Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Breaking Through The Barrier

Image Courtesy of Church In Toronto

This is a follow up to The Other Matrix

Breaking Through The Barrier: Creating Alliances In The Alternative Media

The alternative media began and in many cases still is a platform upon which one can gain access to views, narratives, and analyses of current and historical events that are separate from the mainstream discourse, media, academic, or otherwise. Yet, there is a major problem in the alternative media, namely the fact that there are so many voices saying so many different (and in several cases, contradictory) views on the issues of the day that it is rather difficult to create alliances to combat the current power structures.

There are a number of different ideologies and ideas within the alternative media. Some, like Addicting Info, push a partisan agenda, others like Common Dreams push a progressive agenda, whereas shows like the Infowars are motivated by conspiracies and a disdain for government. Essentially no matter where one goes in the alternative media, there is virtually always an agenda being pushed. However, it is positive that such groups and organizations are open about their bias as it allows for the information presented to be taken with a grain of salt. However, this is a major problem as creates a situation where it is rather difficult to build coalitions as one group will almost always be contradicting someone else. For example, right after the Boston Bombing, you had Infowars arguing that it was a false flag and Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman stating that “no one [should] jump to any conclusions.”

This creates a situation where groups and individuals that agree on major issues such as being against wars of aggression, wanting to protect the environment, and wanting to respect the Constitution (among other issues), wind up walling themselves off from one another, each group in their respective bubble. These bubbles create echo chambers of confirmation bias and don’t allow us to challenge ourselves. Yet, the greater problem is that they keep us from building coalitions and challenging the real enemy, the current political, economic, and social systems that harm us all.

The question that then poses itself is: How do we overcome these barriers, burst these bubbles and create coalitions and alliances. We need to begin a dialogue among one another, specifically the grassroots organizers and everyday individuals who get their information from the alternative media. From this dialogue we can begin to work together and hammer out a pathway to combating the system. The attention should not focus on who each person gets their information from as that would create the grounds for disagreement and a shattering of the coalition rather than a creation of an alliance. In addition to this, to include the ‘stars’ would be unbeneficial as the discussion would focus on them and their views rather than the actual goal of working together.

Without a doubt there will be disagreements and problems, it will be both a chance to air out grievances and to see who among us is truly as open-minded as they claim to be. It will allow for a chance to get the facts straight and for questions to be answered. But most importantly, it will be a way for people to unite.

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