The Guardian

The Guardian May 2, 2001


Culture and Life

by Rob Gowland

Murdoch supports May Day Oh yeah!

On Friday, April 27, The Australian, flagship of the  Murdoch 
press and a paper not noted for any left-wing bias,  devoted about two 
thirds of a page to an article by Margot Denney  promoting the M1 blockade 
of the Stock Exchange on Tuesday May  1.

The Sydney Sun Herald over the weekend and the Sydney  Morning 
Herald on Monday (April 30) followed up with  substantial articles on 
the M1 preparations at the headquarters  of the Democratic Socialist Party.

Not a single solitary word is said in the latter articles about  the Ml 
demonstration that is being organised by the Global Action  Coalition or 
the traditional May Day march to take place on  Sunday, May 6 in Sydney.

And what promotion: large colour photos, very sympathetic (there  was not a 
hostile paragraph in The Australian coverage and  only one that was 
even critical), interviews with several  activists, and the inevitable plug 
for the Trotskytst Green  Left Weekly.

For 50 years, during which time May Day Committees in Australian  cities 
have regularly held May Day commemorations, the mass media  has never given 
such coverage.

To maintain the fiction of "balance", The Australian  devoted three 
paragraphs to the actions of the Victorian Trades  Hall Council (VTHC), 
which has distanced itself from the M1 Stock  Exchange blockade and will be 
holding a march and rally of its  own on the day. It has invited M1 
participants to join its march  as it passes the Stock Exchange.

VTHC Acting Secretary Brian Boyd says in the article (the one  critical 
paragraph I mentioned): "If you blockade somewhere, you  have to be there 
to win  you have to feed it and support it  with infrastructure. You 
don't just stand against a wall for a  day and walk away at the end of it. 
It doesn't achieve very  much."

Although the MI blockade is clearly a divisive rival to the  traditional 
May Day activities, The Australian endeavoured  to put a positive 
spin on it.

The paper bracketed Boyd's comments between Denney's curious view  that 
"the Melbourne version of MI will gain strength from  Victorian Trades Hall 
Council members" (as they march  elsewhere!), thereby attempting to suggest 
that the VTHC was  supporting the Stock Exchange action.

A comment from an MI spokeswoman simply incorporated the VTHC  march into 
the M1 action regardless of the wishes of the VTHC,  fatuously  and 
dishonestly  adding, "that [it] is part of the  idea of mass protest  
everyone is invited".

The massive May Day demonstrations in Europe, Africa, Latin  America, India 
and in the socialist countries barely rate a  glimpse on the TV news and 
only an occasional photo in the  Murdoch and Packer media like The 
Australian and the  Sydney Morning Herald.

While the capitalist media routinely plays down or completely  ignores the 
marches, demonstrations and strike pickets by  unionists and shifts 
attention to the more "colourful" behaviour  of the Trots and the 
anarchists, the bourgeoisie itself pays  close attention to the actions of 
organised labour. They know  that it is organised labour that they have to 
fear. This is their  real enemy.

The capitalist ruling class is not stupid  far from it. If it  uses its 
media to publicise activities such as M1, it has good  reason.

The boss class has always used its many resources to run down the  
organised labour movement, to convince working class people that  their 
interests are the same as those of their boss, that  resistance is useless, 
that ordinary people are powerless, that  the world is a morass of scary, 
random acts of violence and  mayhem, and that political activism is an 
aberration.

But the capitalist class also know their dialectics. They know  that life 
itself will propel people towards taking action in  defence of their jobs, 
their democratic rights, their living  standards, their health and welfare. 
So they look for ways to  divide and divert opposition by promoting some 
and ignoring  others.

They turn to the tried and tested outlet of Trotskyism and  anarchism. They 
know that these two trends, which try to present  themselves as "left" and 
"militant", have never led to a  successful revolution and have never 
actually threatened the rule  of capital. They always end up in splitting 
and dividing the  movement.

In Australia as elsewhere, the role of Trotskyist organisations  is 
divisive. They routinely attempt to "take over" other  organisations for 
their own narrow purposes.

In the M1 action, they are making use of the rapidly growing  anti-
capitalist and anti-globalisation sentiments of many people  and 
organisations and although there is an Ml coalition, they, in  effect, 
claim it as their own. For example, when one person  contacted the Ml 
committee they received back a copy of Green  Left!

Green Left Weekly has an "interesting" coverage of topics.  It 
played a divisive role during the MUA waterfront dispute in  1998.

It gleefully repeated every CIA fabrication about "Serbian ethnic  
cleansing" in Yugoslavia and refused to join protests against  NATO's 
bombing unless the government of the Socialist Party of  Serbia was 
condemned. This approach objectively left them  supporting imperialism. And 
not for the first time.

They supported the carve-up of Yugoslavia by imperialism in  Croatia and 
Bosnia and were foremost in vociferous support for  the CIA funded, armed 
and promoted, KLA, the Albanian separatist  band of cutthroats. '

Green Left supports "self-determination" for Tibet and its  stand on 
Taiwan is problematical leaving the impression that they  are in favour of 
slicing off Taiwan and Tibet from China which  are major objectives of 
imperialism.

Some Green Left headlines tell the story: "China increases  war 
spending while its economy sags", "Will Chen Shui-bian lead  Taiwan to 
independence?" "Human rights deteriorate" [in China].  All of these 
headlines could have found a place in the daily  media because they reflect 
the current campaigns of imperialism  against socialist China.

It recently called for the South African Communist Party and  COSATU (the 
Congress of South African Trade Unions) to break  their alliance with the 
ANC under the headline "COSATU'S hands  tied by ANC alliance", a line that 
was being pushed at the time  in the capitalist media.

It then went on to attack the South African Communist Party under  the 
headline "Who is bringing the SACP's name into disrepute".

Those who follow the DSP, Resistance and Green Left Weekly  banner 
in blockading the Stock Exchange on May 1 should ask  themselves why the 
capitalist media has given such lavish free  publicity and take a long hard 
and objective look at the policies  adopted on many other issues.

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