Beyond the Left: The Communist Critique of the Media

Beyond the Left: The Communist Critique of the Media

Stephen Harper

Language: English

Pages: 121

ISBN: 1846949769

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub



The ideological distortions of the conservative media, from Fox News to the Daily Mail, are widely acknowledged and often denounced among contemporary critics and commentators. But what if The Guardian newspaper and BBC news, in fact, constitute the most insidious forms of capitalist propaganda? In a wide-ranging and erudite polemic, Beyond the Left analyses capitalist news and current affairs media from a radical perspective. The book rejects the liberal and pluralist paradigms that often underpin critiques of the media, showing how media texts reflect and reinforce the material interests of the ruling class and arguing that the principal ideological menace today is posed not by the right wing, but by the left-liberal media, as it co-opts and obscures radical political positions and reinforces a range of mystifications, from anti-fascism and ‘humanitarian war’ to ‘green politics’. Drawing on the work of radical media critics as well as the writings of revolutionary communist groups and considering the recent reporting of war, industrial action, immigration and the environment, Beyond the Left updates and recharges the Marxist critique of the media.

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immigrants as unruly interlopers. Clearly, much media discourse about immigration issues, even in the liberal media, is aimed at discouraging solidarity with immigrant populations. In his article ‘Getting to the Roots of Radical Politics Today’, Bauman points to the metonymic function of anti-immigrant discourse and to the potential for its political manipulation: Chasing the migrants away, one rebels (by proxy) against all those mysterious global forces that threaten to visit on everybody else

neglected in contemporary critical circles and that their fundamental elements and insights therefore need to be restated. Without doubt, capitalism has been the most dynamic mode of production the world has ever known; Marx himself marvelled at its achievements. Yet capitalist social relations, in Marxian jargon, ultimately become a fetter on the development of humanity’s productive forces. The massive and relentless destruction of human life and infrastructure in the last one hundred years

indicates that capitalism is less and less able to realise its gains in productivity at the social level. The workers’ movement of a century ago recognised what is today so often overlooked or denied: that capitalism, wracked by its internal contradictions, had undergone a decisive shift and had entered a period of decay. Having abolished scarcity and made communism possible by the early twentieth century, capitalism today is an obsolete system whose continuance offers humanity only increasing

influence in the region, aggressively promoting the ‘independence’ of Bosnia and backing the Muslims led by Alija Izetbegović (a Muslim fundamentalist and a member of a group that collaborated with the Nazi Schutzstaffel during the Second World War, committing atrocities against Jews and the resistance movement). As the Yugoslav region that had shown the greatest resistance both to an IMF-led austerity programmes imposed on Yugoslavia in the 1980s – and to the war when it began – Serbia was to be

a wealthy family donates money to a poorer one, having first ensured that its members are deserving of support. In programmes such as these, working class people are urged to ‘better themselves’ through hard work. This in turn tends to deny agency to the working class as a class, implying that complex social problems can be rectified not by the collective action of the workers against their exploiters, but by a combination of individual effort and perhaps, for a lucky few, the deus ex machina of

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