Continuous Horizontal Irreversible Integration Propaganda...

Selections from Jacques Ellul´s 1965 classic Propaganda - The Formation of Men´s Ideas.

Successful propaganda will occupy every moment of the individual's life: through posters and loudspeakers when he is out walking, through radio and newspapers at home, through meetings and movies in the evening. The Individual must not be allowed to recover, to collect himself, to remain untouched by propaganda during any relatively long period, for propaganda is not the touch of the magic wand- It is based on constant impregnation.
It creates convictions and compliance through imperceptible influences that are effective only by continuous repetition. It must create a complete environment for the individual, one from which he never emerges. And to prevent him from finding external points of reference, it protects him by censoring everything that might come in from the outside. The slow building up of reflexes and myths, of psychological environment and prejudices, requires propaganda of very long duration. Propaganda is not a stimulus that disappears quickly; it consists of successive impulses and shocks aimed at various feelings or thoughts

Horizontal propaganda is a much more recent development. We know it in two forms: Chinese propaganda and group dynamics in human relations...
This propaganda can be called horizontal because it is made inside the group (not from the top), where in principle, all individuals are equal and there is no leader. The individual makes contact with others at his own level rather than with a leader; such propaganda therefore always seeks "conscious adherence." Its content is presented in didactic fashion and addressed to the intelligence. The leader, the propagandist, is there only as a sort of animator or discussion leader; sometimes his presence and his identity are not even known – for example, the "ghost writer" in certain American groups, or the "police spy" in Chinese groups. The individual's adherence to his group is "conscious" because he is aware of it and recognizes it, but it is ultimately involuntary because he is trapped In a dialectic and in a group that Leads him unfailingly to this adherence. His adherence is also "intellectual" because he can express his conviction clearly and lineally, but it is not genuine because the information, the data, the reasoning that have led him to adhere to the group were themselves deliberately falsified in order to lead him there.
This form of propaganda needs two conditions: first of allr a lack of contact between groups. A member of a small group must not belong to other groups in which he would be subjected to other influences that would give him a chance to find himself again andh with ith the strength to resist. This is why the Chinese Communists insisted On breaking up traditional groups, such as the family. A private and heterogeneous group (with different ages, sexes and occupations) like the family is a tremendous obstacle to such propaganda

In contrast to propaganda of agitation is the propaganda of integration—the propaganda of developed nations and characteristic of our civilization; in fact it did not exist before the twentieth century. It is a propaganda of conformity- such propaganda is confined to rationalizing an existing situation, to transforming unconscious actions of members of a society into consciously desired activity that is visible, laudable, and justified— In such cases it must be proved that the listeners, the citizens in general, are the beneficiaries of the resultant socio-political development
Integration propaganda aims at stabilizing the social body, at unufying and reinforcing it. It Is thus the preferred Instrument of government, though properly speaking it is not exclusively political propaganda. Since 1930 the propaganda of the Soviet Union, at well as that since the war. of all the People's Republics, has been a propaganda of integration. But this type of propaganda can also he made by a group of organization other than those of government, going in the same direction, more or less spontaneously. more or less planned by the state. 
The most important example of the use of such propaganda is the United States. Obviously integration propaganda is much more subtle and complex than agitation propaganda. It seeks not a temporary excitement but a total molding of the person in depth. Here all psychological and opinion analyses must be utilized, aswell as the mass media of communication ...
Generally, only one element—hatred—can be immediately satisfied; everything else must be changed. Obviously, this conversion of propaganda is very difficult: the techniques and methods of agitation propaganda cannot be used; the same feelings cannot be aroused Other propagandists must be employed as totally different qualities are required for integration propaganda. The greatest difficulty is that agitation propaganda produces very rapid and spectacular effects, whereas integration propaganda acts slowly, gradually, and imperceptibly. After the masses have been subjected to agitation propaganda, to neutralize their arousod impulses with integration propaganda without being swept away by the masses is a delicate problem.

What is needed, then, is continuous agitation produced artificially even when nothing in the events of the day justifies or arouses excitement. Therefore, continuing, propaganda must slowly create a climate first, and then prevent the individual from noticing a particular propaganda operation in contrast to ordinary daily events.
For action makes propaganda's effect irreversible.
He who acts in obedience to propaganda can never go back. He is now obliged to believe in that propaganda because of his past action. He is obliged to receive from it his justiiication and authority, without which his action will seem to him absurd or unjust, which would be intolerable. He is obliged to continue to advance in the direction indicated by propaganda, for action demands more action. He is what one calls committed. The man who has acted in accordance with the existing propaganda has taken his place in society. From then on he has enemies. Often he has broken with his milieu or his family. He may be compromised. He is forced to accept the new milieu and the new friends that propaganda makes for him. Often he has committed an act reprehensible by traditional moral standards and has disturbed a certain order. He needs a justification for this —and he gets more deeply involved by repeating the act In order to prove that it was just. Thus he is caught up in a movement that develops until it totally occupies the breadth of his conscience Propaganda now masters him completely—and we must bear in mind that any propaganda that does not lead to this kind of participation is mere child's play.
Ellul, Jacques - Propaganda. the Formation of Men's Attitudes
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Frank Kitman