Socialist Appeal - British section of the International Marxist Tendency: the Marxist voice of labour and youth.

As with the sites of production of other commodities, the sites of media production are simultaneously sites of struggle. Journalists and other media workers can and must struggle against the domination of capital over their professions and over humankind.



As with the sites of production of other commodities, the sites of media production are simultaneously sites of struggle. Journalists and other media workers can and must struggle against the domination of capital over their professions and over humankind. (Read part one)

The struggle of media workers is connected to the struggle of all workers against capitalism. Through mass struggle, workers can fight back and win. Many media workers are unionized, for example, with the powerful Communications Workers of America.

Just as all of human society will be transformed under socialism, so too will the media. Released from the domination of capital, the media will no longer be the preserve of mediocrity, trash culture, and crass consumerism. Without the need to sell human attention spans in commodity form in exchange for advertising dollars, the media will see a flourishing of the arts, entertainment, and genuinely revolutionary journalism as a part of workers’ democracy.

Under the current system of so-called “professional” and “objective journalism,” an inherent bias for the capitalist system exists. When a reporter is taught to be “objective,” what she or he is being taught is to look beyond the subject. This is different from being “impartial,” if that were even possible. The appeal to objectivity, that is, to reality that exists outside subjectivity, is in fact simply a subordination to the hegemony of the bourgeois worldview. Journalism does not exist in a vacuum. Unless journalists adopt the Marxist analysis of class struggle as a revolutionary praxis, they will present the capitalist view by default.

Some would argue that “socialist” forms of media already exist in such institutions as PBS [Public Broadcasting Service] and NPR [National Public Radio] in the United States. Yet, there is a huge difference between these state and public forms and genuinely socialized media. Not only are these media outlets beholden to capitalist ideology under the thumb of “objectivity,” they are completely undemocratic institutions modeled after corporate America. Both NPR and PBS depend heavily on contributions from the same corporations that are the customers of commercial media. Increasingly, “commercial-free” public programming is “sponsored” by “non-commercial” corporate endowments.

Under socialism, a democratic regime would replace the dictatorship of capital in media production. Myriad points of view would be openly expressed and not hidden under the pretense of false “impartiality.” We would have truly “public” media, with access to the media means of production (studios, cameras, printing presses, transmitters, etc.) allocated democratically, based on the amount of support a certain viewpoint has in society. Freed from the profit motive and with public ownership over the media infrastructure, there would be a more varied, fluid, and broad flow of information, reporting, and journalism. Ideas and viewpoints would sink or swim based on whether or not people actually support them, instead of having an unelected, undemocratic minority determining what it is “the public wants.”

Today, viewpoints representing a tiny minority get the majority of the print and airtime. In addition, the newsroom would be run democratically, with supervisors and editors subject to election and recall by working journalists. Liberated from the constraints of capitalism, journalists could truly realize the axiom of their profession and “comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.”

The current factory forms that cage journalism will wither away along with the state as humanity progresses under socialism. As specialization becomes a relic of the past, all of humanity will be able to serve the noble functions of journalism. All who wish to do so will be able to participate in the artistic merits of entertainment production, storytelling, reporting, etc.

One could argue that social media already does this to some degree; but who owns these companies? Websites such as Facebook are already large corporations that operate in the same way as the mass media in selling our attention as commodity. Twitter chose to block certain Occupy Wall Street material and #hashtags. This is why we insist on public ownership of the media under democratic workers’ control.

You cannot rationally plan what you do not control, and you cannot control what you do not own. As long as these outlets are privately owned, they have the “right” to do whatever they and their financial backers please. Furthermore, these “social” media outlets are hardly social in how they are produced. The media produced by these forms are singular and isolated. People sitting at home on a computer or checking in with a smartphone are hardly in a position to challenge capitalism where the real power of the workers to change society lies: the point of production. Only under the higher stage of communism, in which society is organized on the basis of “from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs,” can social media truly have a leveling effect.

Alternative media outlets are important in that they are often expressions of the class interests of the proletariat. The publications of the Workers International League and the International Marxist Tendency, to give an example, consistently put forward a perspective for the liberation of humanity from the wretched rule of capital. Yet, the alternative media is just that, an alternative to the current mass media which is a tool of the capitalist class. In and of themselves, these small alternatives cannot supplant or “get around” the mass media. We cannot be content to merely challenge the mass media through social or alternative platforms. We must aim to take the media into democratic public ownership, to be used to defend the interests of the majority.

Under socialism, the media would be run democratically, under the control of media workers and the trade unions. We should therefore not write off media workers and working journalists as “reactionaries” due to what they are currently producing. Nothing is immutable. By the same token, media workers and journalists must struggle with their class brothers and sisters to liberate their professions and humanity from the domination of capital. Their future is tied inexorably to the rest of their class, just as the future of human progress is inexorably tied to the world socialist revolution.

Socialist Appeal are proud to publish this education guide to help focus your studies of Marxist theory and practice. Visit the various tabs below to find links to introductory articles, classic texts, videos and audio talks for different topics. Read More
Check out this selection of writings for an excellent introduction to many of the fundamentals of Marxist theory, providing a strong basis for those wishing to equip themselves with the ideas necessary in order to fight for socialism. Read More
Dialectical materialism is the philosophy or methodology of Marxism. We must seek to understand the laws of society and nature in order to change them. Read More
Historical materialism is the general theory of how and why society develops in the way it does. Each social system has its inherent laws of motion. If we want to overthrow capitalist society, we must understand how capitalism works. Read More
Marxist economics is the study of the laws of motion of capitalist society, allowing us to understand why capitalism perpetually goes into crisis, where inequality comes from, and what the alternative is. Read More
The Russian Revolution is the greatest event in world history for Marxists. Studying the events of 1917, and understanding why the Revolution degenerated into Stalinism, provides vital lessons for revolutionaries today. Read More
For Marxists, the state is not at all neutral. We must understand the state’s real basis and strip away its mysticism by treating it historically - taking in its origins, rise, and eventual fall. Read More
Anarchism is naturally attractive for those wanting to abolish capitalism. But only Marxist ideas can explain why bureaucracy and oppression exist - and how to overthrow the exploitative capitalist system. Read More
Marxists are irreconcilably opposed to the oppression of women and fight determinedly for liberation and against discrimination. We believe this will be achieved through the class struggle - to abolish the oppressive capitalist system. Read More
The madness of fascism expresses the historic crisis and dead-end of capitalism. But it could have been avoided if the working class had a united revolutionary leadership, prepared to take power. Read More
Nations have not always existed, nor will they always exist in the future. Marxists are internationalists, fighting for world socialist revolution as the only way forward for humanity and our planet. Read More
Wars represent the sharp extreme of capitalism’s impasse. Imperialism, Lenin said, was the "highest stage of capitalism". As long as the profit system exists, there will be wars over markets and spheres of influence. Read More
All written history, Marx stated, is the history of class struggle. Our task is to learn the lessons from history in order to prepare for the revolutionary events taking place today and in the future. Read More
Our aim is to spread the ideas of Marxism, in an organised fashion, amongst workers and youth. In order to do this, we must study the history and traditions of the working class. Read More
  • Educate Yourself
  • The Fundamentals of Marxism: suggested reading
  • Dialectical Materialism and Science
  • Historical Materialism
  • Marxist Economics
  • Russia, Lenin, Trotsky and Stalinism
  • The State
  • Anarchism
  • Women's liberation
  • Fascism
  • The National Question
  • Imperialism and War
  • Revolutionary History
  • Revolutionary Strategy

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