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Bob Avakian on the “Propaganda Machinery of the Capitalist-Imperialist Ruling Class”

Editors’ note: This excerpt is from a talk by Bob Avakian, Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution. This talk was given in 2018, at a time when the Trump-Pence fascist regime was in power, but it remains relevant—in some ways, even more relevant—today. The film of the speech (in 2 parts) is available here, and the text version is here.

And then there are the ruling class “news media.” There are media, like Fox (I can hardly say it) “News,” that represent the fascist section of the ruling class—which aims to impose undisguised capitalist dictatorship without the rule of law, with open hostility toward other sections of the ruling class itself, that these fascists regard as enemies, and vicious repression against immigrants, Black people, Muslims, women, and LGBT people—all those whose degradation and criminalization is essential for the fascist program of “making America great again.” Lying, systematically distorting reality, is a function and mission of these media. On the other hand, there is the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, MSNBC, and so on, which represent the “mainstream” section of the ruling class that advocates governing “norms” and “democratic principles and procedures” that actually embody and facilitate capitalist dictatorship but at the same time disguise this dictatorship. These “mainstream” media tell some of the truth, some of the time—when it serves their sense of ruling class interests—and they lie and distort a lot of the time, whenever they see that as serving those interests.

The differences and conflicts between these different sections of the ruling class have been sharpened with the ascendancy of the fascist Trump/Pence regime. But, even with these differences, they all represent the same system of capitalism-imperialism, and specifically the U.S. empire of exploitation. And, as I wrote in THE NEW COMMUNISM, these media “are not vehicles for providing people information about important things in society and the world—and they are certainly not ‘objective,’ if that means presenting reality as it actually is, nor are they a ‘free press,’ in the sense of not being beholden to and controlled by powerful interests. They are in fact the propaganda machinery of the capitalist-imperialist ruling class.”

All these representatives of this system claim to speak in the name of the people and insist that what they are doing, and how this system operates, is in accordance with “the will of the people.” Yes, the “will of the people”—exactly as it has been shaped by this system!—by the nature and dynamics of the economic relations and the social relations, and by the influence of the political system and the dominant culture which serve to reinforce those economic and social relations.