Two days of action against racist press, 2nd-3rd July

Sick of being lied to?

Border controls, detention centres, surveillance cameras, anti-terrorist laws, restrictions on movement, militarisation and never-ending wars… Britain in 2010 is a fortress state much like George Orwell’s 1984. One difference is that the Ministry of Propaganda is now privatised. The mainstream/corporate media manufacture a culture of hatred and fear: fear of migrants, fear of strangers, fear of difference, fear thy neighbour, fear each other. And they do so by twisting facts and recycling politicians’ lies: Migrants are the cause of unemployment and inflation; Muslims are a threat to democracy; Gypsies are stealing ‘our’ land; and so on and so forth. The real causes (profit-driven capitalism and state repression) are sidestepped as irrelevant little details.

Sick of being lied about?

We are workers, migrants, refugees, Africans, East Europeans, Muslims, youths, single mums, queers, unemployed, lefties, anarchists… We are ordinary people sick of being lied about. We are not ‘others’ and we have the right to be here. We are here because you were there, plundering our countries and killing our planet, waging wars and arming dictators. The mainstream/corporate media have always sided with those in power, justifying their crimes and demonising their victims, softening up their brutality and blaming others. The result is that much-repeated lies become given facts and the victims of this screwed-up system are blamed for it.

It ain’t just about headlines

The tabloids’ rants against migrants, travellers and Muslims are nothing new. The Daily Mail’s campaign against Russian Jewish immigrants helped pave the way for Britian’s first ever immigration law, the Aliens Act of 1905. In the 1930s, the Mail supported Mussolini and Hitler (“Adolf the Great”), shouted “Hurrah!” for Moseley’s fascist Blackshirts and campaigned against the “outrage” of Jewish refugees “pouring in” from Nazi Germany.

With the alarming rise of the English Defence League and the BNP, who are increasingly treated less hostilely by journalists and editors across the industry, history needs to be relearned. It’s the headlines that grab our attention, but it’s the column inches that mount up. This same uncritical coverage has allowed the draconian ‘anti-terror’ policies to be accepted as normal; has supported the state’s repression of Muslims and others in the name of ‘extremism’; and created a general climate of fear in which immigration has become a scapegoat for just about every social and economic problem you can think of. Politicians capitalise on this scaremongering and newspapers sell it. The consequences are grave.

All the way down

The Daily Mail is just the most obvious symbol of media racism. Porn-king Richard Desmond’s Daily Star and Daily Express match it blow for blow in hate-speech. But even liberal papers like The Guardian and The Independent, or the ‘impartial’ BBC, share the same biases: anti-immigration, pro-government, pro-war… although in more subtle ways. When the former immigration minister Phil Woolas, calling for a cap on immigration and population growth and justifying his agenda by the economic crisis and British people’s ‘worries’, when he is given prime coverage by The Times and BBC, while his critics are silenced or hardly mentioned, one must ask: was this what a racist minister wanted to say through stupid media, or what racist media wanted to say through a stupid minister? Capitalism and the state feed on fear; the racist press supplies the poison.

Do something about it!

We are calling upon all concerned groups and individuals to stand up to counter fear with action on the 2nd and 3rd July. Let us put the racist press in the spotlight. From owners, journalists and editors to printers and distribution hubs, they are all guilty of turning journalism into hate- and scare-mongering.

For more information, see here or e-mail pressaction(at-)