The Role of Anti-Establishment “Conspiracy Theories” | Global Research
In recent years, populist explanations for world events have become common and often taken the form of anti-establishment conspiracy theories. The contradiction between how people believe the world should be, according to the mainstream propaganda pertaining to liberty and democracy, and how it is in this time of crisis leads people to search for easily digestible answers.
It’s easy for conspiracy theorists to play on people’s fears and prejudices and to point fingers at certain groups. In the past, it has been ‘the Jews’, ‘the Irish’, ‘the blacks’, ‘the Poles’ or some other easily identifiable target that was blamed for society’s ills. Resorting to selective interpretations of history or some simplistic Hollywood-esque inspired political or sci-fi narrative where giant reptiles are taking over the planet can be quite seductive, particularly for ‘right-leaning’ sections of the population who never had any truck with socialism and probably once believed in the ‘free market’ and capitalist liberal democracy but now have trouble in fathoming out why it has all gone wrong.
Conspiracy theories of different kinds have been found on both the left and the right of the political spectrum over the decades. While the right saw reds under the bed everywhere, the left regarded every negative event as a consequence of capitalism – what sociologists call ‘left functionalism’.
Much of the left, however, possesses an analysis based on a sound understanding of how capitalism works and developed over time. David Harvey’s assessment of the current crisis (1) uses concepts of capital over accumulation, production outsourcing, wage and demand depression and credit access to explain why we are where we happen to be right now. John Foster (2) discusses the nature of the current crisis in similar terms.
The advocates of populist conspiracy theories seek to explain everything in terms of secret societies and codes, Zionism, ‘communism’ or the hand of ‘Rothschild’. Of course, families like the Rothschilds and Rockefellers and groups like Bilderberg exist and do hold great power. That much is not in dispute. However, the nature of the dynamics of power is. Groups or think tanks like Bilderberg, Brookings Institute, Trilateral Commission, Chatham House, Council on Foreign Relations, RAND Corporation and so on are where capitalism’s state-corporate hegemons, including the rich families mentioned above, meet to discuss, devise policies and manage capitalism.
Radical critiques of society have often focused on the underlying logic and processes of capital accumulation and capitalist economic crises as well as capitalism’s inherent contradictions. An analysis of the historical antecedents of modernity according to scholarly analysis has also been prevalent. Today, it is popular to assert that the members of some shadowy group have been in charge all this time – the Illuminati, often used as a metaphor for ‘the Jews’.
The rise of such explanations are understandable in a complex world, where the ordinary person feels utterly powerless, confused and craves easy answers. Little surprise then that events and crises are said to be the work of some sinister ‘Illuminati’, an explanation which tends to steer clear of any genuine analysis of capitalism.
In the West…………..