Serving Whose Interests?

By A. Mitra/PNA

(in PROUT-Tokyo August 15, 1985, vol. 19, No. 1 p. 1)

An important aspect of psychic exploitation is cultural exploitation, which forcibly imposes its own language, arts, dress, ideas, and other cultural expressions on the dominated community to paralyze them psychologically. This is occurring throughout the world today, especially through vulgar films and literature which are widely disseminated to degrade the minds of the masses and divert them from the revolutionary struggle.

Alienated from their own culture by this “pseudo-culture” and thus from themselves, convinced of their own intrinsic inferiority, the oppressed absorb the values of the oppressors. They lose their own originality and enslave themselves to their rulers. “It is proper for human beings to struggle for political freedom, for social emancipation; but if their cultural backbone is broken, then all their struggles will end in nothing—like offering ghee into a fire that has died out.” [Sarkar (1982). The Liberation of Intellect-Neo-Humanism.  Ananda Press: Tiljala, India, p. 55]

The Philippines is a classic example of pseudo-cultural exploitation. After the Americans ‘liberated’ the Filipinos from Spanish colonization in 1898, and, themselves, quickly took over, they embarked on an intensive ten-year pacification campaign of pseudo-cultural propagation. They strictly suppressed all expressions of Filipino nationalism and national culture—books, articles, plays, and even the raising of the Filipino flag. The nation-wide school system organized by the Americans established English as the language of instruction, distorted the history of the American occupation, taught American rather than Filipino history, and altogether glorified the American way of life.

Americans were presented as benevolent altruists who had accepted the ‘burden’ of educating their ‘little brown brothers’ who were ‘not ready’ for self-government. As their cultural life was increasingly dominated by imported American movies and TV programs, Filipinos became more and more imitative. The myth was spread that American investments were indispensable for economic progress, and free enterprise [as] the only framework for democracy.

Under the mask of pseudo-culture, the real enemy—neo-colonialist, socio-economic exploitation—was invisible. The Filipinos thought the Americans to be their friends with identical interests. Thus, even the fiery Filipino revolutionaries, demoralized by this psychic oppression and exhausted by the unequal struggle, settled down to the old passivity they had been taught by the Spanish friars, and followed their ‘superiors’.

If you analyze the history of the world, you will find that whenever one group exploited another in the economic sphere, they first perpetrated psychic exploitation by continuously infusing inferiority complex in the minds of the exploited mass. Most of the countries of the world today are victims of socio-economic or socio-political exploitation.

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