Opinion | On Gobzems’ manipulative methods. «You’re getting screwed»

«Uncovering lies, conspiracies and other made up stories requires a lot more effort and resources than coming up with them. Mass distributed lies are a weapon. Observing [Aldis] Gobzems’ movements for a long time make me wonder if I should throw my 5 cents or not… so here are my 5 m,» says digital marketing specialist Mārtiņš Muižnieks about the methods used by Gobzems.
He also notes on his Facebook page: «This is my conspiracy, not attempts at an analysis.»
Here is Muižnieks’ opinion on the matter.
Gobzems’ movement is not spontaneous
Part one – The foundation. Scrubbing
Us against Them
«It’s either us or them» – these words are replicated in video and text form with disturbing and shameless regularity.
«Us against Them» – one of the most effective (and aggressive) ways for attracting attention and gaining followers.
This mainly plays on our inherent desire to be part of some group. When people see some group, they get a natural curiosity about it – joining it and learning its values. This happens on a subconscious level.
You don’t need to agree with this group’s beliefs 100%. It is enough for at least one point of interest to coincide. The rest happens on its own – people quickly feel the support of the group and become members without even knowing it. Eventually people adapt to things that seemed alien and foreign at first.
A group fights in campaigns. In large herds the point of the fight isn’t really important as the mass effort behind the fighting. This way it is possible to make pseudo-problems into real problems in the minds of the people that are members of a group.
Understanding the problem is not important. What is important is the existence of a problem.
Victory is not important either, because defeat opens the way towards the next enemy and a reason to wage the next «war». Who can say how many campaigns Aldis has had over the years. He fought MPC (mandatory procurement component) and who knows what else. The topic is no longer actively discussed and nothing has come of it, aside from multiple defeats.
Lately the anti-vaccination slogans coming from Aldis have quieted down (this was the case even before the protest). Only the crowd, which is being prepared for the next big step, remains riled up about this topic.
If the problem with Belarusian migrants escalates further and people start talking more and more, you can bet he will jump on this band wagon next.
A clear leader with a clear vision and goals
Masses follow strong leaders, and Aldis works in a free niche here – he is actively working on creating an image of an excellent leader with no alternative found anywhere else.
He positions himself as a figure no one can compare to (the only thing missing is a video of him lifting 100 kg weight in a single go) and all women would want to be with. And it appears he’s doing something right in this regard.
The men that would tie a steel pole around his neck in any other situation nervously smoke, looking at this. They see something every one of them wants to be like. There are no illusions as to how many of them have read party statutes and understood what’s written in them. But he has a plan.
«The plan of action if he was the prime minister…» is conveniently left out of the discussion whenever some important topic comes up. People like clarity, people follow plans. People love being part of the plan, especially if they feel needed and irreplaceable. It’s not the plan that sucks, it’s the lack of any plan that sucks.
Emotions are thrilling, numbers are a wake up call. So no numbers – only emotions
Have you every seen anything written or reported by Gobzems that included statistics or estimates? No, it doesn’t mean he doesn’t understand the concept. Well… only when he needs to exaggerate the number of participants of some protect act or rally. This is especially true for the topic of vaccination, and statistical numbers are the main arguments that are neither mentioned nor compared.
Or as people often say «I don’t have the numbers, but I have an opinion». Instead of numbers, very strong elements are usually mentioned, such as the lives of children and parents’ duty to protect them, nudging them towards anger and immediate defensive position on things.
By putting together these two terms [children and threat], even the extent of the ‘threat’ matters little, because all the people remember is «My children and yours are in danger».
Part two – You’re hooked
«People love me», «People accept me»
No one wants to be with a loser. People want to be with someone everyone accepts, because that way they too will be accepted. (What is ironic is that so far his political career has consisted of failures.) Especially after 18.08 we’ve seen the same claims time and time again – «people like your and me – we are many».
Exaggerating numbers by saying the ruling regime intentionally lowers them all to increase the punch from what comes next.
The forbidden fruit. Another strong that motivates people to act – if something become unavailable, the more highly we value it.
«The regime is scared», «we will come under attack», «there are attempts to cancel us», «we are inconvenient», etc. Such claims have become very topical lately – they create and reinforce the impression people are part of some chosen group. But such claims coming from a leader only reinvigorate and unite people.
With that, the simple public reminded from Latvian State Police is easily misinterpreted and presented as ‘we’re in the right, they will attack us’.
Before 18.08 this was in full force – clear attempts to create an impression of prohibition, ranging from «we’re are attacked on the internet» and ending with «they are doing all they can to prevent us from coming to Riga».
Attempts to create a sense of urgency
>victory will be accomplished,
>they will arrest him because he is inconvenient (ties with the previous point),
>something special will happen, etc.
High level of agitation about something happening. Urgency always makes people listen with more attention. It is important to keep the sense of urgency short – otherwise it will calm down and die out. Covid is one such example – people have to get used to a single source of agitation. This creates the reason and desire to be in the know and not miss anything potentially important.
This can be accomplished using direct communication tools – chats, which people normally follow with an open mind. The longer the read, the more they want to know the hows and whys.
Urgency is a very, very effective tool of manipulation.
Here are some concepts the value of which is being actively devalued thanks to this:
>Usage of the word genocide, both in relation to Jews and Latvians.
>Usage of the word totalitarianism in relation to the current state administration.
>Usage of the star of David in relation to vaccination.
>Usage of the Baltic Way and Barricades.
Here in particular we can see how far this idea has gone for some people, you just need to wait for a performance that would use deportation and livestock rail cars.
The main problem is that an idea that does not have a unifying symbol will quickly fade in the minds of the masses.
Part three – You’re being eaten
Intentional distortion of facts that is often layered with disinformation. This was especially clear in the last couple of hours before the protest. Even before the start of the speech, the slogan was: «They are blocking and gaslighting us like in Belarus!!!»
At the same time, the organizer ignored the fact that nearby mobile communications towers barely even noticed the traffic coming from the crowd of people that were actively using the internet to transfer images and live videos.
Constant testing of narratives and reactions to them
Every now and then Aldis can be seen testing something new.
Reaction to LGBT, masks, religions – everything was tested. The word Maidan appeared and disappeared in a blink of an eye because the Russian-speaking community started loudly protesting (which basically demonstrated this group’s unity).
Communication is being actively tested
All this together with MASSIVE use of all available channels – Facebook, Instagram, Telegram, TikTok, Twitter (and something else?). Free publicity on the largest mass media, both digital and television, provides an opportunity to reach out to viewers directly. The range and intensity is at a level that no Latvian company or brand could even hope to match.
Part four. What’s in the belly of this beast?
Everything mentioned above is a general and surface level description that points out only the most notable influencing elements that this political influencer actively uses.
But looking at all this I want to ask one question worth looking into.
Where does all of this come from?
A single person cannot hope to do this alone. If Aldis did all that on his own, it would be his full-time job just to create and publish digital content.
His Facebook profile alone is managed by 12 profiles. It is impossible to say how many have access.
It is quite curious why, considering the level of high-level betrayals and threats, one would give access to so many people. And why that many? 1 or 3 profiles would be enough to public content regularly. The man is a lawyer and political shark. He must understand how easy things can go sideways. Is it bravery or recklessness?
A bunch of enthusiasts that make posts in their free time?
Publication of content seems intentionally kept in an unsupervised state, because processing would take time, whereas a quick reaction is the trump card for such communication. It has been proven that unprocessed user generated type content often outcompetes properly edited and researched materials.
It is clear everything runs like a well-oiled machine.
It is hard not to notice that everything aforementioned works like a well-oiled machine, following a carefully planned out tactic and guidelines.
This is the general impression – there are high-level professionals at work. With that I have another question – where do all these resources come from?
Obviously I know nothing about life. But I do know it is one hell of a task keeping all this under control. It’s not some short Christmas sale.
It’s not some freelance side-project for some person. Such services cost a LOT. If Aldis is so good at this, he has nothing to worry about when he retires. Even if he drops the idea of working in the government, he can easily open up an advertisement advisory firm or something like that.
Otherwise, if those aren’t local resources, they must be falling from the sky for him. I strongly believe we have not yet seen the true outcome of this campaign. But this is my conspiracy theory. It doesn’t matter how close to the truth it is, I won’t convince anyone anyway.