Agitation Propaganda Then and Now

by Al Benson Jr.

This is a subject I have written about in the past but it is still relevant today and so I don’t think it hurts to remind folks. All radical and anti-Christian revolutionary movements opposed to God and His lawful authority have used agitation propaganda, or what has been called “agit-prop” and they still use it today. Such material has been used to inflame the passions and emotions of ordinary people so they will, without benefit of serious thought or reflection, become cannon fodder for the revolutionaries in their quest to overthrow legitimate God-given authority. This fits right in with the “critical theory” technique employed by the Marxists and their handlers today, though it is hardly something new.

It went on before the French Revolution got into full swing and was, no doubt, responsible for much of what followed in that horrid debacle. The late historian, Otto Scott, in his book Robespierre–the Voice of Virtue (Mason & Lipscomb, New York), noted that the French revolutionaries of that day made more than adequate use of the printed word. On page 47 of his book he commented on the use of pamphlet shops in Paris and how much material they turned out.  He quoted an English observer of all this who said, of the printed pamphlets: “Thirteen came out today, sixteen yesterday, ninety-two last week…nineteen twentieths are in favor of liberty…violent against clergy and nobility…Nothing in reply appears…”  Note his last comment–“Nothing in reply appears.” In regard to reaching the general public, or at least those who could read, the Leftist revolutionaries (for that’s really what they were) had the entire field to themselves. There was no rebuttal to their vitriol whatever.

In this country, in the decades of abolitionist ascendancy before the War of Northern Aggression, the media was used in the exact same way, to promote the careers of such men as abolitionist/terrorist John Brown. Although Brown, a failure in every business he was ever involved in, was nothing more than an impoverished-most-of-the-time murderer, he was, via the Northern “news” media, given the appearance of a saint, of at least the stature of Oliver Cromwell. It was a glowing tribute to the prowess of the Northern “news” media that a man like John Brown was able to be passed off as anything other than the murderer he really was. Yet it happened.  It was one of the higher points of what passed for abolitionist “journalism.”

Otto Scott, in his excellent and informative book The Secret Six–The Fool As Martyr noted that: “John Brown appeared…with a reputation created by James Redpath of the N.Y. Tribune, attested by Richard Hinton of the Boston Traveler and the Chicago Tribune, enameled by Phillips of the New York Times in his recent book on Kansas, by the Times’ Sam Tappen, and by Richard Henry Kagi of the New York Post.”  So the Northern media conducted what was plainly a campaign of agitation propaganda against the South, and history shows that, at the time, the Southern states had nothing with which to counter such a Northern propaganda blitz. Furthermore, many Southerners did not even think this specious propaganda was worth replying to, so they just ignored it. They shouldn’t have. Again, this attitude gave the Leftists the complete playing field, with almost no opposition whatever.

In passing, I will remind folks that the New York Tribune was owned by utopian socialist Horace Greeley, the same Horace Greeley that employed Charles Dana and Karl Marx. Does that tell you anything? You can read about some of this in Lincoln’s Marxists the book co-authored by Donnie Kennedy and myself. Don’t look for too many of the professional “historians” to tell you all that much about it.

Not only that, there were many more newspapers in the North than in the South. In a book entitled The North and the South–Being a Statistical View of the Condition of the Free and Slave States (originally published in 1857 by John P. Jewett and Company, Boston, and Henry P. B. Jewett, Cleveland) many observations were made as to the power of the press in both Northern and Southern states. It is stated on page 112 of the book that: “In 1828 the number of papers at the North was to that at the South as 3 to 1; and in 1840 as 2 1/2 to one…in 1850 the number of papers at the South was 704; at the North 1799; while the circulation at the South was 782,453, and at the North 4,296,768; or over five at the North to one at the South…” So the abolitionists and their radical socialist comrades had a whopping numerical advantage. For some reason, as stated previously, those that took a constitutional, states’ rights position seemed almost reluctant to reply to the Yankee/Marxists. Their position deserved a fair hearing, which it never got outside of the South.

In our day, Herbert Philbrick, in his book I Let Three Lives traced the use of agitation propaganda by the Communists in this country when he infiltrated the Communist Party USA for the FBI. That would never happen nowadays! Philbrick wrote: “Secret underground presses are a vital adjunct to the Communist Party in every non-Communist nation, including the United States. Propaganda and deception are the keystones on which the movement to subvert a people and their government must be built. Communications and agitation by means of the printed word, through pamphlets, magazines, leaflets, and newspapers are essential to the structure.” 

Philbrick pointed out a situation that has not changed since before the French Revolution, and one that continues right up to our day–and now you can add the Internet into the mix. Radical left-wingers, whether in the streets, on Wall Street, in our public education system, or in the halls of Congress,make much use of the media for their own purposes, and haplessly, the media seem all too willing to go along with it, as it works toward the One World goal of tearing down this country and its culture, which is a main part of their agenda along with the destruction of Christianity.

Lots of uninformed folks will say “This is America, that can’t happen here.” To which I would reply–what are you willing to do to make sure it doesn’t happen here?

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