Agit-prop is an odd ‘word’. It is a holdover from the beginning days of the Soviet Union a contraction of two words – Agitation and Propaganda. It was the guiding principle behind “the arts” in Soviet Russia. Anyone who has seen movies from Sergei Eisenstein has sees the heavy hand of Soviet era propaganda in movies like Alexander Nevsky or Battleship Potemkin. And the aggressive style of posters from that era are well known too.
There was no doubt in the minds and planning of the central Politburo and the leadership of the Soviet Union that all art had the duty to forward the communist message. In 1934 Maxim Gorky coined the phrase “Socialist Realism” to quote from the course papers:
Socialist Realism first came into being during the First Congress of Soviet Writers meeting of August 8, 1934 and sponsored by the Union of Soviet Writers. At its head was Maxim Gorky, who coined the term Socialist Realism Gorky declared at literature and art should depict the ‘New Soviet Man,’ which is as follows: “A new type of man is springing up in the Soviet Union. He possesses a faith in the organizing power of reason….He is conscious of being the builder of a new world, and although his conditions of life are still arduous, he knows that it is his arm and the purpose of his rational will to create different conditions and he has no grounds for pessimism.”
In short the performance is supposed to advance the cause.
Why is this important to those of us who comment on the activities and proclivities of the left and their cohorts of useful idiots?
Stop looking at their “protests” as genuine reactions. They are carefully staged and planned theater. A lot of time and effort is expended on getting people there, giving them instructions, printing up signs and giving slogans. This is not the whole crowd – just the core who, given the right circumstances, can turn a march into a mob.
It does not matter what the theater is “about” – any excuse will do. it is not important what the label that is being attached to it is – it is being done to stir up emotion and anger.
If it can be turned into something more – so much the better. If some cars get overturned and maybe torched – guaranteed that the press will take pictures. Maybe some masked and scarfed people can smash some windows? More coverage. If those agitators can inflame the rest of the mob and maybe provoke a confrontation with the police? Golden. If people from the community, locals, can be gotten hurt or arrested – better still.
We need to do a much better job of gathering facts for ourselves and to not rely on the media. We need to get the information as to who has been arrested at the demonstrations – how many and what happens to them afterwards? Has anyone actually reviewed the disposition of cases?
We need to stop buying into the cover story that these organizers are using. We need to not repeat their words but instead use pejorative terms to describe them and their actions – riot, planned theater, rehearsed chaos, thugs, instigators and so on.
The answer to “agit-prop” is to identify and expose the people and the tactics. Educate people as to what is going on, encourage law enforcement to investigate and arrest those who seek or threaten to damage property and people.