Over 100 MPs From All Parties Unite to Condemn The Murdoch Problem.

107 MPs from all UK political parties are finally doing something about the Murdoch problem.

They’ve signed a scathing letter to The S*n’s editor, calling for the scalp of the journo who wrote their most recent incendiary, racist article. The article in question plumbed new depths for the S*n’s depravity and has been likened to nazi propaganda.

OS5in5The letter was organised by Naz Shah, the Labour MP for Bradford West and details precise examples of how the S*n’s increasingly racist content correlates with spikes in hate crimes.

It follows a joint complaint about the article to the press regulator, IPSO (the Independent Press Standards Organisation), issued by Jewish and Muslim organisations last week. IPSO have received a further 150 complaints about the article so far.

Given that IPSO are famously toothless and Murdoch is notoriously powerful, letter writing and complaining might appear like futile gesture politics at this point.

Here’s why I think it might not be just that.

Firstly and most broadly, gesture politics are not in and of themselves futile. They are a means to an end. An end to the beginning. Doors opening to new possibilities. Politicians from all parties, people of all faiths and none are uniting against racism and Murdochian propaganda. This marks yet another significant milestone in the struggle for real democracy.

During Occupy Democracy‘s occupations of Parliament Square in 2015-16, we heard from numerous ‘insiders’, including politicians and ex-politicians that they and their colleagues were terrified of the tabloids’ power to snoop, smear and blackmail. The corrupting influence of the media was then and is still now one of the fundamental pillars of corruption in Westminster’s Prostitute State and beyond. No politician would propose or support legislation to meaningfully reform the media, for fear that their character and career would be assassinated by the gutter press, such was the reputation of the billionaires behind the curtain.

Reforming and democratising media ownership became one of Occupy Democracy’s principle demands. During these occupations, some of us co-founded Occupy The Media Billionaires working group. One of the core objectives we set ourselves was to embolden and empower good politicians to end the tabloids’ stranglehold over our democracy.

Two years ago, a gesture like this letter from such a large number of the political classes seemed impossible.

The fact that the letter has cross-party support might also prove to be significant in terms of the progressive alliance for electoral reform, which continues to evolve backstage, regardless what the various party leaderships say. (Jeremy Corbyn’s signature was notably absent from the letter of condemnation, though he has warmly welcomed it’s contents).

Out of all the hatred and fear, does this cross-party political faction represent real hope?

dontletmurdochshitinyourheadMurdoch’s power and influence is not to be underestimated. His empire is vast. We must not be complacent or naive, but we should certainly celebrate the victories when they come. We can also celebrate (but not overstate) the fact that newscorp suffered another loss of £629m (2%) in the first quarter of this year.

Two years ago, corporate 1% media held the monopoly on information and the way in which it was shared.

They were ignoring, censoring or distorting social media and citizen journalism.

Over the last year or so, #PostTruth, #AlternativeFacts and #FakeNews was them laughing at us, trying to distract, divide, demoralise and disempower everybody with infantile astroturfing, gaslighting, flame wars and worse.

Now they’re so desperate that they’re literally printing nazi propaganda, blatantly inciting violence. They’ve been fighting citizen journalism since long before social media arrived. The internet offers us the edge we have desperately needed.

This letter marks another significant win in the struggle for a truly independent media, a real democracy and a fairer, more truthful and compassionate world.

This was only the politicians’ first hurdle though. Next, they should be bringing criminal prosecutions against all the Murdochian, Machievellian hatemongers masquerading as journalists.

If they can introduce some meaningful, strong legislation to democratise media ownership then that would be the cherry on the cake.

Here’s the full letter, as originally published by the independent.

Sincere thanks to all the MPs involved, even the Tories and Blairites.


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Reconsidering Voting and Democracy. [PRAXIS]



Followers of this blog will be familiar with my longstanding position on fake democracy. I actively campaign for a real democracy but I’ve never registered to vote; ‘I don’t negotiate with terrorists’. ‘I refuse to legitimise a rigged game’. ‘Don’t vote it only encourages them’. ‘Whoever wins, we’ll still get corporate governance’,…(and other snidey one-liners).

I believe real democracy should be practised daily with our families, friends and the communities we share. If parliament conducted itself with the actual democratic rigour and discipline that most occupations, squats and protest camps do, it would be in a much better state than it currently is.

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Each time the electioneering machine starts up, I stand on the sidelines terrified by the effect it has on everybody, voters and non-voters alike. It’s horrible. You can’t just turn it off, because it effects (infects) everybody. We’re all supposed to have black and white  opinions on things which aren’t black and white and which otherwise wouldn’t interest us in the slightest…we’re supposed to pick a ‘leader’ and a ‘party’…(or snipe and heckle from the sidelines…)

I have expressed my cynicism about the state of electoral politics in this blog and elsewhere ad nauseum.

I’ve also discussed the paradox of the ‘diamonds in the rough’. Principled politicians who actually speak truth to power, offering us hope for a better world. Idealists, in an environment where we must hesitate before using the word ‘idealist’, or ‘idealism’. When did ‘idealism’ become an insult? Idealism should be a virtue but it is generally conflated with naivety….why?

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Continue reading Reconsidering Voting and Democracy. [PRAXIS]

Anarchists for a Progressive Electoral Alliance?

I haz a serious dilemma.

Blair didn’t push all of us to apathy when he ignored the will of the people and took us to war in 2003. Many of us turned to anarchism, in utter disgust at the one party state the UK has effectively become since he dragged the Labour party to ‘the right’.

Like many others of my generation I’ve never registered to vote because in my lifetime the choice has only ever been cosmetic. Which colour boot would you prefer to smash your face in? The parameters of debate have been restricted to manufacture an outcome favourable to the elite 1%.

Now, 13 messy years later, Jeremy Corbyn has offered us a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to reclaim politics which today are described as ‘hard left’ – but which used to just be called ‘left’. Of course the Blairites regard Corbynomics as a ‘dangerous experiment’ – Corbyn is offering us an alternative narrative. It is a blessed relief that they have opted to abandon ship in the latest failed chicken coup. Post Brexit, the political landscape has changed significantly.

It’s comforting to know I’m not the only anarchist facing the dilemma Corbyn presents.

Rupert Murdoch’s The Times reported in May that Andrew Fisher, who urged voters to back the anarchist Class War party during the general election. is to be given overall control of policy in the Labour leader’s office.  Whether this is true or not, I’ve seen quite a number of posts recently from anarchist friends who have joined the Labour party to support Corbyn. There is even a fedbook group, Anarchists for Corbyn. I’ve felt the urge to join them more than once.

In one way it’s interminably depressing. I don’t want to vote for a ‘party’, or a ‘leader’ in an undemocratic system which I know to be inherently, irredeemably corrupt. I have come to loathe party politics and particularly personality politics, but the values Corbyn represents are too significant to ignore. His message is too important and too urgent.

So I’ve welcomed Corbyn’s crusade to change parliamentary politics, but from several arm’s length, with my cynicism still intact. I’ve welcomed it in the same way that I’ve long campaigned for the Green Party’s policies, but I still haven’t registered to vote or joined any political party, because I still haven’t been able to believe that meaningful change can come from the ballot box, or by politely petitioning power to reform itself.

Now though, in the wake of Brexit, the few progressive voices in Parliament are converging around an idea which bears serious consideration. A progressive alliance, to offer a genuine alternative narrative at the ballot box – politicians and grassroots organisers coming together around precisely the sorts of fundamental root and branch reforms necessary for us to survive the increasingly apocalyptic age.

This stream from the Compass event, ‘Post-Brexit Alliance Building’ is a must watch if you’re interested in the question of how we might finally start working together to challenge and overcome the injustices of the modern age.

Caroline Lucas has been calling for a Progressive Electoral Alliance for some time now. Serious talks about how such a pact might work have apparently been taking place since at least February and last week the Green Party published an open letter inviting Jeremy Corbyn, Tim Farron, and Leanne Wood to form this much needed alliance.

At the talk, she said that “true leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders”. She believes that “political pluralism delivers  better results, that no single party has the monopoly on wisdom” – a sentiment echoed by a representative in the audience from Make Votes Matter (Somebody Jordan? Her first name was drowned out by the applause) She said she was “opposed to oppositional politics and wonder if we could make it more than just an alliance of the broad left”. Without the support of some progressive Tories, we will not get the sort of reform we so urgently need.

Take Back The City organiser, Amina Gachinga represented the non-partisan grassroots’ frustration with “the lack of democracy in London and the outrageous levels of inequality that prevail in this society the most unequal city in the global north”. She said “We need electoral reform. This is a time for a rethinking of how politics is being done in this country”

Amina’s contribution received the most rapturous applause of the event.

Is democracy really our best shield against the tyranny of capitalism? Could it also be a sword to defeat injustice? Listening to these people talking about putting aside their differences, I can almost begin to believe it’s possible. Continue reading Anarchists for a Progressive Electoral Alliance?