Friday, 26 October 2012

Noam Chomsky - Top 10 Media Manipulation Strategies

Noam Chomsky, the distinguished American philosopher, political activist and professor emeritus of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has compiled a list of the ten most powerful and efficacious strategies used by “masters of the world” to establish a manipulation of the population through the media.

The strategies are so well-elaborated that even the countries with the best educational systems, succumb to the power and terror of those mafias. Many things are reported in the news but few are explained.

The job of media is not to inform, but to misinform: Divert public attention from important issues and changes decided by the political and economic elites, by the technique of flood or continuous flood of distractions and insignificant information.

Journalists who have access to highly placed government and corporate sources have to keep them on their side by not reporting anything adverse about them or their organizations. Otherwise they risk losing them as sources of information. In return for this loyalty, their sources occasionally give them good stories, leaks and access to special interviews. Unofficial information, or leaks, give the impression of investigative journalism, but are often strategic manoeuvres on the part of those with position or power (Ricci 1993: 99). ‘It is a bitter irony of source journalism … that the most esteemed journalists are precisely the most servile. For it is by making themselves useful to the powerful that they gain access to the “best” sources’ (quoted in Lee and Solomon 1990: 18).

The 10 Top Strategies:

1. The strategy of distraction

The primary element of social control is the strategy of distraction which is to divert public attention from important issues and changes determined by the political and economic elites, by the technique of flood or flooding continuous distractions and insignificant information.

Distraction strategy is also essential to prevent the public interest in the essential knowledge in the area of the science, economics, psychology, neurobiology and cybernetics.

“Maintaining public attention diverted away from the real social problems, captivated by matters of no real importance. Keep the public busy, busy, busy, no time to think, back to farm and other animals” (quote from text Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars).


Friday, 12 October 2012

‘The Forbidden Education’, a documentary film.

On August 13 the documentary film The Forbidden Education will premiere online and in independent film centers. The film is a collectively funded project based on a study which spans eight Latin American countries and analyzes 45 unconventional educational experiences, closely examining the logic of modern schooling and its understanding of education. Moreover, it includes interviews with more than 90 education professionals who are applying alternative educational proposals, including the Montessori method, homeschooling, systemic pedagogy, popular education, free education, logosophical pedagogy, Kilpatrick project methods, new active schools, democratic schools, Waldorf education and the Reggio Emilia approach.

As the filmmakers explain, schools have existed for over 200 years and are still regarded as the main way of accessing education. And yet nowadays the very concepts of school and education are subject of debate in academic forums, public policies, educational institutions, the communication media and civil society. Those who challenge existing educational structures and practices agree that current models do not take nature, the freedom of choice or the importance of love and human relationships into account in individual and collective development.

Over the years, these critical reflections have given rise to proposals and practices which see education in different light, which have dared to challenge the traditional school model of education and whose ideas and experiences venture to explore The Forbidden Education.

See this documentary film online:

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Beyond Burma: Lessons in hope for refugee children

An estimated three million Burmese citizens were in exile during the dictatorship, the vast majority slaving as undocumented migrant workers in Thailand and throughout South East Asia.

Around 350,000 Burmese fled to the Mae Sot border city area, where most lived in sprawling refugee camps and struggle to feed, clothe and educate their children.

The Mae Sot region has around 70 migrant schools that  spontaneously started to meet the needs of the 30,000 children who have crossed the border from Burma. The students are a mix of refugees and economic migrants. Of this number only 7000 are currently attending these schools. The schools range in size from 20 to over 650 students. These schools receive no support from the Thai government and rely solely on resourcefulness and international support.

Founded in 1999 by head teacher U Khaing Oo Maung, the Boarding High School for Orphans and Helpless Youths  has been famous for offering a good education.

Monday, 8 October 2012

Julián Gómez del Castillo

On 10 October, 1924, Julián Gómez del Castillo was born to a working-class family devoted to the ideal of justice in the destitute Spain. His father, following in his grandfather’s footsteps, member of that militant PSOE, died in jail at the time of the bourgeois Second Republic.

Capitalism robbed him of his childhood. At an early age he started working, he soon joined the fight for social justice, and together with his siblings and other children, were able to obtain funds for strikes. He sometimes remembered that being a child, he used to steal into the prison to take newspapers to his father.

Being young, he converted to Catholicism and was christened. Since then, fight for justice and Christian life were embodied together in him. In the Christian militancy he met Trini, a workwoman, and they joined their lives in Christian marriage. Later, they had four children and several miscarriages.

At that time, his devotion to the Christian ideal of justice materialised through the promotion of culture centres.  By the mid-40s he met Guillermo Rovirosa and the HOAC and joined the group of converts who strengthened the organisation. Together, they launched the newspaper “Tú” (“You”), which Franco decided to ban and close down. Those militants gave back hope to an absolutely dejected and humiliated working-class. Workers’ centres, courses, informative leaflets, incursion in the vertical Union…, every means was tried to take up the torch of historical solidarity among the poor again. While PSOE started their placid holidays in exile and gave up the militant promotion in Spain, Julián was mercilessly persecuted by Franquism and was even imprisoned and put under surveillance.    

Julián Gómez del Castillo

"Love to others cannot be measured by my possibilities but by their needs."

Julián Gómez del Castillo