Thursday, November 10, 2016

A brief analysis of propaganda

1- Propaganda means agitation. Elaborating upon Lenin's pamphlet What Is To Be Done? Marxist Georgy Plekhanov defines propaganda as the reasoned use of historical and scientific arguments to indoctrinate the educated and enlightened. He defined agitation as the use of slogans, parables, and half-truths to exploit the grievances of the uneducated and the unreasonable. He regarded both strategies as absolutely essential to political victory and twinned them in the term agitprop.
2- This is how Joseph Goebbels (Hitler's minister of Propaganda) puts it:
Political propaganda in principle is active and revolutionary. It is aimed at the broad masses. It speaks the language of the people because it wants to be understood by the people. Its task is the highest creative art of putting sometimes complicated events and facts in a way simple enough to be understood by the man on the street. 
3- Propaganda tries to manipulate people's beliefs, attitudes, or actions by means of symbols: Words, gestures, banners, monuments, music, clothing, insignia, hairstyles, designs on coins and postage stamps, and so forth.
4- Contemporary propaganda employs elaborate social-scientific research facilities to conduct opinion surveys and psychological interviews in efforts to learn the symbolic meanings of given signs. Written media include letters, handbills, posters, billboards, newspapers, magazines, books, and handwriting on walls and streets. Among audiovisual media, TV is the most powerful.