Trigger words and duty of revolutionaries in the Internet age ›Cuba› Granma

Photo: Granny

In biology class I can’t remember whether it was in middle school or high school, we learned conditioned reflexes based on the work of Russian scientist and Nobel Prize winner in medicine, Ivan Pavlov. I think his experience is fairly well known: he would throw a metronome before feeding his dog, and observe that when the dog had not been fed for a while and heard the sound, he would start salivating. Later, the legend developed that Pavlov used a bell and not a metronome, but the principle is the same – the induced association between certain stimuli and a subsequent response. Based on this, behavioral psychology has been applied in education, advertising, and many other fields in the United States.

In his famous interview with Ignacio Ramonet, Fidel refers to the use of this technique in anti-communist propaganda: socialism is bad, they take away your parental rights, they take away your house, they take away your wife. “And the ignorant, the illiterate, the poor, the exploited repeat: socialism is bad, socialism is bad. This is how parrots are taught to talk, bears to dance and lions to bow down with respect. . “

Noam Chomsky includes the effect of anti-Communist propaganda among the five filters that determine media content. He and Fidel were referring to the situation that prevailed before the advent of Internet social networks, which, while it certainly democratized access to communication, also reinforced pre-existing hegemonies.

In a scenario where processes move at high speed, the emotional tends to trump the rational, and what is called egomation – the promotion and dominance of the individual, as well as the related information. to what is relevant or relevant to that person – prevails over interest in dialogue, deepening and knowing others. Regardless of the politically motivated use of internet social networks, networks like Facebook have consolidated a business model based on profiting from egomania and selling influence over individuals and groups. In the case of Cuba, this universal reality is compounded by the impact of an annual budget of half a million dollars provided by the US government to influence our society.

Anti-Communist propaganda, historically promoted around the world by the dominant discourse and the manipulated use of terms like “democracy”, “human rights” and “freedom”, has broadened its repertoire with the construction of certain expressions on the Cuban reality which, based on an image developed in this isolated hamlet of intolerance that is Miami, are transferred to the Internet as a common knowledge of the island. Situations that arose more than four decades ago, rarely analyzed in depth between us – UMAP, “the five gray years”, repudiation of those who emigrated from Mariel – have been taken out of context and presented as permanent, systemic characteristics, current trends of Cuban socialism. , while everything that capitalism around us does on a daily basis in terms of repression, censorship, violence, torture and exclusion against majorities and minorities remains unheard of.

The use, without any proof, of the words of censorship or repression, or of the expression “act of repudiation”, is enough to bypass the need to provide data and arguments, or to analyze the events cited, before that a series of posts are immediately triggered in which three indignant sentences written by someone on a Facebook profile turn the world upside down. And when arguments and data refuting hastily drawn conclusions emerge, two things happen. The indignant continues to cling to his “truth” as one who insists that the earth is flat, and the machinery that breeds that outrage attacks those who bring a more analytical view. This is how freedom of expression in Cuba works on the Internet.

In just a few short months we have seen this procedure used to justify sprays of pig’s blood on the busts of José Martí, various desecrations of the Cuban flag, attempts to redefine the importance of historical dates like November 27, manipulating the meaning of “Homeland or Death” and change the name of Plaza de la Revolución on Google maps. But if you say that a cultural war against Cuba is being waged on digital social networks, then – according to the trigger mechanisms of reflexes conditioned by the propaganda of thousands of people on Facebook – you are an extremist, a tropical Stalinist who does not tolerate “differently”, because, of course, their claims are “thought”, not propaganda. And do not be surprised if unfortunately you find among the subscribers to these statements individuals whom you consider to be critical, intelligent and knowledgeable. The capacity to think has been replaced by a reaction emotional and anything can happen. The trigger words have done their job and the intellectual task of establishing the truth is no longer important, in the age of egomania what is relevant is getting “likes”, even if many of them come from trolls with fake profiles; your ego is fondled and your brain will be content with not having to put in the effort.

For our part, in addition to continuing to promote a complete and in-depth education to train critical citizens, not manipulable by the professionals who manage this hybrid war, it is important to understand that the scenario has radically changed. The endless stream of provocations that seek to create a situation of ungovernability, taking advantage of the technological and media superiority that imperialism makes available to its handful of minions in Cuba – even attempting to unleash violence and death – cannot to be unmasked only by a response based on intelligence, political awareness and analysis, to avoid falling into the traps they set, and, while continuing to firmly defend our principles, to be ready, across the country, to foresee the course of all possible actions, to document and disseminate the true version and the cause of events, and to always insist on the fact that ethics, reason and our people are on the side of the Revolution. Let us do so in this “thousand piece chess game”, as Fidel liked to call the ideological struggle, which is now moving, in part, to the Internet, where the Cuban people will triumph again.

Thelma J. Longworth

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