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A Strategic Proposal to Battle Media Propaganda

This transcript is part of a collection of remarks presented by Hood Communist editors at the Second International Meeting of Theoretical Publications of Left Parties and Movements in Havana, Cuba. Click here to view the full collection.

Presented by Onyesonwu Chatoyer

I am a member of the editorial team of the Hood Communist Blog, which is a revolutionary African publication of political analysis. I’m also a cadre member of the All African People’s Revolutionary Party, and a coordinator with the Venceremos Brigade, the oldest Cuba solidarity delegation in the US. I want to speak today, about a specific problem that we are facing within the media, as well as some concrete steps we can take to combat that problem.

I’m living within the belly of the beast. We are of course faced with capitalist domination of the media. We are a national liberation movement that do not hold state power, which means that we do not have forms of alternative media that can compete with the mass media. We are also facing a situation where the majority of our people are primarily receiving their news from social media. However, those social media platforms are again controlled by the ruling class, by the capitalist state, and by the security apparatus of the capitalist state. The consequence of this is that we are faced with a rise of propaganda against socialist movements, against anti-imperialist nations that our people are overwhelmed with constantly, and we as mass liberation organizations, as socialist political parties, as people in the movement for justice and against imperialism, are put in a position where we are constantly having to react. And our reaction to that domination of the mass media and the domination of false news is constantly fragmented. We are not coordinating in a strategic and movement wide way. 

And so we would like to propose as a concrete solution to this problem of propaganda on mass media, is that social media and journalistic campaigns be coordinated across our movement. Not just within our individual organizations or within our individual political parties, but across party, across organizations and across nations and borders, we are responding together in an offensive and not just defensive way. That we are not just attacking the lies, but proactively telling the truth about the world that we want to build, showing the realities of freedom and progress in socialist countries, and the work that’s already happening and states building socialism and fighting imperialism. And when we are forced to react to the fake news and lies of mass media, we still have to do it in a coordinated and organized way. And we all have to be continuously building upon our strategy. 

An example we would like to share of how coordinated action can take place is the recent example of the U.S. empire attempting to use charges of racism against African people to attack the Cuban Revolution. The African left in the U.S., represented by our publication, Hood Communist, as well as by the Black Alliance and the All African People’s Revolutionary Party, responded to these false charges of racism within Cuba, with a coordinated campaign led by Africans to clearly defend the Cuban Revolution, to clearly identified the U.S. blockade against Cuba itself as a racist attack against African people, as well as a whole Cuban population, while also uplifting the unquestionable contribution of the Cuban Revolution to the liberation of African people in Cuba and around the world, while also pointing out the deplorable systemic racism that persists in the U.S. and all capitalist countries. The reason why this kind of coordinated response was possible is because of long term work building solidarity between movements in the U.S. for justice and the Cuban Revolution. For example, the Venceremos Brigade, of which again, I’m one of the national coordinators, is the oldest Cuba solidarity delegation in the U.S. and with many participants in African liberation movements in the U.S.  have participated. 

For example, leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States have participated in the Venceremos Brigade, and when the U.S. attempted to use racism to attack the Cuban Revolution, it was those same leaders and past participants of the Venceremos Brigade, that raised their voices and clearly identified the lies. This long term effort to build solidarity between the Cuban people and people in the U.S. gave us the foundation needed to fight back decisively against the attacks of the U.S. empire attempting to use our struggle against the Cuban Revolution. 

Another solution we want to propose is the inclusion of youth in every aspect of our work. We must not be over or against the youth, but as Fidel himself said, “nourish and support their wisdom.” Youth know best how to read other youth. We might be coordinated, calculated, and specific in how we approach and reach the youth, because they are now the primary targets of imperialist propaganda, primarily through social media. We hope one concrete action from this encuentro is for these efforts to reach the youth with revolutionary ideas. To research how the youth are getting the information and political guidance, and investigate how we can intervene with the youth. This is why, for example in Hood Communist, we try to create work that targets youth to educate that I mean many, many contributions of Africans building revolutionary socialism around the world, whether they are advancing Marxism-Leninism, Nkrumahism-Toureism-Cabralism, or other revolutionary socialist ideology. We are creating pamphlets, articles, podcasts, social media posts, and a variety of media that educates our youth on people like Walter Rodney, Assata Shakur, Kwame Nkrumah, Robert Sobukwe, Thomas Sankara and so forth. Thank you for the time and we appreciate the opportunity. 

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“To educate the masses politically does not mean, cannot mean, making a political speech. What it means is to try, relentlessly and passionately, to teach the masses that everything depends on them; that if we stagnate it is their responsibility, and that if we go forward it is due to them too, that there is no such thing as a demiurge, that there is no famous man who will take the responsibility for everything, but that the demiurge is the people themselves and the magic hands are finally only the hands of the people.”
― Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth