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Propaganda

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.

Those War Films

War films, like Westerns, are always in fashion. From Hollywood and elsewhere, there flows a constant stream of films about heroism, cowardice, battles, bombings and butchery generally. So, at regular intervals, we sit transfixed in our cinema seats, while jet planes zoom overhead and the U.S. marines go in to finish off yet another bunch of anti-democratic savages. Satisfying? Maybe. Harmless? Improbable. But useful? Very rarely.

War is, after all, a serious subject. Yet, of the enormous number of films that have been made about war, one can count on one's fingers those which say something intelligent, useful or constructive about it.

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