Propaganda, Politicians, and the Media
The Ukraine conflict is a war of propaganda where mainstream journalists and social media outlets are compliant in this war. They are “doing their bit”. Was it ever so?
Mainstream journalists are too scared in losing their jobs to be critical of NATO and Ukraine. In Russia they run the risk of losing their lives. Imprisonment in Russia await those exercising dissent or refusal to fight. The media outlets are controlled. The first casualty of war is the truth and Ukraine has followed the same route. No one over 18 was allowed to leave the country. Workers are forced into the armed forces. Criticism of the government is forbidden. Journalists on both sides of the war must please their editors by writing a daily stream of propaganda. They must write from a partisan position uncritically reproducing briefings from government and military officials.
The control of what we can read in the media about the war Ukraine is as controlled as ruthlessly as it was controlled during the First and Second World Wars. The same applies to Russia and its allies. Social media is awash with Russian propagandists, celebrating the death and destruction of the Ukrainian army.
Political leaders have a tight control of dissent about the war in Ukraine and critique of NATO. The Labour Party leader Keir Starmer and a keen supporter of NATO, threatens members of his parliamentary Labour Party with withdrawal of the whip if they do not do as they are told. He has found no dissenters prepared to take him on. Political careers rather than principle is their reply to this political coercion. Socialists remind workers to never have anything to do with political leaders.
Defenders of capitalism have a long record of having no interest in the death visited on civilians in war. How many civilians have been killed, how many workers conscripted into the armed forces have lost their lives or been maimed and injured? Many politicians, including Starmer, have no problem in unleashing a nuclear conflagration upon the world.
The politicians do not care.
Let us recall the interview former US Secretary of State Madeline Albright gave to the journalist Lesley Stahl on the consequences of the sanctions imposed after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. Here is part of the interview:
“We have heard that half a million [Iraqi] children have died. I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima,” asked Stahl, “And, you know, is the price worth it?”
“I think that is a very hard choice,” Albright answered, “but the price, we think, the price is worth it.”
The price of what? What is the price for killing half a million children. The price of access to oil. Sheer callousness from someone who thought of children in Iraq as nothing more than disposable collateral damage. When she died Albright received fulsome praise in the capitalist media. We do not draw a moral line against Albright, she is only doing what capitalist politicians are expected to do.
Then there is President Joe Biden. Workers were told to vote for Biden at the last Presidential election as the “lesser of two evils”. Biden has no regrets in the daily slaughter of Ukrainian soldiers in the US proxy war with Russia. Tens of thousands have already dies and thousands more in the so-called “great offensive”. The same applies to Putin’s regime. Not only has the war in Ukraine seen the death of tens of thousands of soldiers from Russia, mostly conscripts, but the ruling class have secured through patronage the secure safety for their children from having to fight like many did in the US during the Vietnam war. It is only the working class who kill and who are killed in capitalism’s wars.
We should also recall the journalist who write of their support for war from the safety of their armchairs or hotel rooms. First David Aaronovitch late of THE TIMES.
David Aaronovitch was a big supporter of the 2003 invasion of Iraq. He has spent the years since the war claiming he supported the war, on the grounds of “freeing the Iraqis”. Nothing of the sort. In 2003, he wrote that the alleged “weapons of mass destruction” necessitated the war:
“If nothing is eventually found, I — as a supporter of the war — will never believe another thing that I am told by our government or that of the US ever again. And more to the point, neither will anyone else. The weapons had better be somewhere.
The weapons were not, in fact, somewhere. They were nowhere, except, that is, for the use of depleted uranium shells by the US and its allies. When Aaronovitch was asked by a socialist that if he so supported the war in Iraq, why did he not enlist and fight for something he believed in he though the comment was facetious.
Facetious or not, Aaronovitch was a backer of a bloody war for oil. He dismissed those opposing the war as indulging in ‘a cosmic whinge’. Aaronovitch promised to ‘eat his hat’ if weapons of mass destruction were not found. It remains to be consumed.
And yet Aaronovitch, has never stopped believing what governments tell him. Do not rock the boat. Do not think for yourself, do not question, or show dissent. Five to six figure salaries are at stake.
The politicians and the home-bound journalists never go and fight in capitalism’s wars. They leave that to workers forced to join to escape economic hardship or conscripted against their choice.
More recently another armchair general, Paul Mason, gave his views on the killing Russian workers in uniform, most of whom were conscripts.
Paul Mason, supporter of Kier Starmer, now with a weekly comment piece on THE NEW EUROPEAN recently wrote an article ‘Sanctions against Putin aren’t working fast enough…so it will have to be guns’ (19 May 2023). He is a more recent cheerleader of war and the death and destruction of the working class fighting in the conflict.
Mason admits that Russia has by passed Western sanctions, its economy has survived and its industry replacing used armaments. However, he is not deterred that Russia must lose the war and calls for “Total defeat on the battlefield” even though “it will cost many Ukrainian lives”. Another journalist telling others to kill and be killed. Another coward who will not be seen on the front line eking out miserable lives in rain sodden trenches or having to scrape up dead bodies from mortar explosions.
Object and Declaration of Principles
The establishment of a system of society based upon the common ownership and democratic control of the means and instruments for producing and distributing wealth by and in the interest of the whole community.
Declaration of Principles
THE SOCIALIST PARTY OF GREAT BRITAIN HOLDS:
1. That society as at present constituted is based upon the ownership of the means of living (ie land, factories, railways, etc.) by the capitalist or master class, and the consequent enslavement of the working class, by whose labour alone wealth is produced.
2. That in society, therefore, there is an antagonism of interests, manifesting itself as a class struggle, between those who possess but do not produce and those who produce but do not possess.
3.That this antagonism can be abolished only by the emancipation of the working class from the domination of the master class, by the conversion into common property of society of the means of production and distribution, and their democratic control by the whole people.
4. That as in the order of social evolution the working class is the last class to achieve its freedom, the emancipation of the working class will involve the emancipation of all mankind without distinction of race or sex.
5. That this emancipation must be the work of the working class itself.
6. That as the machinery of government, including the armed forces of the nation, exists only to conserve the monopoly by the capitalist class of the wealth taken from the workers, the working class must organise consciously and politically for the conquest of the powers of government, national and local, in order that this machinery, including these forces, may be converted from an instrument of oppression into the agent of emancipation and the overthrow of privilege, aristocratic and plutocratic.
7. That as all political parties are but the expression of class interests, and as the interest of the working class is diametrically opposed to the interests of all sections of the master class, the party seeking working class emancipation must be hostile to every other party.
8. The Socialist Party of Great Britain, therefore, enters the field of political action determined to wage war against all other political parties, whether alleged labour or avowedly capitalist, and calls upon the members of the working class of this country to muster under its banner to the end that a speedy termination may be wrought to the system which deprives them of the fruits of their labour, and that poverty may give place to comfort, privilege to equality, and slavery to freedom.