Thursday, April 28, 2011

Worker in protest

When Zoran Bulatovic, an employee of the textile plant "Raska" in Novi Pazar, cut off his little finger in protest, what ensued was completely different from what was expected. Although a lot of words were exchanged in the public sphere concerning Bulatovic’s action, his protest has succumbed to the classical form of neoliberal censorship. One of this censorship’s main strategies in the neo-liberal capitalism is to blur and distort any form of protest or criticism of the system. This is best seen in representations of such workers protests in mass media. Headlines such as "radical," "horrendous," "cannibalistic", show workers' struggle as something that is caused by either individual insanity or impotence. Thus the object of protest is transformed into a consumer artifact purified of any potential for critical thinking, presented in the form expected to be purchased easily. Similarly, a depressed person believes that every positive attitude, all hope, is, in fact, a dangerous illusion. Feeling that capitalism is the only sustainable political and economic system, while any coherent alternative is impossible to construct. Such media representations create a field of political and cultural sterility, dominated by the idea that nothing new can happen and that every action is hopeless. The problem is that this picture of despair benefits the ruling elite. Its purpose is to dispossess us of any kind of critical thinking and to abandon ourselves to be connected through emotions.
On the other hand, a protest is heavily dependent on the leading figure. One of the biggest successes of the current global elite is their avoidance of identification with a leading figure. That figure managed to stay almost completely invisible in the sea of ​​digital images that surround us. The only place where we can look for such a figure is in the realm of private capital and government. A figure of Miroslav Miskovic emerges as a paradigmatic leading figure in the context of contemporary Serbian society. This figure, although often talked about, is very rarely present in the mass media. He has been successfully dodging public view, which undoubtedly belongs to the ideological strategy of blurring and creating a favorable ground for further manipulation.
Therefore, it is clear that we are witnessing a propaganda campaign led by a network of private capital and government, which is using mass media as the main ideological weapon of psychological warfare. Through such a media campaign, private capital and government is presenting a distorted picture of protests, insuring against possible biases in the public sphere toward labor. In this sense, the published news doesn’t help workers protest because its factual causes remain completely blurred. Mass media reports rarely delve into deeper analysis of the roots of workers’ current situation.
Micro-systems within the macro system remain completely invisible. This work’s objective is to disclose such structures.

Protest of worker Halko Drustinac, Oil on canvas, 120cmx160cm, 2011
Protest of worker Zoran Bulatović, Oil on canvas, 120cmx160cm, 2011
Figure of a leader Miroslav Miskovic, Oil on canvas, 120cmx160cm, 2011

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