Sunday, February 24, 2013


 I keep reflecting on C-SPAN’s Q&A interview with Anne Tannenbaum. This is a summation I wrote of one aspect:

Chewable thought:
Q&A Interviewer’s question to Anne Applebaum who wrote “Iron Curtain”:
What did Stalin do first in eastern Europe nations to control them (1944)?
1) Establish Secret Police - nationally and recruiting locals too who knew their region’s special distinctions.-- target potential opponents.
2) Take Over the Radio (broadcast media) - the efficacy of their propaganda would be best transmitted this way. The printed press, too, but the radio was paramount.
3) Completely Control Civil Society - totally under state control, clubs, churches, charities, volunteer associations, any self-organized entity.
-- (Mussolini’s definition of totalitarianism: Everything in the state, nothing outside of the state).--
Heard on C-SPAN radio.

Other points Anne Tannenbaum suggested:
-- total control evokes dissidence, even in the face of highly punitive reactions, when it goes underground.
-- the ideologues and true believers of the Stalinist system began to lose faith when promises of this type of total control failed to be realized, while many yet espoused the ideology (No doubt true for ideologues of any stripe).
-- Many collaborators “zigzagged” -- for example, only partially or collaborating in insignificant ways when it became apparent their children would be denied entry into schools or a job would be lost.

Letting this sink in more. One thing apparent though, civil society isn’t under total control of the state in the United States. And dissidence and its expression -- such as in demonstrations -- may be infiltrated and rebuffed by police force in some instances, yet it still has its obvious outlets, though these may be manipulated, for example, elections. Economic control and thought control and their ideologies are another thing, though.

Thoughts to start off a Sunday morning.

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