1 | MP introduction




"Ink will kill the modern organisation."

1. What propaganda is

Propaganda is an attempt to extend the influence of a social
group - a nation, a class, a professional or religious group,
etc. - by spreading or 'propagating' beliefs and practices that
are current in that group. In addition, propaganda aims at
maintaining unity within a social group, by strengthening the
bonds of emotional solidarity among its members; or, alternately,
at disintegrating a rival or enemy group.

When they do things together, people feel most intensely that
they belong together. The tribal dance is unrivalled in its pro-
paganda effect. When they lose themselvs in a rapturous crowd,
people melt, as it were, into one social unity, and feel that
they are parts in a greater stream of warm social life. A similar
result is obtained when people sing songs together - watch the
effect of community singing - or when they collectively perform
ritual actions, e.g. all stand up and shout 'Heil Hitler!', while
raising their arms. In well-organised churches, the congregation
all rise and sit down together, read, sing or recite together
the same words. The revivalist urges, 'let everybody join hearti-
ly in the singing!' It is a sign of hopeless incompetence if a
Labour meeting is allowed to begin or to end without the 'Interna-
tional' or the 'Red Flag'. The propagandist's game is as good as
won if he can collect a number of people, and make all of them
shout the same words at the same time, or create in them a coll-
ective emotion about some symbols of group unity, like flags,