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British Press

Short story: Gus has a shock

 GUS: You socialists ought to be grateful for the glorious institution of the free press instead of criticising the great newspapers as you do.

WILL: Grateful to whom? The so-called Freedom of the Press is, in reality, painfully limited; but such as it is, it was granted because absolutely necessary to commercial development. Material interests dictated it; not any love of the people. The capitalist class give us nothing but what it is to their interest to give, either to increase their profits or stave off their defeat, and we know from bitter experience that we have most to fear when our enemies profess a regard for us.

GUS: But can you deny that the great daily newspapers are glorious and beneficient institutions, fearlessly standing out for truth and purity in public life?

WILL: I emphatically and entirely deny every word of it!

The Prostitute Press

Capitalism has produced many vile institutions, but none more corrupt and degraded than the capitalist Press, by which the workers are systematically hoodwinked and led astray.

Whenever a section of the workers are goaded by the horrible conditions of their existence, into striking, the cheap and nasty Press lets itself go and pours out a perfect deluge of lies. If the men come out in accordance with the wishes of their trade union officials we are told that they have been led astray by demagogues and agitators; if they strike against the wishes of their officials .they are denounced for having thrown over their “responsible leaders ’’!

For example, on the occasion of the strike movement in South Africa last year, when nine of the strike leaders were deported without trial, that organ of light and truth, the “Morning Post,” presented us with the following gems of editorial wisdom:

first editorial.

Running Commentary: PLO Recognition

PLO recognition

    “They’ve taken my legs, but it only means I’m more firmly planted in the soil.” Mayor Bassam Shaka of Nablus (3.6.80).

The terrorist attacks which maimed two West Bank mayors and wounded other Palestinians in Hebron last month were the climax of weeks of mounting violence in the area, provoked by what all governments would term “necessary vigilance for the security of the state”. The victimisation of communities, refugee camps and families by the Israeli security forces—together with arbitrary searchings and beatings—are having the effect of driving the most “moderate” Palestinians into the arms of the Palestine Liberation Organisation, something that Sadat’s visit to Jerusalem in the heady days of 1978 was designed, in part, to prevent.

Editorial: Government By The Press

In every case where there is a conflict of interests between the master class and the working class, the former close up their ranks and present a solid front against the latter. That they may do this in various ways does not alter in the least the unity of purpose in their actions.

Thus when a strike is threatened or takes place, say on the part of those engaged in the production or transport of munitions of war, while the Tory or Yellow Press papers may call for the direct application of military measures against the strikers and the Liberal papers appeal to them by “Open Letters" and so on, both are solid in demanding a return to work in the ‘'national” interests, or for “patriotic” purposes. And both support the use of the military against the strikers once this course is decided upon. The first method is the more open and easily understood by the workers, the last is the more slimy and deceiving.

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