Political Communication – ELSU Session

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Artist from Porto, and The Worst Tours

Points to an online social network created by and for the social movements n-1.cc Choose communities, make proposals, etc. Has document sharing functionality. Blog representing city. beinternacional.eu Started The Worst Tours to satirise the narrative of austerity to show effects of austerity on streets – e.g. dereliction. Combines urbanism, politics and architecture. Emphasises humour, subvertising as a sort of political defense. Points to the viral humour of the Internet. Municipality is cracking down on graffiti since ppl started making anti-government graffiti. Thinks should focus discussion on other things than debt and economics as these are impermeable to people.

Yiannis Bournos, Syriza

Syriza has 3 papers, 1 daily (6000 per weekend, 1000 per weekday), aligned to Synapsimos, 2 weeklies, aligned to other factions. Facing a funding crisis. Also have a radio station. Big fan of creation of alternative public spheres and left interventions within these spheres to build counter-hegemony. Discusses election in Greece. New Democracy won via a small margin, based on older voters. Younger voters choose abstention. Older voters cannot be reached by digital media, but mainly via television. Greek citizen journalism has expanded, starting in 2008 after police murder of a teenager and also in Occupy moment at Syntagma Square. Citizen journalism has influence Syriza communications strategy. Official website of Syriza is very poor. Created left.gr to compensate. This was main instrument used in electoral campaigns. Biggest enemy was truth team, created by New Democracy, depending on ‘volunteers’ who were paid by ND and imitated Obama Truth Team methodology. Faced them on FaceBook and Twitter and a family of blogs. Defeated Truth Team after TT cut the speech of a Left MP to make it seem like he supported armed struggle. Left.gr reached 20,000 visitors very quickly, exceeded the blogs of the Right very quickly. Created a group of volunteers offering them a physical meeting space. Also used subversive tactics to ridicule the enemy, such as graff artists who created subversive posters. There is also a collection of leftwing trolls called web musketeers. The crisis mobilised people who were apolitical. Humour was most effective at winning these people over. Golden Dawn use their resources to get people to use social media. Try to challenge them via fake accounts (for safety) and massive reports to Facebook. Most important duty is to find a transition from negative discourse to positive, transformative discourse. Started with Resistance, Solidarity, Disobedience, moving to Hope and Change. Slogan in election was Rupture in Greece, Message to Europe. Now they face the task of competing for government, not increasing their forces. Using slogan ‘Make Memoranda History, Overthrow in Greece, Change in Europe’. Try to convince people that a Left victory and Left government could create a larger political rupture throughout the EU. Use word Europe in slogans to try and break nationalist rhetoric which emphasises ‘Greece vs Germany’, Greece vs Europe. Tspiras has spoken of ‘two kinds of Greece’ to try and create a left-patriotic discourse. Electoral success of Golden Dawn showed that fear is a conservative and reactionary force. Problem is how to become popular without becoming populist. It is very difficult. People do not want big narratives and promises. People expect convincing discourse and visible changes. They will not be convinced by a socialist paradise but by ideas for how to ensure access to water, electricity etc. They are not interested in the 25 year plan, which is why the KKE has declined.

European Left communication strategy is poor. Social media is not popular. European Left is not known in the media. Have not constructed a communicative identity. Need a centralised coordination of social media activists. Suggests creating an emergency campaigns taskforce to be established in the Brussels office of European Left. Alternative media is not enough, need intervention in corporate media. Need a news portal to respond to political developments in European Union. Third proposal is to replicate Rosa Luxemburg Foundation left media academy on a European level.

Speaker from the floor – Has been to Rosa Lux media economy. Has found it very useful.
Clara Alonso, IU – Agrees with need to improve EL media & communications strategy. EL Congress can create a laboratory for improving elections strategy. The Right in Spain has been much more aggresssive in attacking the Left due to IU’s growth in popularity.

Hector, from PCE – Spanish media is dominated by right wing. Play with making fun of speeches by the right parties. The PCE paper, Mondo Real, is an old style paper, he never reads it. Needs to be improved.

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