|Posted by Roar of the Bewildered Herd on February 16, 2011 at 7:50 PM|
When you hear the word STRIKE, what comes to mind? Is it a picture of Jimmy Hoffa and the Teamsters? Is it a group of Coal Miners with signs, picketing in front of their company? Perhaps you might picture the 1994-1995 Major League Baseball strike? Whatever the image is, more frequently than not, a negative connotation comes with the word STRIKE. Even the word UNION tends to be viewed wearily among much of the public, particularly through mainstream media. Why do you suppose that is? Why was the ‘union’ to blame for almost destroying America’s car manufacturers just a few years ago? Since the turn of the century, the business community has vilified workers’ unions? Except, isn’t a labor union supposed to be an example of a true Democracy? Then why would the business community aim to destroy the image of unions?
How many films have depicted the union as a positive force that represents the people in a positive way? Films like On the Waterfront, Salt of the Earth, Blue Collar, Silkwood, Hoffa, and October Sky depict the union as an evil entity out to take advantage of the everyday worker. Even the recent documentary, Waiting for Superman, about the ills of the public school system, places blame on the teachers’ unions preventing the privatization of the public school system in the United States. However, in reality it seems that it is the companies themselves that are out to take advantage of the worker and the only important goal is to increase profits. What company have you heard of that puts people before profits? What Board of Director is more concerned with the workers than with the fiscal quarterly earnings? If you can think of more than a handful in our corporate driven economy, please let us know. In the meantime, let us explore the scientific method used by the business community to demonize that which threatens their control over the population of workers.
Alex Carey discusses this precise idea in his book, Taking the Risk Out of Democracy. He refers to NAM, National Association of Manufacturers, as using a formula in 1934 called the Mohawk Valley formula, which was created by James Rand of the Remington Rand Corporation. It was written in pamphlet form and it described how a company can use certain techniques to break any strike, threat of a strike or union disturbance. According to the Labor Relations Bulletin of the National Association of Manufacturers, and later outlined by Benjamin Stolberg in the Nation on August 14, 1937, elements of the techniques mentioned are:
1. When a strike is threatened, label the union leaders as "agitators" to discredit them with the public and their own followers. Conduct balloting under the foremen to ascertain the strength of the union and to make possible misrepresentation of the strikers as a small minority. Exert economic pressure through threats to move the plant, align bankers, real estate owners and businessmen into a ‘Citizens' Committee’.
2. Raise high the banner of "law and order", thereby causing the community to mass legal and police weapons against imagined violence and to forget that employees have equal rights with others in the community.
3. Call a "mass meeting" to coordinate public sentiment against the strike and strengthen the Citizens' Committee.
4. Form a large police force to intimidate the strikers and exert a psychological effect. Utilize local police, state police, vigilantes and special deputies chosen, if possible, from other neighborhoods.
5. Convince the strikers their cause is hopeless with a "back-to-work" movement by a puppet association of so-called "loyal employees" secretly organized by the employer.
6. When enough applications are on hand, set a date for opening the plant by having such
opening requested by the puppet "back-to-work" association.
7. Stage the "opening" theatrically by throwing open the gates and having the employees march in a mass protected by squads of armed police so as to dramatize and exaggerate the opening and heighten the demoralizing effect.
8. Demoralize the strikers with a continuing show of force. If necessary, turn the locality into a warlike camp and barricade it from the outside world.
9. Close the publicity barrage on the theme that the plant is in full operation and the strikers are merely a minority attempting to interfere with the right to work. With this, the campaign is over — the employer has broken the strike.
The remarks seem similar to the techniques used by a government to stop a coup d'état or a local sheriff to shut down a civil rights movement or break up a G8 summit demonstration. Can we see any of these techniques used today? How similar is the Mohawk Valley formula to the seven basic propaganda devices created by the Institute of Propaganda Analysis (IPA) in 1937?
If a correlation of technique to persuade is found between the Creel Commission in 1917, The Mohawk Valley Formula in 1934, The Institute of Propaganda Analysis in 1937 and the creation of Mass Communication Studies in the 1940’s, then perhaps a better understanding of Democracy, Corporate Power and Corporate Propaganda with its seamless interconnectivity to persuasion can be exposed and perhaps be more transparent.