Agitprop and modern times

I’m not entirely sure why, I must have heard it used in the last few days, but I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about agitprop, propaganda used to agitate and generate dissent. It’s from Russian: otdel agitatsii i propagandy. The more I watch the situation in Iraq and North Korea, though, the more I feel like our government here in the U.S. is learning how to use agitprop too. The latest: Bush ‘sick and tired’ of Iraq’s failure to cooperate with U.S.

I dunno, this all feels like Bush and his team have been itching for a fight and are just waiting for some excuse. Since the inspectors have been given free and open access, and have found nothing suspicious or of concern, the latest U.S. government agitprop (if you will) is to say “that doesn’t matter. We want Iraq to meet the United Nations edicts on disarmament, and we are going to make ’em toe the line.” Our complaints against Iraq seem to just be one thing after another.

And this from an administration that have already come out and stated that “if the United Nations won’t let us go into Iraq with our miliary, we’ll do it anyway.” Consider this quote, for example: President Bush debated whether to formally declare Iraq in violation of a U.N. arms resolution that threatened war unless Saddam disarms.. Why is Bush making this decision? Isn’t that the responsibility of the United Nations itself, and our ambassador to the UN?

So isn’t this a classic double standard? Bush is “angry” because Iraq won’t follow the rule of the UN, but at the same time refused to have the UN tell him what he can or can’t do as President of the United States.

And as Americans, we just get this never-ending stream of anti-Iraqi and, now, anti-North Korea information from the government, with no substantiation. Other than hand-waving and statements of secrecy, there’s still no proof that the Iraqis have any weapons of mass destruction any more than any other nation in the region possess.

Of course, I suggest that all of this is a huge game of misdirection since we have proven ineffective in fighting al Queda, catching the evil, but nonetheless demonized Osama bin Laden, and in “defending our honor after 9/11″…

But what’s most concerning is that I believe the United Nations is a tremendous force for peace in the world, and I support their UNICEF program, for example. I believe that if the United States were more squarely behind the United Nations (things like our perpetual foot-dragging on paying our annual dues to the organization) then we could lead by example, rather than lead by having the biggest club in the cave. It’s a scary world to imagine a place where the UN has been shut down and we’re back to the global tensions that lead up to, among other things, World War I. Plus all the technological and military advances of the last century. It’s not a pretty picture.

2 comments on “Agitprop and modern times

  1. I just found this page in a search. I realize this was written awhile ago but was intrigued about this work myself when I saw it used many times referring to ‘enviro agitprop and abortion agitprop on extreme right wing pages. Thought this was interesting that they would use a russian communist concept with current societal conflict hot points. Have you researched this at all? Just curious.

    • I haven’t specifically researched this, no, but I don’t think that “agitprop” is something that only Soviet communists can use… 🙂

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