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Propaganda

Film Review: Home Town Story


'Home Town Story' (Director: Arthur Pierson)

The editor of an American small town newspaper embarks upon a press campaign against the high profits made by various large factories. He eventually “treads on the corns” of MacFarland, the owner of a local surgical apparatus factory. MacFarland interviews the editor and explains that in capitalist production it is not only the capitalist class that reaps a profit. The consumer also gets an interest by getting from the commodity a utility value greater than the commodity’s price. All the modern advantages of scientific and mechanical progress, MacFarland further contends, are due to the expansion of capitalism.

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!

Pathfinders: Coprophilia

Which of these news stories is true: The Queen threatened to abdicate if the Brexit vote won; the Pope supported Donald Trump for president; Hillary Clinton sold guns to ISIS; the Pope called fake news purveyors 'coprophages' (shit-eaters)?

Book Review: 'September Commando - Gestures of Futility and Frustration'

Not so futile

'September Commando - Gestures of Futility and Frustration', by John Yates (AK Press £7.95.)

While the psychological pummelling the working class receives in capitalism is both sinister and fatiguing at the best of times, during election campaigns it seems to plumb depths previously unimaginable. John Yates, an American visual artist and satirist, aims counter the insidious lies and distortions of the ruling class with a counter-culture propaganda of his own. While this is not immediately apparent from the baffling title of this work, the casual reader who perseveres may be rewarded.

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