Progressive ideology is founded on the belief that the current system is deeply unjust and must be dismantled by exploiting its weaknesses. While Saul Alinsky is known for advocating such tactics, another influential figure, Yuri Bezmenov, a former Soviet journalist and KGB informant, outlined a concise strategy for ideological subversion in a 1984 interview.
Alinsky’s renowned book presented 13 Rules for Radicals, whereas Bezmenov condensed the subversion process into four stages: Demoralization, Destabilization, Crisis, and Normalization. These stages will seem familiar to anyone observing the recent surge of left-wing protests and the politicization of the COVID-19 pandemic’s final phases.
According to Bezmenov, ideological subversion, also known as “active measures” by the KGB, is a gradual process of brainwashing that alters the perception of reality for every American. The aim is to prevent individuals from drawing sensible conclusions in defense of themselves, their families, communities, and country, despite having access to abundant information.
Stage 1: Demoralization
Demoralization, the initial stage, may take 15 to 20 years to complete, as it involves indoctrinating at least three generations of students with Marxist-Leninist ideology. Bezmenov observed in 1984 that demoralization had already been “basically completed.” Americans were being demoralized by their fellow Americans, thanks to a lack of moral standards and the absence of counterbalancing American values.
Demoralization entails instilling guilt in individuals, particularly the younger generation, by systematically dismantling their faith in their country through education and media narratives. One example is the controversial “1619 Project” by The New York Times, which distorts American history and perpetuates guilt. Guilt becomes a powerful tool in left-wing politics, compelling people to accept punitive government power.
Stage 2: Destabilization
Destabilization is a faster stage, lasting only two to five years. It involves attacking the economy, political system, and culture of the targeted population, while they are still demoralized and unable to effectively resist. The demoralized population becomes susceptible to believing the worst criticisms of their own society and viewing its defenders as enemies, while adversaries become allies. Standards are imposed on defenders, while critics are given free rein.
Today, we can observe segments of modern society that have been demoralized and subsequently destabilized by the American Left. Hostile foreign powers like China and Iran seize the opportunity to reach out to destabilized American communities, seeking to exploit the situation.
During the destabilization phase, hypocrisy becomes the ultimate political sin, with defenders of the system seen as insincere manipulators. Trust and goodwill disappear as people start losing faith in their nation and each other.
Stage 3: Crisis
Once a society has been destabilized, a Crisis can be created, which according to Bezmenov, would take six to eight weeks in the 1980s. In the modern era, crises can unfold even more rapidly. A crisis panics the demoralized and destabilized population, leading them to abandon their legal protections and constitutional ideals. The COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent riots serve as recent examples.
A crisis not only induces fear but also de-legitimizes aspects of the existing system that have already been weakened through demoralization and destabilization. Those controlling public communication have the power to determine which aspects of the system are implicated by the crisis.
Stage 4: Normalization
Normalization, the fourth stage, follows a crisis and involves a violent change in power structures and the economy. Bezmenov referred to “Normalization” as a cynical term borrowed from Soviet propaganda. This concept aligns with the core theme of the 2020 Democratic presidential campaign.
In Bezmenov’s view, if the country allows the crisis to occur and promises people various rewards and a utopian paradise, the nation will be considered “normalized.” However, he cautioned against believing the promises of benevolent dictators who would eliminate free-market competition and establish a Big Brother government in Washington, D.C.
While Bezmenov’s model can be applied to various political campaigns, he emphasized that American left-wing professors and civil-rights leaders were intentionally following this strategy with the goal of achieving destabilization. However, once their role in the process is fulfilled, they would no longer be needed and could face disillusionment and even rejection.
The intellectual supporters of current riots and lockdown measures may face a similar fate if the Democrats win in 2020. While some concessions may be made to appease activist groups, their systemic criticisms of public employees may go unaddressed. Those who no longer serve a political purpose may find themselves discarded.
In summary, the four phases of progressive transformation involve demoralization, destabilization, crisis, and normalization. While these stages can be observed in recent events, it is crucial to analyze and interpret political dynamics within their specific contexts.