By Kevin Zeese
Sep 26, 2011
Shifting Power from Corporate Interests Requires us to be Expand Our Media Power
We have the power to be the media, to spread the word and tell vast networks of people the truth. Media is being democratized and we can speed that process by recognizing we are the media. When you come to Freedom Plaza in October one of your roles will be to be the media.
On Tuesday, October 13th the October2011 movement and the Coffee Party held a session at Bus Boys and Poets in Washington, DC about shifting power to the people away from concentrated corporate interests. One of the critical power structures holding up the corporate-dominated media and crony capitalist economy is the traditional media owned by six corporations. This corporate media has rapidly decreasing credibility with the American public creating an opportunity for new media to fill a void. As the people’s media grows, the corporate media will have even less credibility, not only because our message will provide a more complete story, but because the corporate media is caught in a cycle of dependence on big business dollars resulting in more corporate control over their content. We have the power – right now – to overcome the corporate media dominance of the message and democratize the media.
Think of the networks of people you know – friends, families, professional associates – and all of the outlets where you can get out a message – social networks like Facebook, twitter, blogs, email lists. There is no doubt that the thousands of people who will read this article and the thousands more who will be in Freedom Plaza this October have the ability to reach millions of people – literally millions.
If we act with intention, the intention to get our message out, we can have a dramatic impact on the information Americans (and others around the world) receive. Typically the cable news networks have viewers in the hundreds of thousands, a few shows have slightly over a million and a few shows are under 100,000. The same is true for the circulation of the largest newspapers in the United States. We can achieve greater level of viewers and readers right now – if we intend to.
Intention means building your network and sending messages to it. People need to learn to use social networks as tools, build their email data base, start a blog or website . . . act intentionally to become the media. You can be a reporter that sends information to other media outlets but you can also be a media outlet yourself. Then, we need to act in a unified way. If you support the goals of the October2011 movement, the goals of ending corporatism and militarism, then whenever you see something on the October2011.org site that is a good message, share it widely.
We also need to learn how to communicate in persuasive ways. Short messages are important, not only to fit into a 140 character tweet, but also to sharpen focus in a persuasive way. Short, punchy messages are also important so you can write a headline, or a subject line for an email, in ways that get people interested, get them to read the full article or open the email. We must all work to sharpen our message.
If you are in government or in big business and are sick of the corruption you see there are various avenues for you to become an anonymous source to the media. Of course, Wikileaks is the most famous of these outlets. But there are others. One outlet developed by journalism students in New York is Local Leaks, which will send materials to thousands of U.S. media outlets. You can leak documents to these outlets in total safety as the outlets will not even know who you are. If you see corruption, weigh heavily the truth that silence is complicity and realize you have the power to safely expose corruption. This is all part of the democratization of media, a reality that is growing tremendously every day.
If you are part of the October2011.org movement, and plan to join us at Freedom Plaza, come prepared to spread the word. Bring your cell phones to take pictures and make videos. Be prepared to write a daily report to your networks. Plan to write to your local traditional news outlets that you are going to Freedom Plaza and write them again when you come back – we can use them as tools as well. We need to be conscious that we are trying to reach a broad network of people with clear messages that educate, organize and mobilize them to end corporatism and militarism. From the messages on the signs we carry, the statements we make when we are interviewed, the artwork we make – whenever we communicate, we must be conscious that we are communicating and be mindful of the message. It is one thing to talk, it is another to communicate in effective and persuasive ways.
In this video Annabel Park, the co-founder of the Coffee Party, puts forward a very empowering message and describes how we can be the media.
To understand the broader goals of shifting power to the people and how we will do so – how we will weaken the pillars of support that hold up the current structure, the second half of this session will be of interest where Margaret Flowers and I discuss the approach the October2011 movement is taking to undermine government and corporate power.
Finally, this video of Annabel at the recent Democracy Convention in Madison talks about how we can change the current corrupt cycle of money>power>policy>money>power>policy to the cycle it should be in a participatory democracy people>power>policy>people>power>policy.
We are at a moment in history when an epic battle between informed and organized people against concentrated capital is underway. We have to work to shift power to the people and create participatory democracy and a fair economy; and in this transition one of the critical fronts is the democratization of the media. You have a role to play in creating a media that serves the peoples’ interests and not the interests of concentrated capital.
Kevin Zeese is a core organizer of October2011.org and co-director of ItsOurEconomy.US.