Frank Ellis - Political Correctness and the Ideological Struggle

Excerpts from Frank Ellis´- Political Correctness and the Ideological Struggle: From Lenin and Mao to Marcuse and Foucault
"One writer of exceptional importance for this theme in twentieth century Russian literature is Andrei Platonov whose novel, The Foundation Pit (1929-1930), is a study of alienation brought on by the ideological corruption of language. As the slogans, bureaucratese, jargon and a never-ending flood of acronyms overwhelm the language, Platonov's characters lose the ability to communicate with one another. Crushed by the weight of ideology one character ponders whether 'truth is a class enemy' .
Words there are aplenty in this politically correct cacophony but their meaning has been appropriated by the party. Language is a series of ideological rituals. Denied the means to express their hopes and fears, Platonov's characters regress to a state of fearful isolation. Silence becomes the only effective form of communication...In both manifestations - that depicted in Platonov's novels, or that favored by postmodernists - the intention is to use language as a weapon. In this scenario language is not primarily used to communicate ideas but rather to signal the speaker's willingness to submit to the politically correct register"

"Worse still was the thought reform, si xiang gai zao, that was practised in the Chinese concentration camp system...
'For the Chinese communist', notes Wu, 'the aim is not to destroy him [the prisoner] a hostile element physically through violence, but to destroy him mentally and ideologically, while threatening him with violence' Certain forms of physical abuse are used in conjunction with thought reform, as in the degrading ritual of bai lao men ('paying respects to the cell god'), which involves newprisoner's being made to suck up excrement from a bucket through straws and then say that the excrement tasted delicious
Compelling prisoners to act out their roles in what to the Westerner appears to be the theatre of the absurd plays a major role in breaking the prisoner's mental resistance. The more grotesquely at odds with the truth, the more blatant the distortion and accusation, the more powerful the intellectual violence done to the victim. Agreeing to some blatant fabrication, the victim damages and eventually destroys his ability to think for himself, which is consistent with the Maoist view that: '"Self is the origin of all evil' (Union Research Service, 1968, 225). His inner self destroyed or broken, the victim ceases, finally, to be an independent, thinking human being."

Frank Ellis - Political Correctness and the Ideological Struggle: From Lenin and Mao to Marcuse and Foucault
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Frank Kitman