not a system problem. Those who work hard are rich, those who are poor are lazy. This is exactly what Marx was explaining, we have the ‘working poor’ class and that can’t be because they are lazy with 3 jobs. American culture has an adoration of our public service workers, especially our cops. They’re all the good guys, here to protect you. Yet with the UC Davis incident, that cop clearly used excessive force, doesn’t matter if they were told not to camp out. They were students and using their own campus, students peacefully sitting. The cop that just began to casually pepper spray them in the face was defended by the station to the point they lied about being ‘closed in’ by protesters and worried about their security (as stated in the link about the incident above). They look out for themselves, not the people.
Occupy went viral fast, but the UC Davis incident exploded! I saw the videos on Facebook the day it happened, probably hours afterward. This movement sent ideas and videos around the world within minutes. With new technologies, they mastered new weird ways of having discourse. Memes were big but this meme was like one I have not seen before in the movement. It took everything we knew about beloved American pictures and/or items and defiled them.
Before I talk about the bigger picture I need to explain some history and how it all ties together. You’re probably wondering why this post is titled with the word communism yet all I talked about is a bit of Marx, well this is where it comes in.
Occupy was not the first major progressive-socialist movement, in fact, it’s almost the baby of other movements, this was not a one-time idea out of nowhere. America has a long-term history of attacking progressive ideas, even though America was a nation founded on revolutionary ideas. Literally (Necessary Trouble p.198). There have been other recent attempts throughout American history towards more socialistic ideas and unionization. Worker’s movements became associated with immigrants and foreigners and therefore targeted as attacks on America. This grew to detrimental proportions during Vladamir Lenin’s Russian Revolution of 1917 happened, when a leftist workers’ revolution took place. The fears of this communist uprising made the USA create the Sedition Act of 1918 which prohibited any anti-war effort (p.198). This fear grew greater during the second Red Scare, which happened after World War 2. The Red Scare of this time was little about punishing crime as it seemed to attack those with more progressive ideas. It put people against each other and was made to divide. It successfully allowed for a narrowing of what was deemed proper discourse in America, “class struggle” was not accepted (p.199-201) and people lost jobs, rights, and became pawns in a game of fearmongering. Those in power pointed fingers and without a real crime could say “you’re unAmerican!” and sabotage your whole life. The Red Scare benefited those in power and stopped any further movements of worker’s having an equal share to their bosses. It was in one easy sentence a war on workers (p.199). As Marx stated, “the history of all hitherto existing society, is the history of class struggle” (The Communist Manifesto p.62).
Back to the Casual Pepper spray Cop meme of UC Davis, within hours hundreds of memes circulated about him (John Pike). As states in the last paragraph, it was the powerful/oppressors who pointed the finger and called one’s ‘unAmerican”. This time in the revitalized worker’s movement, THEY pointed the finger and called out “unAmerican”. The memes they sent around depicted the pepper spray cop defiling well-known pictures with meanings attacking the integrity of those who were against Occupy. I use defile as the term because I feel as if this word and our feelings to how it’s also used creates the perfect feelings of what the tactic is.
The constitution being vandalized, the Iwo Jima soldiers being assaulted, the Founding Fathers’ constitution being destroyed, even the famous picture of the Tibetan monk’s martyr suicide against China, a chilling image of someone going to the extreme to demonstrate against a corruptive force to the demonstrator. The doctored picture of pepper spray cop defiled the original meanings of these pictures and tainted their meaning and directed a new meaning. The villain is the cop attacking those who fought against something tyrannical or a threat. The threat is very visible, the authority figures.
The socialist movements of my parents or grandparent’s time failed because of the fear mongering of communism or socialism. The fear of Russia was real back then, fear of nuclear fallout. Something that scares me to this day but the fear is not that of what older generations faced. A professor of mine from another class told the story about him growing up and praying every Christmas Eve that the nuclear fallout wouldn’t happen because he wanted his presents. The new generation growing older and becoming the next ones in line to take the country do not have this fear, in fact, we have seen a huge movement towards a more socialistic government and economy this past election.
We have the same general ideas of the movements from before but we do not falter to fear mongering of ‘Anti-American’ views since a lot of us are way over the accepted level of ‘American values’ and ‘views’ today. Occupy did not spring up from laziness or random boredom, but is connected to ideas shot down before. These memes, although funny even in terrible ways sometimes, have strong meanings connecting to other struggles we adore today. Occupy is showing that if you go against the people in this struggle, what difference is it to the other ones?
Some of my biggest takeaways from Jaffe’s seem to support my main fears going into it. There were some new enlightenments, however. Something new was how big the bank bailouts and final crisis affected all those across the political spectrum, not that I am dumbfounded that anyone can be the victim, it’s not that. More the fact that both sides of the party thought this problem was unaccepted to hurt the working families while bailing out big business. Growing up I saw the Tea Party as those old white racists who want pre-civil rights movement life again. Sadly, there is a decent amount of racist ideology in it that Jaffe explains the sane right-wingers went after to stop but seemed to fail. But Tea Partiers hated the bank bailout as much as little middle school/high school socialist me. I quick fell in love with Occupy, even though as it grew older I left it due to them accepting abuse from authority, sometimes peaceful protests don’t always work.
Jaffe also only fortified my Marxist fears of money within politics and all these anti-protest counters to help give power and money to those above. Big money and authority fed off Red Scare fear to benefit itself and simply narrow a spectrum of ‘acceptable’ ideas. To pit people against each other to create a hostile environment of “you’re on your own” mentality to fight against workers who fought for socialist ideas in the early and middle 1900’s (p199-201).
Jaffe lays out post-2008 activism as a rebirth of the old activism that was shut down, mainly because the growing adults of my generation do not crack to the red scare fear politics and out distrust at powerful businesses within capitalism. Occupy fighting for livable wages and better worker’s rights are the same as the shutdown workers rights movements during the red scare in chapter 7. These were not isolated “I am bored let me just do something over here”, they’re revitalization movements of what was sadly put down before my time.
Both Black Lives Matter and Occupy utilized the internet and social media at what I would say is the best ever yet. These two movements took over everyone’s social media even Occupy when I was still in high school. Flooding the peoples’ feeds with videos or memes, the internet pop culture drug we all know and love, aided both of these amazingly. It was easy to join the Occupy movement, it was not a formal invitation or act that got you into it. You could become a part of it just by sharing its views and breaking into peoples’ media (p40-41). One great thing I adored of Occupy is that it didn’t seem to have any leader, as Jaffe states it has an attribute what is called horizontalism, which is what drove me and many other in. Horizontalism is the belief no one person or peoples are more important than others (p.40-41). This idea rose because so many of the occupy movements came from those who felt disenfranchised by big companies and banks who constantly got bailed out while their families lost houses and jobs. Occupy does seem to have a .org website with an open forum,
One great thing I adored of Occupy is that it didn’t seem to have any leader, as Jaffe states it has an attribute what is called horizontalism, which is what drove me and many other in. Horizontalism is the belief no one person or peoples are more important than others (p.40-41). This idea rose because so many of the occupy movements came from those who felt disenfranchised by big companies and banks who constantly got bailed out while their families lost houses and jobs.
Occupy does seem to have a .org website with an open forum, here. However, this is only the first google search of “occupy” and many of sites do show up. There may have been some people who first initiated the first march/protest, however, some sites talk about how Occupy allowed for millions of people on the internet to post anonymously or send support around the internet to aid in the physical marches. Some blogs or websites talk about the “founders” of wall street but most likely they are those people who worked most in the beginning to start the movements. BLM does have founders, clear cut, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi; Garza being the name I see the most within media. This is one problem I have with the BLM movement, these founders seem to allow an idea of elitism. They’re the big names and the familiar faces that always get interviewed. However, both has utilized the internet taking almost all major media outputs to talk about the movements whether it be good or bad, or even ugly. Black Lives Matter uses its most significant hashtag #BLM and uses others like the victim names as hashtags and a very famous one being #Icantbreathe which
However, both has utilized the internet taking almost all major media outputs to talk about the movements whether it be good or bad, or even ugly. Black Lives Matter uses its most significant hashtag #BLM and uses others like the victim names as hashtags and a very famous one being #Icantbreathe which were Eric Garner’s last words as he laid on the ground with police over him. Occupy has the signature #Occupy____. The blank indicated the name of the march or place being ‘occupied’. One most recently being #OccupyInaguration. Even before the media picked up on these movements they started out and spread as internet viral movements and ideas. The internet and its users are going to be a pivotal asset in the future movements.
Most of what Jaffe is reporting I have heard of. It is impossible to exist in this day and age and not know big entities such as Occupy, Black Lives Matter, and The Tea Party. The smaller one she talks about, and one I already forget its details, where the company employees were told they were all going to get laid off so they had a sit in at work I have never heard of. But something that was amazing and I hope to see even more of in the coming times.
I very closely followed Occupy Wall Street for a while. Jaffe’s writing is not biased, against the movements, nor does she only take the perspective of the ‘researcher’ like most media outlets today who give small hiccups of the peoples’ voice and decide their fate on how they feel. She seems to give most of the ‘talking space’ to the people she witnessed and interviewed. Being born into a very democratic immediate family, I grew up hating the Tea Party, still will most likely, however, Jaffe shows that they stem from the same problem. The Tea party rose during the Bush administration which they complained was too supportive of ‘big government’, something conservatives are usually against. The Tea Party founders rallied at the same practical issue of Occupy, the Wall Street bailouts. The two are at opposite sides of the spectrum but the same fundamental issue. However, this is where I get the problem, Wall Street takes a more socialist fix to the solution why the conservatives are against that. Wall Street seems to point to the rich and bankers for the problem while I’m confused with Tea Party because online I usually see many racist and hate for minority groups. Which is why I grew up disliking them so much.
Rise of the Blogosphere has taught me that the American press originated so that the people could allow a watchdog-like entity, to inform its people and no allow a public sphere of idea exchange. Over time it was commercialized so that those who were journalists now had a formal job, unlike before where it was something people did as a hobby. However, as it became commercialized politics was lessened and it became what sells the best. Commercialization and professionalism constricted the range of what they could do. The creation of the internet allowed, not caused, the rise of the blogosphere. The people took the opportunity and had slowly begun to make a movement back into citizen journalism, what the American press used to be. The modern media has failed to keep up with technology but slowly has improved themselves, but not like the bloggers have. In fact, no one has yet to make blogs commercialized like the regular media. Which is good since the modern media has realized their failures especially during times after 9/11. If they fail, we all get hurt because whether or not we like them, the modern media still contribute to the public sphere. However, it is possible that the modern media to begin to work with the citizen journalists not just because of their freedom away from commercialization and professionalism, but because of their success and their true professionalism. Commercialized and professionalized are ‘professionals’ with journalism, not all the subjects they cover.
Within my first post, I wanted to focus on the idea of what the American press was founded for, the fact that it was not a job as much as a civic duty to inform its viewers of recent news and political matters. It gave the people a chance to watch over their government and to allow idea circulation. I also spoke of the problem I face myself with modern media and how growing up in the late 1990’s and all through the early 2000’s I first hand witnessed news media growing stagnant compared to all these amazing wonders allowed throughout the internet I was discovering. Also, I advocated for a return to citizen journalism and away from mainstream media, who seems to care more about quick and profitable stories than stories that gave quality information to its viewers, essentially giving way for “click-bait” type of news. Problems which I tend to bring up in most of my posts as a reoccurring problem I want to address.
The second post focused on Thomas Paine, the writer of Common Sense. Paine wrote in common language of his audience to ensure he was allowing all to understand and not the elites who could afford a ‘well-rounded’ literacy. He also advocated for the people of the colonies to fight against the British armies. To ensure a future of government of the people and not a monarch.
The third post I wanted to focus on my biggest issue with modern media, its commercialization. Media merely as a source of profit destroys its main purpose, it uses its viewers as open wallets, not a body that should be informed of the latest news due to the fact it impacts them.
Lastly, the fourth post focused MSM’s biggest failure, that its commercialization and professionalism has constricted itself and cannot be “god’s eyes” unlike all the people giving stories through the public sphere. If the media fails we get hurt by it too, they still interact with the public sphere. However, they are professionals in reporting, not what they cover. The public must hold them accountable for that and let them realize their weakness. Either the MSM adopts its little brothers or the bloggers and alternative press dominate.
So far with WordPress, I seem to have adapted somewhat. I’m not used to using online tools to produce literature myself. After learning easy ways of link embedding and image inserting, my blog has taken a better look than the original. My blog is Crown the People, a Marxist-like blog advocating for the majority of a nation’s citizen to control more of their lives than they do as of now. MSM irks me enough as is, especially due to the commercialization part of them. If the people controlled it for the main purpose of what it was intended for at first it would better benefit the whole of society. The blog is themed black and red, because why not? Great color scheme and when anyone thinks of ‘dirty commie’ it is always the color red. The revolution fist image for the obvious reasons. I renamed “Home” to “Homefront” for the idea that the public sphere is a combat zone and the idea that the people need to fight aginst “X” whatever it is I bring up. My main issues with WordPress is the limited customization of my page, without buying a package I cannot seem to create as ‘legitimate’ looking page or blog as I have seen or as the class blog is.