From: Kyle Harris (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Aug 07 2006 - 12:54:45 PDT
I thought some of you might be interested in contributing or might want to
send this to people who could.
Call for Submissions
Please Post Widely
The Pitfalls and Possibilities of Propaganda
For some, the word “propaganda” elicits fear. For others, it suggests a
musty sort of nostalgia for the early part of the twentieth century when
anarchists and revolutionaries used it to promote alternative visions of
social organization. With the rise of advertising and government agencies
entirely devoted to shaping public opinion, “propaganda” took on
frightening connotations of manipulation and deceit.
With state and corporate appropriation of propaganda, anarchists and
revolutionaries shied away from rhetorically superior forms of
persuasion. The anti-authoritarian impulse to shun all forms of coercion
is fraught with an obvious problem. How can anti-authoritarians persuade
their audiences of the virtues of their visions of social transformation
without resorting to tried rhetorical methods often dismissed as
By negating strategies of advertising, branding, and propaganda,
anarchists and revolutionaries have often failed to successfully create
winning campaigns in the marketplace of ideas. The sad result is that by
waging poorly conceived campaigns, anti-authoritarians have defeated their
visions before communicating them to the public at large. Without a viable
communication and public relations strategy, anarchism has turned into an
In an effort to remedy this perilous defeatism, artists, activists,
propagandists, historians, technologists, psychologists, theorists, and
cultural critics are hereby invited to submit essays for an upcoming
anthology tentatively titled: Advertising Anarchism:The Pitfalls and
Possibilities of Propaganda. Starting with the premise that anarchists do
have something valuable to communicate, many provocative and vital
∑ What works, what doesn’t, and most importantly, why?
∑ What are the costs and consequences of using or not using coercive
∑ What can be learned from the fields of advertising? Branding? Mass
∑ What might anti-authoritarians learn from state propaganda in
politically diverse countries like the United States, the USSR, Cuba,
North Korea, Iran, and Germany?
∑ What strategies can anti-authoritarians appropriate from
television, the film industry, the gaming industries, and marketing
∑ What are the ethical limits of rhetoric? When does advertisement
become a form of authoritarianism? What can anti-authoritarians do to
∑ What are the most historically relevant cases of successful
anarchist and anti-authoritarian propaganda?
∑ What are the most effective forms of propaganda and what can
anarchists learn from them?
∑ Should anarchists use social networking websites, blogging, and
vlogging to spread their ideas? If so, how?
∑ Should anti-authoritarians interact with, use, or subvert
corporate media, the non-profit establishment, or other so-called
mainstream systems of idea dissemination? What are the most effective ways
this has been and could be done?
∑ What institutions have existed, exist, or should exist to create
effective propaganda? How have they been or should they be organized?
∑ What alternatives exist to propaganda, advertising, and branding?
How should they be deployed?
∑ Is it really worth attracting the attention of a “mass audience”
through “mass media?” Why?
∑ Can anarchism rescue itself from the vaults of history with
successful branding? How?
∑ In what ways can anarchists target campaigns to specific
demographics? What are effective strategies for market research?
∑ Should anarchists aspire to compete rhetorically with
multinational corporations, the state, the military, etc…? If so, how?
∑ Is the term propaganda useful? If so, why? If not, what terms are
better suited for anarchist messaging?
∑ What are the benefits and perils of local and/or global campaigns?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of each strategy?
∑ By communication with dominant rhetorical strategies, are
anarchists reinforcing dominant culture?
∑ What are the benefits and perils of illegal forms of distribution
such as pirate radio and television?
∑ What are the benefits and perils of work within dominant culture?
∑ In what ways can propagandists best relate their work to specific
∑ What ways has anarchist propaganda been funded? How can it
continue to be funded? What are specific funding strategies?
∑ In what ways do propaganda and art differ? Should they be
theorized and practiced separately?
Subjects of interest include but are not limited to:
∑ Digital technologies
∑ Public Service Announcements
∑ Graphic Design
∑ Oration/Public Speaking
∑ Social Networking
∑ Viral Marketing
∑ Funding Structures
Essays should focus on the history, theory, and/or contemporary practice
of propaganda and/or practical tips for messaging and advertising in a
variety of mediums. In looking at the history, theory, practice, and tips,
writers should focus on rhetorical, aesthetic, and practical strategies
that create successful propaganda campaigns.
After reading the book, anti-authoritarians should be armed with a sound
historical and theoretical background to frame their rhetorical strategies
and should be provided with an arsenal of specific tips, skills, and
tactics for creating successful campaigns. Essays should give readers
skills, ideas, and histories that are as practical as they are intriguing.
Historical essays should focus on concrete examples of anarchist
propaganda and messaging from the past. Theoretical essays should
illuminate the economic, ethical, strategic, and tactical issues
surrounding anarchist propaganda. Essays focusing on contemporary practice
should be concrete, pragmatic, and instructive giving readers skills,
strategies and tactics for anarchist messaging.
Email complete essays or proposals of 300 words to Kyle Harris at
email suppressed with the subject “Advertising Anarchism.”
Proposals are due October 1rst.
Complete essays due by December 1rst.
For more information, contact Kyle Harris at email suppressed
with “Advertising Anarchism” in the subject line.
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.