Overcoming the Divide and Conquer Strategy

The Economic Elite vs. the People of the USA: Part V

The conflicting propaganda of opposing parties is essentially what leads to political abstention. But this is not the abstention of the free spirit which asserts itself; it is the result of resignation, the external symptom of a series of inhibitions. Such a man has not decided to abstain; under diverse pressures, subjected to shocks and distortions, he can no longer (even if he wanted to) perform a political act. What is even more serious is that this inhibition not only is political, but also progressively takes over the whole of his being and leads to a general attitude of surrender.

— Jacques Ellul, Propaganda: The Formation of Men’s Attitudes

The primary reason why the Economic Elite have gained such dominance is their commitment to psychological operations that divide-and-conquer the US public. They use their overwhelming influence over mainstream media outlets and political candidates in very clever ways to divide us.

It is known among political scientists that powerful forces always seek to gain control of pre-existing social and political institutions so they can usurp their powers. The Economic Elite gained control of both the Democratic and Republican political parties because they knew that hardworking Americans loyally followed these parties, and we believed these parties were looking out for our best interests. We have, for the most part, been lifelong Republicans or lifelong Democrats, but until we see that our favored party has been seized by power and greed addicted interests, we will all continue to lose. These are extremely hard truths to face, but until we face them, we will continue our decline.

With half the US population loyal to Democrats and the other half loyal to Republicans, gaining control of both these parties meant total control for them. The past decade is testament to their total control of both parties.

In manufactured public opinion, Obama represented a far left swing in US politics, and Bush represented a far right swing, and these two supposed polar opposites also had a Congress overwhelmingly run by members of their own party. Did we get drastically different policies? In what matters most, in both cases, the results were the same: more money and power for the Economic Elite and the continued decline of the US middle class. This fact is now undeniable.

Yes, there are definite differences in their rhetoric and on some social issues, but this is the key to the psychological operations, to the divide-and-conquer strategy that they use so effectively.

To distract and divide us, they use rhetoric on social issues like religion, gay marriage, abortion, etc., all serious and significant issues that we bitterly disagree on, but in the overall picture, these issues are secondary to the larger, more fundamental political and economic issues that lead to our wealth being stolen from us, and ultimately, our lives being increasingly dominated by a small few.

Bush appealed to conservative Republicans and then ran up the deficit to record levels. Obama appealed to liberal Democrats, but increased war spending and support for Wall Street billionaires. In both cases, the candidates severely divided the US middle class, but in the policy decisions that mattered most, they both sided with the economic top one percent at the expense of hardworking Americans.

Just look at the last few election cycles. In 2006 and 2008 US citizens rose up in record-breaking numbers to kick out the Republicans in power, whom they felt had betrayed them. Now, with the Democrats in power, the consensus seems to be that in the 2010 mid-term elections we will vote for Republicans and kick out the Democrats who have failed to deliver on the much needed and promised changes.

Do you not see the ridiculous nature of this divide-and-conquer strategy? This is a vicious cycle that will continue to lead to our destruction.

Psychological Operations 101: Obama Vs. Fox News

For those of us who are strong enough to see beyond our propaganda-induced preconceptions and prejudices, the insidious nature of the Economic Elite’s divide-and-conquer strategy is on full display in the feud between Obama and Fox News. About half of the country loves Obama and hates Fox News, and the other half loves Fox News but hates Obama. They both use very effective propaganda to seduce their followers. However, as hard as it is for people who love one of them to admit, they both serve the same masters.

Once again, let’s look at Goldman Sachs. They financed Obama’s campaign and he has rewarded them with policies that have led to them making record-breaking profits, instead of investigating them for the many illegal activities they participated in and continue to take part in.

On the other side of this psychological operation, you have Fox News. When was the last time you saw Fox News doing an investigation into the illegal practices of Goldman Sachs? Even the Obama-appointed Tim Geithner, the Economic Elite’s main man on the economy, escapes the significant focus of Fox News’ powerful attack force.

Looking at the Business Roundtable, a significant majority of Obama’s campaign funding came from Roundtable members and, as mentioned earlier, he frequently meets with Roundtable members. On the other hand, Fox News is owned by Roundtable member Rupert Murdoch, and Fox relies heavily on advertising money from Roundtable members. Rupert Murdoch even supported Obama over McCain. As someone who monitors Fox News, I can’t recall the last time I heard Fox reporting on the activities of the Business Roundtable, not that any mainstream “news” companies do.

The list of similarities between the two, when it comes to exposing and holding the Economic Elite accountable, is extensive. So here you have an excellent divide-and-conquer psychological operation. Fox News declares Obama the enemy, and Obama declares Fox the enemy, yet the Economic Elite remain in the shadows, behind the scenes, untouched and continuing their plunder.

Just think of all the misplaced outraged spent on these two puppets. Sure, people have many reasons to like and dislike both, but imagine if all the diehard Obama-haters focused their rage on the people who put Obama in power, and if the diehard Fox-haters stopped criticizing everything Fox says and focused on the Economic Elite who control the media environment in which Fox News operates.

If the Fox-haters and the Obama-haters united and focused their combined outrage on the common forces behind the both of them, we would all be much better off.

The most significant bias in the mainstream media is not the liberal or conservative views propagated to divide, distract, confuse and create apathy among the populace; the ultimate bias is in what is missing from the coverage. The investigative reporting on the most powerful forces within our society is left out of the discussion.

McClatchy, one of the few real journalism news organizations, has repeatedly reported on the illegal activities of Goldman Sachs and the crime syndicate they operate in. Yet, an overwhelming majority of mainstream news outlets ignore these reports and nothing is done to hold Goldman Sachs accountable. In fact, two of the leading figures in the outright theft of our money have recently been lauded in their propaganda press. When you see Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke become the Person of the Year in Time Magazine and Goldman Sachs CEO Llyod Blankfein become the Financial Times Man of the Year, you begin to see where the real media bias lies.

The main bias is in favor of the thieves who stole our country and economy, and own the mainstream media companies. The omni-present mainstream media is the greatest weapon of oppression humanity has ever known.

Although the Internet has had an impact, television news is still by far the most influential news medium. Despite all the new information platforms, this year we have set a new record by watching an average of four hours and 49 minutes of TV per day. We have been subjected to heavy doses of propaganda on a daily basis, for hours a day, every day of our lives.

The mainstream media creates what is known in mass psychology as the “spectrum of thinkable thought.” By constantly discussing and debating surface issues, they limit the range of debate. Having the Republican vs. Democrat paradigm leads us to never debating the underlying Economic Elite who control both of the parties, not to mention their ownership of the media platform on which this debate is taking shape. The more important underlying issues are never discussed, and therefore never enter public consciousness.

The censorship that is most prevalent today is the most dangerous form. Not the censorship of explicit words, sex, or violence, but the censorship of any thoughts outside of elite corporate ideology. Any debate that leads to critical thought on prevailing elite economic dominance is not allowed to enter into the mass media or mainstream public consciousness.

We must conclude that a changeover is imminent and ineluctable in the co-opted caste who serve the interests of domination, and above all manage the protection of that domination. In such an affair, innovation will surely not be displayed [in the mainstream media]. It appears instead like lightning, which we know only when it strikes.

— Guy Debord, Comments on the Society of the Spectacle

Part VI: “How to Fight Back and Win: Common Ground Issues That Must Be Won” will be posted on Thursday.

  • Read Part I, II, III, and IV.
  • David DeGraw writes for AmpedStatus. Read other articles by David, or visit David's website.

    14 comments on this article so far ...

    Comments RSS feed

    1. bozh said on February 24th, 2010 at 10:58am #

      On all major issues, the two wings of one goose are strongly united. The structure is similar to most parties: there is a Left, Middle, and the Right.
      However, in US the politcial Left is just a tad right of mussolini and the other two factions somewhere smack in the middle of mussolini-hitler position.

      Judging by the fact that 98% of americans have just voted for such a structure, one concludes that they evaluate as true that US is governed by a two party system.
      I don’t know of any european land that has just one party. It seems there are often even 3, 4, 5 +parties running for elections.

      It wld be a bit odd that the US plutos wld promote a two party system of rule. Why wld they be that stupid?
      In my house, too, there is only one party and one law while i subtly let my wife think we have two sides to every story.

      So, like the song goes: It is my party, and i can do as i like! eat your hearts out all u hobos, house people, old and incapicitated, soldiers, et al.

    2. dan e said on February 24th, 2010 at 3:03pm #

      Again, all this is fine, as far as it goes. But I’m still waiting to read how the Zionist Entity & the Zionist Power Config. in the US fit into this analysis. What does Mr DeGraw think about Walt/Mearsheimer? About Jas Petras’ 14 point open challenge to Noam Chomsky contained in Petras’ book “The Power of Israel in the US”? About Jeff Blankfort’s 2003 article in Left Curve, or his and Hatem Bazian’s demolition of Chomsky disciple S. Zunes in the U of SF debate?

    3. DLW said on February 24th, 2010 at 3:05pm #

      The answer is actually simpler.
      “Strategic election reform”. (google it.)

      Let’s subvert rivalry by advocating for the use of both winner-take-all and winner-doesn’t-take-all elections, with the latter more in use in more local elections and the open primaries of winner-take-all elections.

      This enables us to move from the status quo, without presuming that we need to have common ground on a whole bunch of issues, which we don’t necessarily have…. And this can be advocated for by single-issue candidacies for gov’r or state-wide campaigns that succeed in foisting the issue upon voters.

      It is not true that giving voters more options changes the dynamics of elections, but a change in the mix of elections, with more options in more local elections could very well have a significant trickle-up effect to make the competition between the two major parties more real. And even if the above is “true”, most folks don’t see things that way and it’s gonna be hard to change that, but strategic election reform doesn’t require that we change their views first.


    4. lichen said on February 24th, 2010 at 4:07pm #

      What we need is large, wide-scale electoral reform not just “strategic” ones, such as: proportional representation in congress, full public funding of elections with no advertising allowed, a requirement for the big media outlets to give all candidates equal time consideration and respect, elections and primaries being short and held on a national holiday, every citizen being automatically registered to vote and regardless of criminal record, instant runoff voting, paper ballots only, and most of all, strong direct decentralized participatory democracy with the power trickling up.

      A movement to do this can unite lots of people with different ideals through proposing major systemic change as opposed to trying to work within the system.

    5. Don Hawkins said on February 25th, 2010 at 4:43am #

      David the President talked yesterday to the business roundtable and I saw only apart of it on CNBC as they cut him off when he got to the good part. The rest of msm no. The system stock market free market Capitalism it does appear will be kept until it just falls apart I know to simple.

    6. Don Hawkins said on February 25th, 2010 at 5:39am #

      It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:  when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.  ~Charles Dickens

      Spring party time

    7. Don Hawkins said on February 25th, 2010 at 6:28am #


      Yes Spring is here and like Wall Street or our policy makers party time anybody know where to get free lunch? The soup of the day everyday high on the hill is chichen soup. The bonuses on Wall Street or for that matter the way the money is made well it’s just better that way. It appears this summer record ice melt in the Arctic and the other end of Earth we will see with our own eye’s. The big summit today on the hill health care and the wisdom and knowledge working together should be amazing to see as strangeness spreads through out the land.

    8. Deadbeat said on February 25th, 2010 at 11:51am #

      The author’s set up gives readers the impression that this all began with Bush and Obama. He totally misses greatest influence of divide and conquer in the U.S. — Race — even more so than class. The “Southern Strategy” was the reaction from the white working class to the Civil Rights movement which led to all the other social movement in the 1960’s. The Southern Strategy was the brainchild of Kevin Phillips and implemented during Richard Nixon’s 1968 successful presidential campaign.

      Reagan also came in on the back of racism. He inaugurated his campaign in Philadelphia, MS to send a message to his base. Racism is the great chasm in the U.S. and it is telling that the author totally ignore it. In addition the Author fails to analyze Zionism and its Divide and Conquer strategy especially on the Left. Zionism also effects racial politics in the U.S. as well since it uses diversion and racism to maintain a schism on Left.

      Until we have an acknowledgment of both White Supremacy and Zionism and its effects on the political economy I doubt there is going to be any real way to build solidarity among the citizenry by resisting the divide and conquer tactics.

    9. bozh said on February 25th, 2010 at 2:13pm #

      Deadbeat, u’r right!
      Racism is a huge factor in helping ‘elite’ to rule america. Discrimination is, as always before, a big factor in assisting the minority [mostly whites it seems; with a few darkies] to keep on ruling US.

      But most blacks suffer from double whammy; racism and discrimination. And while discrimination may be chafing in varying degrees, racism may devastate a person to the degree that a given individual debases self to the degree to neglect own children, turn to crime, beat wives, or even murder.

      Yet whites, at least in my experience, steal, rob deceive, murder, etc., just like other races.
      In any case study of this matter is eschewed for obvious reasons because the truth might be unpalatable; especially to ‘eliete’ [read please the biggest criminal minds].
      Diviseveness is not, i think, a spontanious event. I think it is nurtured because divisions among different races and ethnic groups makes ruling much fun and profit. tnx.

    10. DLW said on February 25th, 2010 at 5:11pm #

      To Lichen,

      I wrote above that we needed Strategic Election Reform and described it briefly as the use of both winner-take-all and winner-doesn’t-take-all elections in our political system. Here is what I mean more specifically.

      Lichen responded:What we need is large, wide-scale electoral reform not just “strategic” ones, such as: proportional representation in congress, full public funding of elections with no advertising allowed, a requirement for the big media outlets to give all candidates equal time consideration and respect, elections and primaries being short and held on a national holiday, every citizen being automatically registered to vote and regardless of criminal record, instant runoff voting, paper ballots only, and most of all, strong direct decentralized participatory democracy with the power trickling up.

      dlw: It’s harder to change US congressional elections than state legislative elections. We can have many campaigns for state legislative elections and only some of them need to succeed for momentum to continue to grow. Also, systemic changes in state legislative elections, which are not very competitive right now will spill over to make other elections more competitive.

      Full funding of US elections is both expensive and hard to enforce and the enforcement would be done by those who were supposed to be curtailed by the restriction.

      Ruling out advertisments again just prior to campaigns would be good, as would equal time/respect for “all (most) candidates equal time consideration and respect” and most of what you listed, but you’re reaching for the sun, and doing so isn’t going to expedite reform.

      We need to take our limited political capital seriously!!!
      That means getting to the root of the problem, which is that our system’s nearly complete usage of winner-take-all elections makes it so that the inter-party rivalry is so intense that the system either tilts to one party rule or there is extreme party ugliness as both parties compete for the rents associated with being in power.

      But the answer is not to switch to winner-doesn’t-take-all elections. It is to improve the mix of the two basic types of elections. If we use winner-doesn’t-take-all elections more so in more local elections and winner-take-all elections more so in less local elections then we’ll tend to have two major parties, but neither will ever dominate and there’ll be a lot more real substantial competition between the two major parties.

      And the main reason for that is that we’ll have more encouragement for a host of local third parties that specialize in contesting local elections and otherwise engaging in civil issue advocacy that moves rather than tries to capture the political center.

      And that ought to also include a good amount of the other election reforms that you listed….

    11. lichen said on February 25th, 2010 at 5:28pm #

      No, actually, full public funding of elections is not too expensive, and it works very well in many countries. After all, we can decide we want cheap, short elections as they have in for instance Holland, where there is just some general information and exposes posted a few weeks beforehand. Especially considering the recent supreme court judgment, it is very clear that no amount of reform will ever make it anywhere while corporations are still allowed to buy candidates. The amount of people that would like real election reforms to bring actual democracy to the US is very wide, and together will have a great deal of political capital, so no, it is not “unrealistic” to demand the radical changes that we need, and that is what I will continue to do.

    12. Don Hawkins said on February 26th, 2010 at 3:56am #

      We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive. (Albert Einstein, 1954)

      A substantially new manner of thinking and so far it’s a substantially old manner of thinking it’s just better that way it’s the way it’s always been done. The Health care summit yesterday the President didn’t come out and say it but said yes it has to be payed for; a pay cut spread that wealth baby and on the other side the look’s was very telling. A SUBSTANTIALLY new manner of thinking not yet still far far away. I wonder what Albert might say if he could see the great wisdom and knowledge in twenty ten?

    13. kalidas said on February 26th, 2010 at 8:52am #

      “Whoever undertakes to set himself up as a judge of Truth and Knowledge is shipwrecked by the laughter of the gods.”
      -Albert Einstein

    14. DLW said on February 26th, 2010 at 9:40pm #

      the problem is the scope of potential reforms are wide and the potential for disagreements are large and yes, there is institutional resistance to change.

      But I don’t believe that $peech is going to prevent all reforms. One can accommodate $peech while advocating for strategic election reform.

      As for the NL, I’m skeptical that there’s no in-kind sort of exchanges going on out of the public purview. I’d rather just have it public, which doesn’t mean I don’t want shorter elections and checks against $peech.

      My view is that all recent attempts to root $peech from the system have failed miserably and possibly subverted intra-party discipline, which is needed in part, inasmuch as ideology isn’t so reliable of a bond for larger parties and we are not going to exorcise the need for larger parties or winner-take-all elections.