America’s False Consciousness

An essay authored by Patrick Martin, and published at the World Socialist Web Site on October 13, 2010, revealed some interesting findings regarding the approval ratings of Democratic and Republican members of Congress. Martin’s piece was titled “Demagogy and Duplicity: The Democrats in the 2010 Elections.” He cites data from a Zogby International Poll of independent voters which found that “only 13% gave a favorable rating to congressional Democrats and only 5% to Congressional Republicans.” Considering that the U.S. is the most conservative developed nation on earth, these are astonishing revelations.

Poll after poll indicates that voters have lost faith in the Democratic and Republican Parties, whose respective approval ratings have fallen to historical lows. The Zogby findings indicate a repudiation of right-wing politics by those who are not wed to either of the major political parties.

No one associates liberalism with the Republicans; however, it is equally clear that the Democrats do not have a functioning left-wing either. The electoral choices are between right-wing candidates in the Democrat and Republican parties, despite the offerings of political parties and organizations operating outside of the mainstream. As a result, all of the contests are between pro-corporate candidates who occupy the extreme right of the political spectrum. The only message that reaches the public ear is that of the ruling class. Thus the continuity of results is assured.

The paradox is that while independent working class people have overwhelmingly rejected right-wing policies, the country nevertheless continues to lurch further to the right. This happens when voters mistake politicians like Obama for a liberal or a Socialist. Conservative and liberal working class people should be philosophically and ethically opposed to any political party that undermines their social and economic interests.

Almost inexplicably, conservatives continue to identify themselves with Republicans and liberals with Democrats. Traditional conservatives and traditional liberals, while still in existence, are politically extinct. Neither conservatives nor liberals are organized into a viable political force. They are fighting one another while the super-rich are looting the public treasure and privatizing the public domain.  Traditional conservatives and traditional liberals were replaced by neoconservatives and neoliberals, which are entirely different animals. We behave as if the terms ‘conservative’ and ‘liberal’ and the parties they were traditionally associated with continue to exist and function the way they did in the past.

Liberalism no longer finds articulation in the Democratic Party. Cynthia McKinney may have been the last truly liberal Democrat. McKinney, like the liberal wing of the party itself, was abandoned when the party sold out its liberal base to pursue corporate bribes in order to compete with the Republicans. As a result, the left continues to ineffectually grope for political expression.

The trouble is that the people do not comprehend who or what the real enemy is. Let me clarify it for them: The enemy is the ruling class, its social, financial, and political institutions, and the capitalist system that spawned them. Its enemy is the corporate state and the commercial media in its various forms of expression.

It is irrational, if not delusional, for working class people to support candidates and policies to which they are philosophically opposed. And yet that is what they are doing. As recent polls make clear, neither conservatives nor progressives want to have their social security benefits cut. They do not want to see their retirement benefits reduced, or their Medicare and Medicaid payments slashed.  The unemployed do not want their unemployment checks cut or eliminated, as some Republican members of Congress advocate. Workers do not want the retirement age raised. They do not want to see college tuition priced out of reach to all but the wealthy.

The working class consists of liberals and conservatives. It encompasses the devoted followers of Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh. However, Beck, Limbaugh, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and all of the other right-wing crackpots support such policies, as do most Democrats, including President Obama. Why would any working class person, Democrat or Republican, support any of these charlatans?

Why would they support a social and economic system that exploits and subjugates them? Clearly they do not understand that system or the alternatives that are available to it.

The answer is that Americans are too indoctrinated to see clearly. The majority exists in a media-induced state of false consciousness. To them, up is down and down is up. Brown is white and white is brown. The people are confused and disoriented. They are misled and lied to. They are looking for quick and easy fixes to complex problems that were long in the making. For the reasons outlined above, voting cannot cure what ails America. The game is fixed. The appearance of choice is an illusion, an utter hoax.

Political and media demagogues portray liberals (progressives & Socialists), which continue to be miscast as democrats, as the enemy of the working class. Working people do not comprehend that the benefits they are fighting to preserve were the result of progressive policies, many of them stemming from Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. Conservatives, neoconservatives, and neoliberals have always opposed these policies and have fought to end them since the day of their inception. Let us not forget that FDR was accused by one of his adversaries of being “a traitor to his class.”

It would be a mistake, however, to confuse FDR for a genuine progressive. Certainly he was no socialist. It was his Secretary of Labor, Frances Perkins, a Democratic Socialist, not FDR, who was the principal architect of The New Deal. It should be noted, too, that The New Deal excluded most blacks. It was essentially affirmative action for whites. Spooked by the social unrest engendered by The Great Depression, FDR, an avowed capitalist, perceived these policies as the only way to save capitalism from the socialist threat of his time. Roosevelt was correct in his assessment. It would have been better for the nation in the long run if FDR did not enact The New Deal. If he had not, it is likely that massive social upheaval would have ensued, and Socialism may well have supplanted capitalism as the dominant paradigm.

Before any of my readers point out the failure of Soviet Socialism, particularly under the murderous Stalin regime, let me state that this was not Socialism as Marx, Engels, and Trotsky envisioned it; it was state capitalism.

Similarly, if President Obama did not bail out America’s financial institutions with public funds, global capitalism would have collapsed. Predicated upon greed and exploitation, these institutions should have been allowed to fail, bringing down the global capitalist economy. If Adam Smith’s much ballyhooed, ‘invisible hand of the market’ actually existed, the world today would look very different than it did a few short years ago. We might actually be in recovery. Now we are waiting for the next onslaught.

History demonstrates that free (deregulated) markets, the Holy Grail of Milton Friedman’s capitalism, do not actually exist. They never have. Free market capitalism is an ideological myth that is reified in our culture. Markets are always manipulated by elites for the sole benefit of elites. Otherwise the global economy would have fallen like a row of dominoes two years ago. What we witnessed was Socialism (public funds) propping up capitalism (privately owned financial institutions). All of the benefit, to the tune of $13.8 trillion, went to the financial institutions and to the elite. Working people were rewarded with government-imposed austerity.  This has occurred not only in the U.S. but elsewhere in the world.

The international financial aristocracy is laying the foundation for global governance. The public domain is being privatized. The poor are no longer part of the social and political discourse.

As a result of these policies, there is social turmoil in every capitalist nation on earth, except the U.S. Compared to the rest of the world, Americans are comatose, which is the result of so many people being informed by Rush Limbaugh, Fox News, and other wealthy demagogues working the airwaves on behalf of the ruling class. Most Americans are informed by ideology, not by facts.

This is what Friedrich Nietzsche meant by conviction. Reality pales before the shadow of belief and false hope. Plato’s “Allegory of the Cave” comes to mind. Fantasy becomes the norm. Capitalism would not long endure in the presence of collective true consciousness. It exists by deceit.

Charles Sullivan is a naturalist, an educator and a freelance writer residing in the hinterlands of geopolitical West Virginia. He has an academic background in Appalachian Studies. . Read other articles by Charles.

19 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Don Hawkins said on October 20th, 2010 at 7:45am #

    Capitalism would not long endure in the presence of collective true consciousness. It exists by deceit

    Charles that was a great write and to quote Plato or Nietzsche for what we now see is giving credit to nonsense. Even if we forget so called policy makers and go to the private sector the shaker’s and mover’s whatever the hell they are yes deceit and in old twenty ten not just the average person if there is such a thing but these so called elites are also comatose. They brainwashed themselves probably with the help of the system itself. American exceptional ism well come out of the cave and into the light and yes to see that much truth, reality you will get sick at first and probably throw-up but that too shall pass. It is amazing with the knowledge gained in just the last 80 years how far we still are from the truth.

  2. Don Hawkins said on October 20th, 2010 at 8:17am #

    Let’s cut the crap and say we human’s are being watched by other life that is oh two hundred thousands years further advanced. So they are on there starship watching us and heck maybe they still eat popcorn and in pure wonder am sure must say don’t these human’s see.

    The United Nations says natural resources, or natural capital, are being lost at an alarming rate and urgent steps need to be taken to combat the destruction of plant and animal species that ensure mankind’s survival.

    Envoys will hold two weeks of talks in the Japanese city of Nagoya to try to win agreement on new targets and funding to help nations save and better manage vanishing ecosystems. Reu

    I guess maybe they think some see but the system these human’s have set-up for themselves makes most not see. Now if the others happen to watch political ads here in the States I’ll bet there first thought’s are; not looking to good for the home team the home team being all life on Earth they don’t use there knowledge and work together strange these human’s.

  3. bozh said on October 20th, 2010 at 8:33am #

    US may have become most conservative region or empire in the world. The question is when. Well, as basicly a british region or empire, it became asocialistic the day europeans came to this area.

    A hundred yrs ago in all lands, greatest criminal minds ruled and fact after fact of salient nature, proves that mafiosos never change their minds.

    And posting labels such as conservatives or most conservative, liberal, democrat, republican in US, india, jordan, pa’n, et al appears as either deliberate or naive dissemination of deceit.

    What king, emperor, ceo, b’naire, prince, lord, boyar, amir, lord, baron ever changed his/her mind while not facing imminent death or a serious threat?

    As far as i know, all these sowers of disinformation-confusion, not only always avoid the truth of absolute necessity, but always demonize bolsheviks.
    So what does the label “state capitalism mean”? To me it means, in SU there was an unicorn state or state without people but rich in resources and fit for bright germans and not dull-dumb slavs.

    Isn’t it odder than an udder that these ‘teachers’ never see people in SU and now in afgh’n, iraq, palestina, or SU! But see an entity; extant only in their heads! And since that is in their heads, they refuse to list its traits.

    Then there are liberals, leftists in US, but, strangely, users of such misleading labels never tell us their characteristics.
    If one had a modicum of honesty, one wld at list credit bolsheviks for ending tsarist- boyar rule and serfdom of 99.99% of th epeople.

    bolsheviks may have killed some white russians, boyars, beks [the greatest criminals] but so wld i have had i been lenin or trotsky. And why, because SU always had been in mortal danger; totally isolated and surrounded by the greatest criminal minds.

    What possibly saved SU until ’90 was the fact that had WMD and cld have seriously hurt some europeans; thus europe was not happy with US nukng SU.

    demonizing communists and saying nary a word against greatest ever crime ever commited against all life on earth– the one of making a-bombs–proves that these people are liars and deceivers. tnx for ur Finger

  4. shabnam said on October 20th, 2010 at 10:51am #

    Why would any working class person, Democrat or Republican, support any of these charlatans? The answer is that Americans are too indoctrinated to see clearly. The majority exists in a media-induced state of false consciousness.}

    Good. The reason behind subordination of American people must be dissected to know why Americans, Black and White, are supporting the President Warmonger and his policy. Now, American blacks are supporting the US genocide abroad including Africa and in particular Sudan more than ever. It seems to me that blacks in the US are happy to have a black di*********k at the ‘white house’ although he is nothing but a Zionist stooge. Today, Black America along with white America is supporting Obama wars in Africa. American people have been supporting crimes against humanity in the horn of Africa since Clinton administration according to Oded Yinon Strategy. Black politicians like Susan Rice and Obama have let to power to make the killing more salable to ignorant Americans especially Black America. Now the picture is recurring as the Sudan is being stabbed in the back with a new dagger: a conspiracy to sever the south of the country from the north. It is no longer possible to ignore that the Obama administration is moving with suspicious insistence in its complete identification with the side of the Zionists and their offensive entity in Palestine in its war against the Arabs and the Muslims. The Obama administration gives unlimited support to this conspiracy to divide the Sudan according to the statements of Obama, his vice president and his secretary of state, as well as numerous members of Congress, both representatives and senators.

    Neither black politicians, majority of who are Zionist puppets, nor black opposition groups, have informed the public about the fact on Sudan. In fact, the black America is an engine to Zionist propaganda machine to change borders in Africa starting with partitioning Sudan through ‘referendum’ in the January 2011.
    The ‘save Darfur’ and “child slavery” both based in the US were formed by Zionist Judeofascists including Charles Jacobs, who had the helping hand of a reactionary black priest, Reverend Eugene Rivers, in Boston and Samantha Power an empire builder and a neocon from Harvard who is Obama’s advisor now. The so called black activists including Glenn Ford are silent on partition of Sudan to help their black president at the Whore house. Obama wants to divide Sudan to help the “greater Israel” project in the horn of Africa. No black or white politician including Jackson or Maxine Waters, who has become part of the Zionist camp since Obama put at the WH, have criticized Obama’s Zionist policy. Black America is as ignorant as White America who is attached to their tribal interest. No weapon is more effective than IGONORANCE where is abundant in America and no one is doing anything about it including the ‘left’ under closet Zionists hegemony
    We should not expect much from a population who listen to a charlatan like GEORGE CLOONY who meets a Zionist puppet like Obama to feed ignorant Americans, black and white, with more lies on Sudan to sell Oded Yinon plan for Sudan, anyway. The zionist media informed the ignorant public:
    {Actor and Sudan activist George Clooney visited President Obama in the Oval Office on Tuesday afternoon to discuss his recent trip to south Sudan in advance of a referendum in January on partition. Clooney called attention to the increasingly unstable relationships between the northern and southern regions.}

    People of the region, from Mauritania to Afghanistan must inform the world about Zionist plan in Sudan and all governments must work toward unity of Sudan instead of balkanization of Sudan. No one benefits except Zionists like partition of Iraq.
    The separating of Sudanese’s from its north is a matter of compelling necessity to the true interests of the Zionists who desire the existence of a “Southern Sudan” to pressure Egypt by manipulating the flow of the Nile’s waters. All facts and indicators show that “Southern Sudan” will be a Zionist-American creation meant to hold Egypt hostage to Zionist interests.

    Down with Judeofascists and their puppets, black and white. Shame on ignorant America.

  5. bozh said on October 20th, 2010 at 11:07am #

    Yes, the uncles&sons unlimited [pedro,ibrahim,hans,pierre, tom, joseph, sam] are doing just fine. How about nieces and nephews&sons? tnx

  6. Don Hawkins said on October 20th, 2010 at 12:32pm #

    And in the greatest nation on Earth;

    The answer is that Americans are too indoctrinated to see clearly. The majority exists in a media-induced state of false consciousness. To them, up is down and down is up. Brown is white and white is brown. The people are confused and disoriented. They are misled and lied to. They are looking for quick and easy fixes to complex problems that were long in the making. For the reasons outlined above, voting cannot cure what ails America. The game is fixed. The appearance of choice is an illusion, an utter hoax.

    The question does come up does America belong to hooligans, to pillagers and hoodlums? No it belongs to honest people who want to work peacefully and if you believe that I’ve got a bridge to sell you”

    The history of this expression goes back to the early 1900’s at the peak of the immigration into the US from Europe. There were lots of scams that were designed to get whatever money these people had saved to bring into the new country, and the one to sell the Brooklyn Bridge or a piece of the bridge was the most well known.

  7. Don Hawkins said on October 20th, 2010 at 1:05pm #

    Beats me why is this such a deep secret to so many people?? Oh that’s right a media-induced state of false consciousness and somehow I know things am not suppose to like the Earth is 8,000 years old climate change is a hoax, Obama listens to Mao and I listen to Fox New’s and my great great great Grandfather walked with the Dinosaurs. Yes we sure have come along way heck no more selling of the Brooklyn Bridge or a piece of the bridge no no no now we have or had MBS’s it’s just a little paper work problem.

  8. Don Hawkins said on October 20th, 2010 at 1:44pm #

    I have proof climate change is a hoax.

    Right there you see and why don’t we ever see this on the media because it’s a hoax so that’s why they never show that chart and I mean never. I got that chart from James Hansen and his group of total confused people. How do I know this because I watch Fox New’s and CNN and Glenn Beck also say’s it’s not true. Did the policy makers in the greatest nation on Earth pass a climate change bill of course not because even if it will be a problem we still have 100 years yes Russia and a few more places have been experiencing rather extreme weather but this has been going on for thousands of years will maybe millions. You see am not in a media-induced state of false consciousness and not confused or disoriented am voting Republican this November as we need to get back to our root’s no illusion with me and the perpetrators of utter hoax’s beware my friends as this hoax part is spreading through out the land stay strong and fair and balanced the truth matters and both those things can be found on Fox New’s and CNN and if you want to buy stock’s I have found CNBC to be the best place to get intelligent information. Stay strong my friends and have I got a deal for you.

  9. Rehmat said on October 20th, 2010 at 2:33pm #

    The more Israel is being isolated from the world community – the more Islamophobe and crackpots are jumping out of Zionist trenches. Rupert Murdoch is one of the top stars of those idiots.

  10. bozh said on October 20th, 2010 at 3:01pm #

    Don, yes,
    I am really a decsendant of ivan the grozni [word gruesome had the same root]. But russians do not have the name Bozhidar or even bogdan or bohdan. Bohdan is a ukrainian name.
    Of all slavs, only serbs and croats have the names bogdan and bozhidar. So, how did i get that name, being grozni’s relative?

    What we do know is that Grozni always liked russia ice cold; includes the blood he drank.
    If we had him today, he’d do anything to keep russia cold. He’d destroy all cars, yachts, TVs, jets, househeating, ships, electric knives, escalators, etc.
    But i think he’s dead??? Or still alive like presley, jesus.

    i got some very good news for u: Santa, for the first time ever, will visit this yr every shed, underpass, doorway, igloo, tent, sleeping bag, shanty and not just mansions.
    I have been nagging him for yrs to do that and he finally ‘promised’ to do that.
    But it being a political promise…..
    And now my full name and address: bozhidar balkas 116 e.39th ave vancouver bc, v5w 1J8.
    Just to show that ‘jews’ are not that mighty. danke

  11. shabnam said on October 20th, 2010 at 5:44pm #

    American people are silence against Zionist plan regarding the partition of Muslim countries to change the map of the Middle East in support of Oded Yinon Strategy for “greater Israel” is viewed as criminal. Obama, Hillary Clinton and other war criminals including Charlatan, Clooney, and Jewish lobby are pushing to partition the Sudan to weaken the Muslim countries including Egypt further and have greater control over the water and Suez Canal.

    {From the outset of its occupation, the US pursued a policy of “soft partitioning” of Iraqi society by means of the pitiful political process it set in motion through the imposition of a set of legal instruments and executive bodies designed for that purpose. There is also “hard partitioning” aimed at driving physical wedges between Iraqis in the cities and provinces through the creation of a climate of internecine conflict. The process led to hundreds of murders, the displacement of hundreds of thousands and the elimination of educated elites. It targeted the middle class, in particular, as this had been the source of the skills and talents that had formerly managed the country’s institutions. The purpose was to destroy the components of a strong unified state, and its effect was to pave the way for the proliferation and mounting ferocity of sectarian and ethnic militias.}

    In early May 2008, Joseph Biden, who was then Democratic senator for Delaware, and Leslie Gelb, honorary chairperson of the Senate’s Council on Foreign Relations, called for the partition of Iraq into three autonomous regions, one Kurdish, one Sunni and one Shia.

    All Iraqis must be on guard against US-Zionist schemes aimed at advancing the project to partition Iraq. The following offers the most relevant background information on these schemes.

    Now, Sudan after Iraq is pushed toward Oded Yinon Strategy to help “chosen people” to establish their ‘unique’ hegemony throughout the region using American military might. That’s why the Zionist fifth column needed a black face at the WH to sell the Zionist plan for the Sudan and other African countries to ignorant Americans with ease.

    Activists must work fast to inform the ignorant American public about Sudanese forced partition plan where is scheduled for January 2011.

  12. shabnam said on October 20th, 2010 at 5:45pm #

    should read “American people are silent….

  13. shabnam said on October 20th, 2010 at 7:23pm #

    House of Latin America (HOLA), an Iranian NGO in Iran, dedicated to solidarity and defense of the peoples of Latin America and the people of Iran, has initiated the following appeal to individuals and organizations world-wide to join with them in a campaign of solidarity with Iran, in light of U.S. escalating threats and continuing sanctions.

    American Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC), working closely with HOLA, calls on social justice organizations and individuals to join with them to support and strengthen this campaign.
    The people of the world cannot allow such a crime against humanity.
    Therefore, I (We) join with all who stand for justice, peace, sovereignty and self determination in raising my (our) voice to demand:
    – Lift economic sanctions against Iran.
    – Recognize the right of Iran to develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
    – Stop military threats against Iran.

  14. mary said on October 21st, 2010 at 2:40am #

    rehmat – this is an edited version of Murdoch’s speech to the ADL which the MediaLens Editors have posted, saying

    The war against the Jews”: His Master’s Voice
    Posted by The Editors on October 21, 2010, 9:02 am

    Be sure that Murdoch editors and journalists will take their cue on the correct stance to take towards Israel from these remarks in a recent speech.

  15. jayn0t said on October 21st, 2010 at 7:34am # – thanks for this link, Mary.

    This article by Rupert Murdoch has value. It clearly illustrates the link between paranoia about anti-semitism and support for Israel’s policy of ethnic cleansing. You might think Murdoch, an Australian newspaper magnate, would be able to dismiss the hysterical claim that criticism of Israel is a ‘war against the Jews’. Unlike politicians, who are subject to Lobbying, you would expect Murdoch to be able to honestly appraise Israel’s value to the rest of Western capitalism.

    Another valuable feature of Murdoch’s homage to Zionism is it shows how too much anti-fascism leads to Islamophobia – ‘some of the most egregious attacks on Jewish people, Jewish symbols, and Jewish houses of worship have come from the Muslim population’. Not ‘some Muslims’ – ‘the Muslim population’. Imagine if we said children in the Middle East are being murdered by the Jewish population!

  16. Don Hawkins said on October 21st, 2010 at 4:37pm #

    Well about 250 million raised for the last two week’s of this great election here in the States. Secret downers well not that secret like Wall Street in general fat cat’s you know hedge funds and the like. You would think the time energy money could go to a more just cause but I guess filling people’s heads with crap, nonsense, illusion a kind of media-induced state of false consciousness to keep people confused and disoriented is the big vision. Karl Rove I guess is leading the charge with the help of Fox New’s. I sometimes wonder how these people balance these different world’s they live in got to make you nut’s maybe mad is a better word.

  17. Don Hawkins said on October 22nd, 2010 at 6:12am #

    Sent this to the greatest minds in human history this morning.

    Maybe you will understand this,

    This summer in Russia so that was a 16,000 year event was it might want to rethink that one. From the best I can understand the people in Russia are less indoctrinated that the people here in the States. In Russia they are going to play hell not growing crops but planting crops and will it get better well no. Why is the North warmer first and the people in Russia at the kitchen table the talk is it the same as in the States?


  18. Don Hawkins said on October 22nd, 2010 at 6:32am #


    Remember that invisible wall we all seem to live with well it’s still with us. You would think the time energy money could go to a more just cause but I guess filling people’s heads with crap, nonsense, illusion a kind of media-induced state of false consciousness to keep people confused and disoriented is the big vision. Now in History is this uncommon no is is the norm and this time we do have the knowledge sort of but so far we are not using it. Let’s just look at these great elections is this knowledge or the big plan so far for climate change it’s a hoax is it. Would you call that using knowledge reason? Is there a plan for maybe a few human’s well let’s remember the other life on Earth and passed a point going on TV and talking crap will take on a whole new meaning at least for a few years after that point. Now wait one little minute here what these people say and what I see with my own eye’s something is wrong very wrong indeed.


    Read DV Mr. President as very sure Beck does and probably his dear leader/boss.

  19. hayate said on October 22nd, 2010 at 9:06am #

    Good article.