A free range Petaluma, California media report with roots extending all the way to Appalachia, the Raucous Rooster is also a radical, unconventional holler at the working-class to recall its history, and has been the North Bay’s abattoir for sacred cows since 2013. It is reporting for an engaged citizenry, compost for feeding the soil and sowing the seeds of a sustainable democracy of, by, and for the people.
It is also, quite simply, an archive of an extraordinary moment in human history.
The late Australian sociologist Alex Carey – to whom Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky dedicated their landmark work on propaganda, media, and democracy, The Manufacture of Consent – suggested that the 20th century was characterized by three developments of great political importance:
- the growth of democracy
- the growth of corporate power
- the growth of corporate propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power from democracy
Believing Carey’s assessment to have considerable but largely unrecognized merit, the Raucous Rooster seeks to exercise and stretch that democratic muscle, and pursue a course in continuing civic education and intellectual self defense. Such an effort is an absolute necessity in an age when corporations have been granted the rights of people, whose protected speech is expressed in dollars.
Unfortunately corporate and U.S. government-produced propaganda is an intrinsic element of U.S. democracy and exceptionalism in the 21st century, and must be countered by engaged democrats everywhere. To that end, particularly on the subject of mass media and how the American public obtains its news, this Rooster will crow repeatedly and at ungodly hours. It will do so frequently and loudly in support of small-scale farming using agroecological methods, an essential element of preparations for the end of the Age of Oil and a crucial means of mitigating climate change.
Anti-imperialist in orientation, RR aims to support all efforts to end the Military Industrial Complex which has so successfully militarized the planet and U.S. foreign policy that it is presumed the norm that every dilemma facing humanity has a weaponized solution which Uncle Sam will cheerily provide. Tip o’ the hat to Smedley Butler for the heads-up about war being a racket, and to Ike for warning us about the M.I.C. on his way out the door. If only he’d not cemented its firm grip over our society, and fueled Joe McCarthy’s anticommunist hysteria before doing so.
Historian Bruce Cumings, in his preface to the 1988 edition of I.F. Stone’s Hidden History of the Korean War, pointed to the historical dilemma we enjoy continually exploring at the Raucous Rooster:
People with a built-in indifference to history are ill accustomed to retrospective digging, to lifting up rugs, to searching for subterranean forces and tendencies. Exploring the labyrinth of history is alien to the American soul, perhaps because an optimistic people find knowledge of the past too burdensome in the present.
I arrived at our new treehouse amongst the redwoods beneath Mt. Tam in 1980, thousands of miles from the West Virginia home where I’d spent my first thirteen years, with my mother, a new stepfather, a Toy Poodle named Bubbles and my best friend, a black Labrador Retriever named Pancho. The advice that one my mother’s younger brothers had so urgently imparted to me weeks before lingered.
I needed to prepare for the End Times, he had told me, pointing out passages in the Bible that, unlike the text printed on the page, actually meant that Ronald Reagan was about to win the 1980 election, and would, soon thereafter, go on to a much greater victory – the final, cataclysmic conflagration of humanity, defeating evil communists in the Soviet Union, China, and everywhere else in a nuclear war to end all wars. He pointed out passage after passage that had apparently always told this tale, unbeknownst to me.
I wasn’t sure if my Uncle Jeff had come to believe this before joining the Marine Corps, or during his period of service. But the two questions I had not the time to articulate that day remained. Where did he get his news? I hadn’t heard anything of the impending Apocalypse from Walter Cronkite; and where did Jesus Christ stand on the whole nuke-the-commies thing? From what little I knew of Jesus of Nazareth, learned in a Methodist church for the most part, that fella after whom I was named was quite the peacemaker and an unequivocal supporter of the downtrodden of the world regardless of their political affiliation.
So, a few years later, when I discovered the work of that brilliant media analyst, author, and educator, Michael Parenti, these words resonated:
Our fear that communism might someday take over most of the world blinds us to the fact that anticommunism already has.
Here at the Raucous Rooster, long after being university-educated by a collection of right wing Catholics and left wing Jesuits, and a multitude of sociologists, anarchists and atheists, I continue to explore what all this means. I am grateful to my Uncle Jeff for opening my eyes and my mind to the world of anticommunist ideology and dogma, language, and mass media. I remain deeply skeptical of religion, though I suspect Jesus and the Buddha would have got along quite well. The Holy Trinity to whom I continue to turn for guidance and occasionally solace remain Jesus, the Buddha, and Ry Cooder.
Christopher Fisher is the editor of and primary contributor to the Raucous Rooster, not to mention its publisher and chief correspondent. He occasionally takes out the trash around here as well.