By Rady Ananda
In the new film, Psywar (2010, 99 mins), Scott Noble explores US propaganda and psychological operations, presenting an “elitist theory of democracy.” This is a decent presentation of the history and effectiveness of psyops juxtaposed with the idea that without economic equality there can never be political equality.
The solution offered – to study propaganda – is the film’s weakness. Propaganda should also be addressed with exposure and with fact; counter propaganda should also be employed. Infowarriors would love to learn techniques to counter the killing machine sweeping the planet.
Nor does the film spend much time on the mass marketing of Obama, although it does mention that political races are marketing campaigns.
The subtheme of Psywar exposes the ongoing class war, and this is the film’s most potent effect. Raising the Ludlow Massacre of 1913, Howard Zinn reveals how laborers resisted their economic oppression, resulting in armed forces shooting and burning the campsite of miners and their families in Colorado. But Psywar doesn’t discuss modern economic warfare — like the massive bank bailouts under Bush and Obama, and how corporate media tried to manage the public’s perceptions. Certainly those bailouts represent the pinnacle of modern day class war. Instead, Noble shows psyops as being focused on promoting war, a theme with which we are all familiar.
Since Metanoia Films promises this is but one of a series of films, perhaps the next one will focus on modern economic warfare and its marketing, while offering practical solutions. A film about the ongoing ecocide in the Gulf of Mexico and how government agencies and corporate media spin this, countered with scientific and local observations would be a daring and highly popular film to many of us. An industry is systematically destroying the livelihood of milliions of people, while causing an extinction level event — here, and in Nigeria, Ireland, Ecuador … anywhere they extract oil and other natural resources. Yet local, state and federal governments are protecting the perpetrators, while corporate media serves as their echo chamber.
Psywar doesn’t raise new information, and it seems to have been completed in 2008, with some later segments added. Still, it’s a good introductory piece to the idea of managing public perceptions.