Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Police and thieves

The big story of the parliamentary inquiries, I suspect, will not be the Murdochs squirming.  It will be the appearance of senior police officers and News International employees who are much more directly exposed in all this.  There is something symmetrical and appropriate about the criminal relationship between the police and the corporate media.  Is it that both are so innately venal and reactionary from top to bottom that it's hard to tell who is corrupting whom?  Is it that the power of both has been sharply enhanced in the era since 1979?  Or is it just that they complement one another in the respective forms of politicised class power that they wield?  Could it be that, as an ideological power, the Murdoch press took it upon itself to engage in moralised coercion?  Or that, as a coercive power, the police and criminal justice system have a clear moral and ideological function - think of the student protests, or 'black on black violence', the Islamophobic crackdowns, and all the way back to the suffragettes, etc.?  Is it that when the police wanted to target someone their evidence can't touch, they turn to the tabloids (remember News of the World's claims about the Koyair brothers); and when News International wanted to get an enemy (Sheridan) they turned to the police?  At any rate, as the scandal rolls on menacingly toward the Prime Minister, claiming scalps along the way, there is an opportunity to look into the usually opaque and secretive world of the ruling class, its forms of cohesion and coordination and, particularly, its ability to impregnate the state with its imperatives and priorities.  So, that's what we'll be doing all week at the Tomb.  Stay tuned.