Tuesday, August 07, 2007
The Independent tries to minimise this, by pretending to vocalise on behalf of 'protesters', but as George Monbiot points out, what the courts have actually done is to permit the corporation to use wide-ranging authoritarian legislation against its most effective opponents, those who propose direct action. Direct action works, while appealling through the 'normal' (impenetrable, slow, ineffective) parliamentary procedures does not. No one listens, and everyone knows no one will listen, until they are obliged to listen. What the Independent are doing, I think, is surreptitiously playing up the Brown administration. But then, their whole free-speech, big-up-protest stance is a ludicrous facade: it's like Warren Buffet posing as a champion of Africa, or Bono pretending to appreciate articulacy. It is a capitalist institution that relies on advertising for most of its money, and would no more like to see the profit-system seriously disrupted than any of its competitors would. And, as Media Lens constantly point out, they are predictably up the arse of the fossil fuel industry.
In fact, the economics of the Indie's political contortions were explained by Simon Kelner in an interview some while back: there's a huge fucking gap in the market for a leftish newspaper, and their circulation and advertising revenue has been dropping for years. In 2000, 60% of its readers voted Labour. In 2004, 39% of its readers were Liberal Democrats and 36% Labour voters. Keeping that readership involves perpetuating the superstition that a machine dedicated to extracting revenue for shareholders is a bearer of 'values'. Hence, the repeated failed attempts at relaunching the paper either as a magazine-style Blairite house rag (under Andrew Marr) or as a compact wad that can be read on the train, has been accompanied for a few years by the energetic promotion of its most popular attributes: its willingness to criticise American wars, its hosting of critical reporters like Robert Fisk, its excellent Mark Steel column, its gestures toward environmentalism and social justice, and so on. It has become a pot pourri of gimmicks and absurdities - worrying about the environment while pushing air travel is only the most ideologically visible and obvious instance. The spectacle of the 'Red' Independent, pushing multinational capitalism and fashion fascism as a solution to poverty, is surely a much more egregious eample. I daresay that, for all that, the Independent's owners and editors are quite content with property being nine-tenths of the law, and the law protecting property at all costs.
Anyway, if you are free next weekend and feel like striking a blow for species surival, the Campaign Against Climate Change website has details of the camp. If anyone does go, please send some pictures/footage/reports to the Tomb. It will be appreciated, and rewarded in red heaven.