Almost fifty years have passed since Texaco proclaimed its “glorious gamble” to extract oil from the Amazon. And while more than two decades have elapsed since the drilling finally ceased, at least four generations (referred to here as “Generations 10W40,” by the author) have suffered many deleterious effects, resulting from countless acts of irresponsible, pollution-generating corporate/governmental behavior. Lawsuits have abounded in both the United States and Ecuador over this calamity, and attorneys continue to fight over which accused party is most culpable—Texaco (now Chevron Texaco), Petro Ecuador and/or the Ecuadorian government. Regardless of who is most responsible, however, the fact remains that innocent people continue to be victimized. Another undeniable fact is the long history of Chevron Texaco’s expensive, forceful and unrelenting publicity campaign to win popular support outside the courtroom through propagandistic mass media appeals. This essay analyzes this long-term “crusade” within a framework of seven specific devices—name-calling, bandwagon, glittering generalities, transfer, testimonial, plain folks and card stacking—applied to the company’s corporate communication strategy, and occurring throughout its preliminary oil exploration, the oil drilling years and the toxic aftermath of the venture.
Ill-Fated Beneficiaries of Texaco's "Glorious Gamble"
Marilyn J. Matelski
An electoral campaign is a complex process in which political
actors interact with the mass media in order to orient the voting
preferences and choices of the electorate. It is presumed – but cannot
be taken for granted – that the election campaign is the period
in which the use of propaganda and various forms of political
communication is at its peak. In fact, the interaction between
media and politics has long since become a structural given of contemporary
democracies,1 and periods in which significant political
communication campaigns are developed form part of a cycle that
has become independent of electoral deadlines. It can even be
hypothesised that election campaigns are becoming an ‘internal
moment’ of these larger cycles during which the climate of opinion
that is asserted compromises the election result, sometimes
anticipating the election outcome by even several months.
Exploring China’s State Report
Halme-Tuomisaari and Miia
As states become parties to international human rights treaties, they undertake the obligation to provide periodic state reports to UN human rights treaty bodies. Officially, state reports are paramount vehicles of factual information of a given state’s human rights situation. Unofficially their status may be contested and their data reduced to state propaganda. This article examines this transformation through the submission of China’s first state report to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The article shows how human rights documents of diverse genres join together in a continual ceremony of dialogue. It connects minute details of treaty body proceedings to more general developments in the international human rights field, and argues that beneath the veneer of diplomatic conduct accompanying human rights dialogue lays an intense struggle for representation and legitimacy. It further discusses how this struggle reflects the recent rise of Kantian theories of international law. These theories seek to re-evaluate the foundational concept of international law, namely ‘sovereign equality’, and, thus continue the mission civilisatrice that has characterized elements of international collaboration for centuries.
The Popular Front Francisco Villa’s Media Diffusion Articulation of Political Subjectivities among Workers
Edgar Everardo Guerra Blanco
This article draws on social systems theory to explore a key phenomenon in social movements: organizations. The Frente Popular Francisco Villa (PFFV)—an organization related to the Urban Popular Movement in Mexico—is used as a case study. The research focuses on the internal dynamics that have steered this organization and propelled internal changes in some of its key aspects, especially media diffusion and propaganda strategy. Indeed, the media strategy employed by the organization have changed during the 30-yearhistory of the PFFV, not only on the basis of the programmatic goals and objectives of the organization, but also as a consequence of internal and external dynamics beyond the control of members and leaders. The main objectives of this analysis are threefold. First, I intend to uncover the main processes and structures that regulate the PFFV´s internal dynamic and changes over time. Second, I aim to analyze the relationships between these changes and the requirements of several organizations and actors in the environment of the PFFV. Finally, I aim to explore the impact of broader processes (such as the political system or the culture) on the organization's internal changes.
Lawrence Freedman has suggested that the Third World War is now under way.1 Whether or not one agrees with his diagnosis, it is clear that the events of 11 September and the responses that they have occasioned are of world-historic importance. No aspect of our globalised economy will be left unaffected, no region will escape the impact of the conflict. From Indonesia and Malaysia to Nigeria and Paraguay, domestic political stability has been rendered more precarious. The order of war itself has been inverted; civilians, and the very fabric of civil society itself, were the first targets of attacks launched with essentially civilian instruments. The iconic impact has been no less extraordinary: arguably the two most potent symbols of capitalist modernity and its awesome technological capacities – the skyscraper and the jet airplane – were destroyed, intentionally, in a brilliantly orchestrated, chillingly effective media event. The ramifications need little spelling out: the very self-confidence and normative underpinnings of western civilisation have been shaken and questioned through the terrorists’ unprecedentedly potent “propaganda of the deed”. The political capacity and will, as well as the unity, of the West are being tested as perhaps never before. The juggernaut of technological progress and economic growth appears, at least momentarily, to have been halted in its tracks, as the global economy slides into recession. The erstwhile unchallenged power of the most technologically advanced society in history has been brought into question by an atavistic, theocratic ideology joined to the will of agents working, without the aid of hyper-modern technology and with relatively small financial resources, from the very margins of the global political and economic system.
David Detmer and John Ireland
role in the fierce Cold War politics—marked by propaganda and censorship—besetting that country. She suggests in particular that this Viennese episode and Sartre’s wider connection to Austria before and after the war can help us better understand the
SimonMary Aihiokhai, Lorina Buhr, David Moore, and William Jethro Mpofu
deal of what we know about nationalism in Lusophone Africa may have been fabricated’ (4), partly because those in the business of international propaganda had to advertise their success while also playing to both sides in the Cold War, and to the less
Occupation, Liberation, and Reconstruction
George Robb and W. Brian Newsome
, but as opinionated citizens who had to be courted and cajoled by intensive propaganda campaigns. Scholars supplemented traditional state archives with more popular sources like posters, newspapers, magazines, films, and the diaries and letters of
electoral support of desperate citizens who were ready to embrace all illusions that highly technologically improved propaganda has provided in these last years. In most of the cases, the commitment for cohesion remained on paper, and the integration was
Cuban Posters for African Liberation 1967–1989
of the national culture of Cuba, owing to its long history of fighting against foreign political and economic domination. The artworks, which are basically revolutionary propaganda, therefore represent some of the most vicious conflicts in Africa of