In the August edition of Proletarian last year we reported on the News of the World phone-hacking affair and concluded that phone hacking, along with all the other sordid means (including straightforward bribery and corruption) by which tabloids get their ‘scoops’ are, although nasty, tacky and often illegal, hardly a well-kept secret.
We pointed out that, although the type of gutter journalism that dredges up sensationalist stories on anyone in the public eye seems particularly repellent, the rest of the mainstream bourgeois media are hardly in a position to take the moral high ground.
Even those journalists who don’t use these methods have no problem in turning their pens to the yellow journalism that turns truth on its head for political reasons. These spivs are ever ready to beautify the bourgeoisie and its crimes against humanity while demonising the victims or intended victims of British imperialism’s crimes – usually by the simple expedient of calling them criminals!
Our article also pointed out that, should Murdoch completely fall from grace with the establishment, there were many other would-be media moguls waiting to take his place, all of whom would represent the interests of the bourgeois class with equally ruthful glee.
Perhaps the most important point made in that article was regarding the intricate and incestuous network of personal connections that were just then starting to be exposed between politicians, the police and the media.
Since then, the Leveson inquiry into press standards has been instigated and the News of the World has closed down in disgrace, only to be succeeded by the Sun on Sunday. But, to paraphrase the Bard, a tawdry purveyor of lies and titillation by any other name would smell as offensive!
The interconnectedness of big business with the arms of the state comes as no surprise to Marxists, since both Marx and Lenin long ago revealed that the real business of ruling Britain (or any other capitalist country) is carried out far from the public eye.
With every witness and every statement at the inquiry, meanwhile, a detailed picture of those connections has been building up – almost like watching a spider’s web being built, with the name of some politician, policeman or media executive at every strategic point overseeing all the bribes, tip-offs, promotions and job-switches, greased palms and use of private investigators and phone hackers.
This spider’s web of bourgeois mutual-advantage connections includes top policemen Sir Paul Stephenson, Cressida Dick and John Yates, media executives Rupert Murdoch, James Murdoch, Elisabeth Murdoch, Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson (who was last employed as David Cameron’s media advisor), and politicians David Cameron, Gordon Brown, Tony Blair, Nick Clegg, Ed Miliband, and George Osborne – to name just a few. Even the man appointed by Cameron to run the inquiry, Lord Justice Leveson, admits to being on friendly terms with Matthew Freud, the husband of Elisabeth Murdoch, and to dining at his home!
A number of former Murdoch employees have been arrested and several payments to police officers have so far been admitted to. No doubt these are just the tip of the iceberg, but how much of what remains hidden up to now will be revealed during the course of the inquiry remains to be seen.
At time of writing, it seems that a high-level sacrifice has after all been deemed necessary. Rebekah Brooks has been charged with conspiring with her 49-year-old husband, millionaire Charlie Brooks, her personal assistant Cheryl Carter, her chauffeur Paul Edwards, her security man Daryl Jorsling, and News International head of security Mark Hanna to ‘conceal material’ from police between 6 and 19 July.
Mrs Brooks and Ms Carter are further accused of conspiring to remove seven boxes of material from the News International archive between 6 and 9 July.
And in a third charge, Mr and Mrs Brooks, Mr Hanna, Mr Edwards and Mr Jorsling are accused of conspiring to conceal documents, computers and other electronic equipment from police officers between 15 and 19 July.
It may well be that the assertion of Mr Brooks that he and the others are scapegoats is true – it is not unusual for reasonably high up scapegoats to be used to carry the can when something can no longer be hidden. But that does not mean that they are not guilty of those offences; it just means that those even higher up can be saved, and will no doubt be suitably grateful to the ‘fall guys’ after the farce is over.
Meanwhile, workers in Britain would do well to take heed of this lesson in the nature of the bourgeois state, for it blows to smithereens the parliamentary day-dreams of the majority of what passes for the ‘left’.
The fact is that every detail exposed by the Leveson Inquiry only confirms the Marxist teachings on the state, which more than a century ago demonstrated conclusively that the capitalist state is run, not from Whitehall and Westminster, but from the back rooms, board rooms and gentlemen’s clubs of the big business elite. Or, as Marx and Engels put it in the Communist Manifesto: “The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.”
Not for nothing did Tony Blair have three phone conversations with Rupert Murdoch in the week before Britain invaded Iraq. Two million marchers could more easily be ignored than one important member of the British ruling class!
Blair also made a point of cosying up to Rebekah Brooks. Indeed, Brooks’s position as a highly-paid lackey of the bourgeoisie could in many ways be seen as senior to the prime minister’s in terms of the influence she personally wielded and the power of the people she represented. Tony Blair, by his abject grovelling and crass toadying (donning white robes on the banks of the Jordan for the baptism of Murdoch’s baby son, for instance) clearly hoped to get a leg-up onto a rather more lucrative career ladder once he had left office.
Politicians understand, if the majority of people still don’t, that they are paid to do the bidding of the capitalist class, not to listen to the views of the wider ‘electorate’ that they pay lip-service to. And the media, owned by, and serving the interests of, the capitalist class, are there to keep us all distracted and brainwashed – persuading us of the reality of the parliamentary sideshow, and finding a myriad ways to let us know every few years who we should be voting for.
At its most basic level, our ‘democracy’ amounts to the ruling class deciding which party would best serve its interests in government, and then using every means at its disposal to make sure that we vote accordingly. Governments that want to stay in power must carry out the programme of the ruling class, or they will soon find the capitalist media ripping them to shreds and transforming them from ‘statesmen’ into pariahs in the eyes of the British public.
Hence the blatant kowtowing to media moguls such as Murdoch by career politicians such as Blair, Brown, Cameron and every other party leader, in or out of government – which has not changed, but only become more public in recent years.
So let us learn our lesson and steel our resolve. While the capitalists are allowed to spread their lies from every TV station and newspaper, the masses will never be in a position to maintain control of their destiny, even if they have won political power through revolutionary struggle. There can be no half measures when it comes to saving the world from capitalist barbarism: it is them or us; the tiny minority or the masses of the people; democracy for the few or for the many. And only a people’s state, where the masses are in control of all aspects of public life, including the media, will be capable of delivering democracy to the many.
Editorial – an example to us all
Nemesis descends on the Murdoch empire – August 2011