The Socialist: A fighting antidote to the mainstream media’s lies

The Socialist issue 872 front page

The Socialist issue 872

A fighting antidote to the mainstream media’s lies

Sarah Wrack, Editor of the Socialist

In the last decade the world has been transformed. A global economic crisis shot down the idea that boom and bust had been eradicated and that capitalism could ever provide stability for the majority. Austerity implemented by governments of the rich against the poor across Europe has exposed the lie of “we’re all in it together”.

Nobody can any longer claim that people are apathetic and accepting of the fate assigned to them by this chaos. We’ve seen mass movements from Greece to Scotland, and even junior doctors balloting for strike action here in Britain. In the ‘belly of the beast’ of capitalism – the US – a socialist was elected to the city council of a major city and led a successful battle for an increase in the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

All this and yet, if an alien had visited in 2005, read a newspaper and left again, would they see a difference on a return visit now?

In 1917, Lenin, one of the leaders of the Russian Revolution of the same year, wrote that “‘Freedom of the press’ in bourgeois society means freedom for the rich systematically, unremittingly, daily, in millions of copies, to deceive, corrupt and fool the exploited and oppressed mass of people, the poor.”


The Socialist issue 871 front page

The Socialist issue 871

The mainstream media does its best to unchangingly echo the same lies as it always has, lined with anti-working class (and often sexist and racist) propaganda. Any struggle by workers and young people is either ignored or disparaged. The blame for poverty, unemployment and division is laid on the victims of this cruel system rather than the super-rich 1% and the politicians who represent them.

Compare this to the Socialist. After the fantastic 61.5% ‘No’ vote in the Greek austerity referendum earlier this year (later sold out by the Syriza government) we announced “Greek workers show the way.” The front page of the issue that came out a few days after the victory of Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership election boldly declared “A New Era for the 99%”.

The Socialist issue 863

The Socialist issue 863

Our articles have expressed the growing discontent and rebellion among working class people.

The pages of the Socialist have recognised the huge potential shown by the Corbyn victory. We’ve reported on all developments, from impressive election rallies to the panicked manoeuvrings of the right wing.

We’ve also issued warnings and a call to political arms. We have pulled together the lessons of past experience to explain that the Corbynistas need to get organised to fight the right wing and secure the legacy of the Corbyn campaign and the radical demands it raised.

Voice of the 1%

The pro-capitalist press reflects none of this – at best its reportage of Corbyn has been surface-deep, and at worst it’s been pernicious sabotage.

The Socialist 844

The Socialist 844

The media is one expression of the conflict that exists in society between the super-rich 1% and the working class and middle class, the 99%. The majority of media outlets in the UK are controlled by just five individuals. They have their press. So we need ours.

The media world is changing. People gather information in ways that most people couldn’t have imagined thirty years ago, let alone when Lenin wrote about the importance of workers having their own press.

And socialists need to adapt and keep up with technological developments and communicate with working class people in every possible way.

But while mainstream newspapers are in crisis – imposing staffing cuts and the resulting ‘churnalism’ – the Socialist is going forward.

We’re launching our sales and subscriptions campaign from Socialism 2015 on 7 and 8 November, and good plans are already in place in lots of areas (see article on right). In recent years we have gone to full colour and increased our number of pages. More and more people are writing for the Socialist.


That’s because we are not a paper like any other. Trotsky, another leader of the Russian Revolution, criticised one socialist paper by saying: “You do not hear at all how the workers live, fight, clash with the police or drink whiskey… The task is not to make a paper through the joint forces of a skilled editorial board but to encourage the workers to speak for themselves.”

The Socialist issue 827

The Socialist issue 827

Our journalists are not professionals – they are the Socialist Party’s members and supporters: workers, trade unionists, young people, community campaigners. Our ‘health correspondents’ are doctors and nurses. Our writers on wages and benefits are working class people struggling to survive on the pittance afforded to them.

They give us a taste of the struggles of daily life in austerity Britain, of what makes them angry, of films and TV programmes they’ve enjoyed.

When they’ve written the article, they go out and sell the paper to others. When they’ve sold it at a protest or wherever else, they write back and tell the editors and readers how it went. From start to finish the process of writing, producing and distributing the Socialist is a political task carried out by working class fighters.

The Socialist isn’t just for updating people on news – though much of what’s reported in our pages can’t be found anywhere else! In our pages Socialist Party members and supporters share their experiences and ideas.

During the campaigns against the bedroom tax in 2013, the Socialist carried news on what the government was doing and analysis of what it would mean for ordinary people.

The Socialist issue 837

The Socialist issue 837

But we also dedicated a lot of space to organisational articles. We gave legal advice on what councils would do to collect debts and how to challenge it. One issue included a week’s diary of a bedroom tax campaigner to show how a local campaign could be organised on a day-to-day basis.

Recently we have included details of how Socialist Party members in different areas are involved in the campaigns that have sprung up following the Corbyn victory. When something is a success in one area, the report in the Socialist can be inspiration to people elsewhere to try something similar.

Every day, up and down the country (and through our sister sections in the CWI, around the world) the Socialist Party is organising against cuts, discrimination, poverty and crisis. But we’re also fighting for something – a fundamentally different kind of society, a socialist one.


The Socialist issue 814

The Socialist issue 814

Under socialism, the working class majority would own and democratically control the means of producing wealth, instead of financing mega profits for the tiny minority.

We could then invest in jobs, homes and services for all; in protecting the environment in a lasting way; and in developing science and technology to end the scourges of hunger and disease.

The Socialist pulls together the lessons of workers’ struggles and mass movements from the past, and the socialist ideas needed to change the world.

If you want to be part of that fight, use the Socialist – and help us build it into the best tool it can be for that task. Become one of our ‘journalists’, help us sell, subscribe yourself or ask someone else to. Every extra sale, reader and article can help, which is what our campaign will be about.

See also:

The Socialist campaign – Buy it, Sell it, Write it