Socialism/Anarchism/Libertarian Communism in one country

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Fall Back
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Oct 25 2004 12:02
Socialism/Anarchism/Libertarian Communism in one country

Does anyone think this is possible? Or does it require a world revolution?

(for the record, i side with the latter, and hae been really confused by the numbers of anarchists who think you can build anarchism in one country, hence this post.)

3rdseason
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Oct 25 2004 12:06

Well it wouldnt be a country and it probably wouldnt recognise borders.. In theory maybe it could happen on an island but in practise, no.

yozzee
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Oct 25 2004 12:08
Jack wrote:
Does anyone think this is possible? Or does it require a world revolution?

(for the record, i side with the latter, and hae been really confused by the numbers of anarchists who think you can build anarchism in one country, hence this post.)

It has to begin somewhere.

3rdseason
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Oct 25 2004 12:12

Perhaps in the aftermath of a huge war or a nasty virus or climate change or suchlike.

3rdseason
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Oct 25 2004 12:26

Obviously it would be a steep learning curve and the other governments would probably release loadsa propaganda about a need to "liberate" the country but perhaps if there was enough foreign sympathy and so on it could work. There would be mistakes made but overall it could work.

Like I said, in theory it could happen. Practically speaking it would be extremely difficult but not impossible (unless they all continued abusing animals and so never fully liberated the place from opression and then this abusive living arrangement meant eventually eveveryone was at each others throats again).

yozzee
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Oct 25 2004 12:26
Jack wrote:
Yes, but can you BUILD it in one country?

ie- there's an anarchist revolution in France. It's awesome. The fash all get strung up. The Stalinists are forced back. The Trot's dither and write letts to their leader out of the country, but the war makes the letters take so long to arrive, that they don't get involved. The working class win. Self management is set up of every work place. Meat production goes up 300%. All the communtiies are locally self organised.

HOWEVER...

This hasn't happened anywhere else in the world.

Can this be successful?

I doubt it because it's likely to be attacked from capitalist forces outside. If however what you described was to happen in US it may be a different story.

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Oct 25 2004 12:30

if it has worked to an extent in an isolated athoritarian communist country like cuba, then why not libertarian?

Probably not if the meat production goes up 300% because then they'd be relying on so much imported wheat for feed wink Just a joke!

Would depend on the solidarity in other countries though.

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JDMF
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Oct 25 2004 14:05

well, looking at the state of anarchist movement at the moment, i guess that country would split into several smaller sections immediately and they would refuse to talk to eachother. Also, more time would be spent on arguing on the finer details of the utopian situation that fighting the imperialist/capitalist forces gathering on the borders.

captainmission
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Oct 25 2004 14:17

would we really need to worry about the invading imperialist/capitalist forces? Wouldn't they just be cream puff liberals and only what you'd expect really? So quit you're whining hippie Mr. T

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And anyway, in real terms a functioning libertarian communist society, where the ruling class COULDN'T point to it's horrors (eg, work camps in Russia, lack of democracy in Cuba etc.) would be a far, far bigger threat to global capitalism than Cuba has been.

Why should little things like facts get in the way of a war? I'm sure they'd find enough anarchist shagging dead nuns and soliders pulling babies out of incubators if they looked hard enough. I mean what would they make of our samauri sword welding and baby eating malita columns?

captainmission
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Oct 25 2004 14:39

yeah,

you said that in a libertarian communist society the ruling classes couldn't point to horrors. My point is that largely doesn't matter cos they can invent them- such as they invented stories of anarchist shagging dead nuns in spain, Iraqi troops throwing babies out of incubaters or mayday protesters weilding swords confused

redyred
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Oct 25 2004 14:51

As well as being under constant attack from the capitalist world, there would also be economic problems for an isolated revolutionary nation. because it would lose it's exports and be set back with restructuring its production to produce what it needed within the country.

Luckily because of the global interconnectedness of capitalism, it is fairly likely that if one country had a revolution, at least a few others would topple at the same time. Working class power is never isolated in one country - it has booms and bust just like the capitalist economy, probably most significantly in the mid 1840s and the late 1910s. And capitalism is much more globalised now than it was then, so the surges in working class militancy should be even more synchronised.

3rdseason
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Oct 26 2004 17:13

Im not sure whether it would be under constant attack if it was really libertarian.

I think that the global media are independent enough that people would see that there wasnt any point in charging in and buthchering people who are attempting to be peaceful and co-operate for the good of everyone. There would be loads of camera crews inside reporting on it.

Mike Harman
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Oct 26 2004 17:29

If it happened in the US, there wouldn't be that much other countries could do about it (the population would still have a lot of military hardware at their disposal for one). Outside the US, not a lot of luck, it'd depend on international communication networks keeping what's going on in the country as open as possible, and concerted groups in other countries maintaining close links.

3rdseason
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Oct 26 2004 17:30

People would know what was going on. News reporters get EVERYWHERE.

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Steven.
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Oct 26 2004 22:43
3rdseason wrote:
Im not sure whether it would be under constant attack if it was really libertarian.

I think that the global media are independent enough that people would see that there wasnt any point in charging in and buthchering people who are attempting to be peaceful and co-operate for the good of everyone. There would be loads of camera crews inside reporting on it.

LOL - puh-lease tell me you're joking!!!!

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cantdocartwheels
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Oct 27 2004 11:19

I think it relies more on finer details rathert than an either or situation, if a revolution succeeds in one geographical area, lets say a reasonable portion of south america, and you have a hodge podge of left-communist, anarchist and libertarian socialist groups in charge of sections of the region, how long could it feasibly last on its own, excluding internal strife and the ever present problem of drug traficcing and mafia corruption.

say

1 year?

3 years?

5 years?

10 years?

Looking honestly at which nations can send a large million strong invasion force backed up by chemical and maybe nuclear hardware, you havte to focus on the key powers. China, Russia, the US, Western Europe and maybe the secondary powers at some stage, Australia, South Africa, India anud Brazil. Al though the secondary powers don't have as much hardware and also can't support such long term campaigns for various reasons, except australia. This world being what it is it depends a great deal on where this revolution is as to its survivability and the ferocity of the campaign mounted against it.

I think i agree, revolution in one region has a limited lifespan, people aren't going to keep signing up to die for some ideological stance, people will fight for materail interests. A protracted war against better armed and equipped forces offers people nothing.

john

qwerty
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Oct 27 2004 16:19

The main issues would probably be (a) counter-revolution funded by remaining capitalist powers and (b) economic and political isolation (both have been mentioned already),

The pragmatic solution would be a libertarian revolution (but not a libertarian communist revolution), eg along the lines of Proudhon's 'mutualism' where private property is abolished but possession is respected/protected. The reasoning is twofold - a libertarian communist society (i.e. mutual aid, not money) would be unable to interact economically with the outside (capitalist, propetied) world in any significant way, but if makets remained while capital was owned jointly by its possessors (i.e. workers, tennants), imports/exports of essential goods could continue, preventing isolation and the seige condition that may usher in an authoritarian 'defensive' response a la Cuba. Secondly, there being a market would dissuade capitalist powers from attacking (not suggesting appeasement, but tactical survival).

Its important to remember that many supporters of capitalism support it because they believe it is the best economic arrangement to maximise freedom (eg. see Milton Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom), as opposed to 'communism' i.e. marxism/leninsm/trotskyism/stalinism/maoism, the cold war era authoritarian 'other'. The 'threat of a good example' from a libertarian revolution may be the impotus for capitalist powers to try and crush it, but they would certainly face internal dissent. If they tried to suppress the dissent the capitalist countries would show themselves to be the authoritarian 'other' that they made out the soviet bloc countries to be, losing further support domestically. Thus any attempt to crush the 'good example' could merely prove how good an example it is to the populations of remaining captalist regions.

The key would be propaganda, it may only take one false flag 9/11 type op blamed on the 'anarchist terrorist revolutionaries' to do the trick. However, its worth remembering the propaganda system is based on internalised values, not overt control. If the facts were plainly the opposite the corporate line, many corporate journos would catch on. They may then lose their jobs, but how many well known journos could be sacked/have accidents without it being obvious what was going on - the majority of people saw straight through the Iraq war propaganda after all. This is where solidarity networks and indypendent media networks in the non-revolutionised regions would be key. The power of the capitalist class is based on the myth of liberal democracy. Fascism may be capitalism's defensive mode, but it also provokes a revolutionary response. This is the weakness of capitalist power relations - its based on the idea of liberty which a libertarian revolution would demonstrate to be a mere comfortable cell in comparison. If the capitalist class resorted to fascist means to defend its privelege, it would merely forment global revolution . . .

Thus a successful non-communist libertarian revolution could act as a catalyst for global change, and mutual aid could replace market exchange as the geographical region run on libertarian principles became large enough to support it. Remember the primary problem with market exchange is inability to pay the market price (as well as failiure to cost externalities such as environmental damage) - the abolition of private property and respect for possession a la proudhon would massively equalise income by making a capitalist class impossible, thus making markets a tolerable compromise for the sake of formenting further revolution . . .

just my thoughts anyhow . . . make any sense? it all came out as a stream of consciousness eek grin

yozzee
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Oct 27 2004 22:43
qwerty wrote:
The main issues would probably be (a) counter-revolution funded by remaining capitalist powers and (b) economic and political isolation (both have been mentioned already),

I'm not sure that economic and political isolation would be the problem you think. Most individual countries are still relatively rich in natural resources. The common ones being earth, sunlight, wind, water etc.

Quote:
The pragmatic solution would be a libertarian revolution (but not a libertarian communist revolution), eg along the lines of Proudhon's 'mutualism' where private property is abolished but possession is respected/protected. The reasoning is twofold - a libertarian communist society (i.e. mutual aid, not money) would be unable to interact economically with the outside (capitalist, propetied) world in any significant way, but if makets remained while capital was owned jointly by its possessors (i.e. workers, tennants), imports/exports of essential goods could continue, preventing isolation and the seige condition that may usher in an authoritarian 'defensive' response a la Cuba. Secondly, there being a market would dissuade capitalist powers from attacking (not suggesting appeasement, but tactical survival).

Interesting ideas but by maintaining an essentially capitalist economy with financial rewards as the incentive you would be allowing the reactionaries the foothold they need to recouperate.

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Its important to remember that many supporters of capitalism support it because they believe it is the best economic arrangement to maximise freedom (eg. see Milton Friedman's Capitalism and Freedom), as opposed to 'communism' i.e. marxism/leninsm/trotskyism/stalinism/maoism, the cold war era authoritarian 'other'. The 'threat of a good example' from a libertarian revolution may be the impotus for capitalist powers to try and crush it, but they would certainly face internal dissent. If they tried to suppress the dissent the capitalist countries would show themselves to be the authoritarian 'other' that they made out the soviet bloc countries to be, losing further support domestically. Thus any attempt to crush the 'good example' could merely prove how good an example it is to the populations of remaining captalist regions.

The problem with a libertarian equivalent to Cuba would be that it's libertarian not authoritarian. Cuba hasn't been crushed because it is still authoritarian. The state is in place, leaders are in place and the people are still ruled. Remove those essential components of authoritarianism and the reaction to Cuba would be very different.

Quote:
The key would be propaganda, it may only take one false flag 9/11 type op blamed on the 'anarchist terrorist revolutionaries' to do the trick. However, its worth remembering the propaganda system is based on internalised values, not overt control. If the facts were plainly the opposite the corporate line, many corporate journos would catch on. They may then lose their jobs, but how many well known journos could be sacked/have accidents without it being obvious what was going on - the majority of people saw straight through the Iraq war propaganda after all. This is where solidarity networks and indypendent media networks in the non-revolutionised regions would be key. The power of the capitalist class is based on the myth of liberal democracy. Fascism may be capitalism's defensive mode, but it also provokes a revolutionary response. This is the weakness of capitalist power relations - its based on the idea of liberty which a libertarian revolution would demonstrate to be a mere comfortable cell in comparison. If the capitalist class resorted to fascist means to defend its privelege, it would merely forment global revolution . . .

Thus a successful non-communist libertarian revolution could act as a catalyst for global change, and mutual aid could replace market exchange as the geographical region run on libertarian principles became large enough to support it. Remember the primary problem with market exchange is inability to pay the market price (as well as failiure to cost externalities such as environmental damage) - the abolition of private property and respect for possession a la proudhon would massively equalise income by making a capitalist class impossible, thus making markets a tolerable compromise for the sake of formenting further revolution . . .

grin

Explain to me how a market, money based economy ferments revolution. I'm intrigued.

qwerty
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Oct 28 2004 11:29

Capitalism is a social relationship. The institution that embodies this relationship is private property. I follow Proudhon in distinguishing this from possession, ie possession is my right not to lose my home when i pop out to the garden, property is my right, backed by the coercion of the State, not to lose my home even when i live elsewhere and it has been paid for by others (i.e. tennents) many times over through rent. Possession clearly protects liberty, whereas property subjugates the liberty of the tennant to that of the proprietor.

The general feeling of this thread seems that libertarian communism would be unlikely to survive in one region, thus I proposed a way in which a libertarian revolution could survive, and consolidate itself. I advocate the abolition of private property, thus the abolition of capitalism, and so the democratisation of production. We can have as democratic a polity as we like - federations of directly democratic assemblies, whatever.

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Explain to me how a market, money based economy ferments revolution. I'm intrigued.

Markets are obviously closely associated with capitalism, but I think we can agree they do not define it - the ownership of capital as private property and the resulting social relationship does. This association however creates a danger in knee-jerk reactions against markets. It appears to me the problems of a market based economy can be summarised as follows:

1. It descriminates on grounds of wealth, choice is only for the rich.

2. Inequalities of power negate the supposed voluntariness of transactions

3. Market pricing fails to cost 'externalities' like destruction of the environment or communities

1 should not be an issue in the above described revolutionary society as private property would have been abolished so incomes would be far more even as living off the labour of others would be much harder (if not impossible) than under capitalism . A potential problem would be the 'unemployed', with no income therefore no spending power (depending on the monetary system, see below) - local assemblies could e.g. co-ordinate with production co-ops to allocate some surplus production to them. 2 - the abolition of private property and the establisment of a democratic polity pretty much negates this point. As to 3 - the democratic assemblies could 'legislate' (so to speak) that 'accounting rules' (sorry for the capitalist jargon) must incorporate the full cost of production, including the clean up of pollution produced etc, eradicating products with costly externalites via market pricing, arguably less authoritarian than an outright ban on harmful activities.

On the subject of markets, it is important to note that a mutual aid economy is a form of market in that supply and demand interact directly, though not via a pricing mechanism, to match production to consumption. Capitalist economists would say that if price was zero, demand would be infinite, libertarian communists say bollocks. Capitalist economists say if wages were zero, production would be nil, and libertarian communists say bollocks. The point is supply and demand still interact in a decentralised manner to match productive capacity to wants and needs - the essence of a market. Furthermore, although not obviously apparent, there is still exchange in a mutual aid economy. If someone was, for example, obtaining things for free in our revolutionary libertarian communist region, but then exporting them (no borders on our side) to capitalist regions and selling them at market rates, we would surely prevent them from obtaining further things for free, since that would allow them to live off society's labour and boost the economy of capitalist nations. Thus because they were not contributing to society they would be prevented from taking the piss and draining our resources, hence the mutual in mutual aid. Mutual aid is merely complex, diffused social exchange rather than the more individualised exchange of markets.

Quote:
Explain to me how a market, money based economy ferments revolution. I'm intrigued.

Money doesn't have to be created by banks or the state. It doesn't have to imply the existence of debt or usury (forms of property, which are abolished). The currency, or multiple currencies of our libertarian society could be 'mutual credit currencies' or similar - created at the point of use in sufficient quantities so as to facilitate complex multilateral barter (one step short of a libertarian communist mutual aid economy). The experience of these currencies (eg Ithaca hours, the 'barter tokens' of the argentinian libertarian 'markets') has shown that they tend to lead to mutual aid since monetary exchange is pointless between equals - wealth is defined relatively, thus equals have less need for money at all. However, while the currency(ies) exist, they allow interaction with the outside world (perhaps only with egalitarian co-ops - Zapatista coffee woo hoo!). I would imagine such interaction would be essential for any society more complex than peasant agriculture, and thats without factoring in a domestic 'defence' industry if one was needed to arm ourselves.

Hope that clarifies what i'm on about - in terms of formenting further revolution, the existence and survival of a region run on libertarian terms would presumably set an example to the rest of the world and strip capitalism of its (absurd) claim to be the only economic arrangement that can gurantee liberty and democracy. If the revolution was successful, i would expect serious migration into the libertarian region, particularly from capitalism's sweatshop states (Haiti, Viet Nam etc). I would further expect many of these people to want to return home to have revolutions there, if they like what they see, eg. I don't just move to Chiapas, I agitate for social revolution in the UK. In any case the existence of a borderless libertarian society would deprive global capitalism of its pool of cheap outsourced labour since people could migrate out of poverty. There may be a limit to this migration (before you shout 'racist', i don't think the UK could support a billion people for instance), but global capitalism would be undermined and the majority of humanity supportive of the revolution, and thus inclined to overthrow the remaining capitalist powers . . . Sorry its so long, but its a pretty complex hypothetical scenario we're discussing, and I thought I'd better do a good job explaining my advocacy of money and markets as tools of anticapitalist revolution!

captainmission
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Oct 28 2004 13:53
Jack wrote:
Yes, because when such things aren't happening at all, it's JUST as easy to pretend they are for a sustained period of time, and to keep the rest of the worlds population totally fooled.

now there's no need to get shirty dear tongue

but as i'm concerned the capitalist press can keep up consistent misrepresentation and outright lies for prelonged periods of time- its the basis on which democracies fight their wars.

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The fact that, for example, people wouldn't be lining up to escape would make no difference at all.

roll eyes

think this anarchist country might have a few memebers of the ruling class wanting to escape by any chance?

captainmission
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Oct 28 2004 13:59
yozzee wrote:
I'm not sure that economic and political isolation would be the problem you think. Most individual countries are still relatively rich in natural resources. The common ones being earth, sunlight, wind, water etc.

yeah but not so great if you don't have oil needed to make plastics for use in say, medical equipment, or metals need to make solar pannels or computers.

bigdave
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Oct 28 2004 15:21

When the forces of capitalism can dictate to national governments how to organise their economy (WTO etc), small revolutionary countries are pretty up against it.The solution HAS to be to organise better and the previous reams of political theory, although informative, do not really address the issue.

3rdseason
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Oct 28 2004 17:09
George'sBush wrote:
3rdseason wrote:
Im not sure whether it would be under constant attack if it was really libertarian.

I think that the global media are independent enough that people would see that there wasnt any point in charging in and buthchering people who are attempting to be peaceful and co-operate for the good of everyone. There would be loads of camera crews inside reporting on it.

LOL - puh-lease tell me you're joking!!!!

No I honestly think that.

During the Iraq war the BBC and ITV consistently reported any bombing of civilians or allied troops killed even though it was against the interest of the allied governments. I think the same would happen.

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Steven.
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Oct 29 2004 01:49
3rdseason wrote:
No I honestly think that.

During the Iraq war the BBC and ITV consistently reported any bombing of civilians or allied troops killed even though it was against the interest of the allied governments. I think the same would happen.

Well how about the fact that in every previous military intervention against a revolution the media has always invented 700 shades of bullshit to justify it? (or just ignore it...)

Sorry mate but capitalists just aren't that nice!

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JDMF
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Oct 29 2004 07:56

GB, i think you are approaching this in too balck/white terms. Think about it, don't you think press/media freedom has greatly increased in the last 50 years? Don't you think that the diversity of reporting has increased as well? Don't you think the reporting from a possible libertarian socialist country would be quite different today than it would have been 50 years ago?

qwerty
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Oct 29 2004 08:46
Quote:
don't you think press/media freedom has greatly increased in the last 50 years? Don't you think that the diversity of reporting has increased as well? Don't you think the reporting from a possible libertarian socialist country would be quite different today than it would have been 50 years ago?

If reporters reported truth about a libertarian anticapitalist revolution, they'd quickly lose their job - look how they made an example of andrew gilligan for saying something which was 95% demonstratably true (if only politicians got the same zero tolerance wink ) That's how the propaganda system works - a small number of editors, handpicked by corporates control everything that gets printed. I was speaking to an activist who had a piece published in the guardian but they edited it to fuck without checking with them first; changing a nuanced though empathetic criticism of suicide bombings for targetting civilians into an outright condemnation with no regard for why it happens.

Now if lots of well-known reporters started losing their jobs that could destroy residual trust in the media - and if they all started posting on indymedia we could simply bypass the propaganda . . .

captainmission
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Oct 29 2004 11:37
Jack wrote:
Yes, but unlike in say, Cuba, an anarchist society wouldn't be forcibly keeping them in, would it? Presumably, most would be killing in the fighting, executed, left to fuck off out of the 'geographical region' or to join in the building of a new society.

well i wouldn't want members of the ruling class running off with half the national treasury live a new life in somewhere like florida, like Somoza or idi armin. There's got to be some way of preventing 'capital flight'. And since this geographical areas going to be surrounded by other capitalist nations borders are going to have to be regulated some how- in the very basic sense of stopping an invasion.

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Anyway, I bet YOU'RE not dressed as a pirate

no but i am dressed as a skeleton

plus i bet i make a way more hardcore pirate than you

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v120/roserat/robpinksmall.jpg grin

captainmission
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Oct 29 2004 12:01
JDMF wrote:
GB, i think you are approaching this in too balck/white terms. Think about it, don't you think press/media freedom has greatly increased in the last 50 years? Don't you think that the diversity of reporting has increased as well?

whatever supposed gains in press freedom have been cancelled out by increasing corporate control of the major news providers. Also the increased deskilling and precarity (its the the offical beyond ESF word of the month smile ) in jornualism- computer aided design of stories, outsourcing work to india- allows for less imput for sympatheric jounralists.

As for increased diversity? well we might have the interent now, but then we've lost thousands of small printing presses.

Quote:
look how they made an example of andrew gilligan for saying something which was 95% demonstratably true (if only politicians got the same zero tolerance )

focusing on gillian/that dead scientist guy/hutton was simply a great piece of misdirection. The main 'scandal' become that some middle-class white guy killed himself rather than 100,000 iraqis and 1000's of working class squadies died. it takes something we all know- politicians are liars and makes it a scandal- some terrible rarely occuring trangression, that the political system then heals it self of. It was an arguement amongst different memebers of the establishment that in the end benifits both of them. The BBC proves their 'independence' and 'neutrality'- inspite of the fact analysis of the media showed them to be most complicit with government propaganda, whislt the goverment can portray even the most mild of criticism as unfair lefty nonsense.

News media don't just create some hegemony story to support the state, but also set the outlines of pemisable dissent- thereby maintaining the illusion of objectivity and plurality.

qwerty
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Oct 29 2004 18:25
Quote:
It was an arguement amongst different memebers of the establishment that in the end benifits both of them. The BBC proves their 'independence' and 'neutrality'- inspite of the fact analysis of the media showed them to be most complicit with government propaganda, whislt the goverment can portray even the most mild of criticism as unfair lefty nonsense.

Agree completely. The point I was making was that even saying something we all know is true (politicians lie) got a journalist sacked (though he'll probably 'repent' and get a prime time slot in a year). Relying on the corporate press, or for that matter corporate anything for an anticapitalist revolution is a little niave. Hence the need to build independent media structures like indymedia and 'corrective' stuff like medialens' media alerts.