We’ve been thinking a lot about the media’s effect on the last election. It seems evident to us that all mainstream media is preoccupied only with preventing a leftist popular movement, disenfranchising the working class and spreading misinformation and right wing rhetoric. This is unsurprising when we look at who owns these papers, who is on the editorial boards, and to an extent who the journalists are. What do we do?
There have been many things written about the need for a worker’s newspaper, a worker’s press, alternative publications, and this has been a cornerstone to many small political groups organising across the world. But how do we disseminate outside of our immediate circles, how do we make this information accessible and rigorous, and how do we make sure not to fall in to the pitfalls of assimilation and try to slot ourselves in to existing modes due to preconceptions of how people consume information? We are sharing a publication by Jamie Berrout outlining the idea of the abolition of publishing and the anti-press. Read it on her patreon and donate to her page: https://www.patreon.com/desdeotromar
She says it better than us. We want to try to follow her ideas with the things we write on here. We choose to post on the internet because there is no printing cost, and it’s a place where many people get information now. The advent of the internet has been good for publishing for these reasons, but it has also been bad for these reasons. We do not swallow the idea of ‘fake news’ as a new concept, when ‘Russian bots’ and established right wing rags peddle the same lies and share the same funders.
However it is true that print media is in decline, and the people most effected by this are print workers and working class reporters, photographers and journalists who have largely been usurped by privately educated careerists and columnists. A scarcity leads to more work for people without scruples willing to bend to the editorial line. This extends beyond official publications to the internet, to alt-publications, to zines that exist within narrow frameworks in order to sustain themselves even when not directly funded or supported by institutions, in the hope that one day you can join the salaried ranks. We must kill the neoliberal inside of us, often masquerading as the survival of a marginalised person. If we are doing D-I-Y, we should all be doing it, we need to speak truth to power and we need to do it all the time. We are small and we hope we can grow, but our main concern is staying rigorous in our critiques especially now when capitalism’s crisis is lurching down the path to fascism.
Signing off with a story from history: last image is the front page of the Sun in 1984 when print and production workers, organised in their unions (NUJ), refused to print and handle a front page headline comparing National Union of Miners leader Arthur Scargill to Hitler. Sun owner Rupert Murdoch wanted to thank Thatcher for smashing the monopolies commission which then allowed him to buy 4 British newspapers. Workers at the Sun supported the miners and had fundraised for their strike fund. Murdoch punished the workers by buying Wapping print works and locking the unions out. Look up the Wapping dispute to find out more about how the press became monopolised by Murdoch.