NB – This continues the ongoing transcription of a 2002 ‘Manifesto for a Democratic Socialist Bermuda’, which I wrote for the purpose of initiating discussion about organising a democratic socialist (DS) Party in Bermuda. I am reproducing it here for it’s historical interest, it’s role in the genesis of this blog itself, and for the purpose of stimulating discussion in the future.
A central piece of the democratic socialisation of society is the guaranteeing of freedom of speech.
For decades, even since the inception of Bermudian colonisation (think slavery, the religious debate between traditional Anglicanism and the Puritans, etc.) the notion of free speech has existed as an ideal – it has failed to be realised as a reality.
Ideologies not in line with the status quo have been consistently silenced either through media ommission and silence or by ‘blacklisting’ (economic and/or social) of those individuals courageous enough to speak their mind.
This same tendency continues today.
Letters to the Editor in the Royal Gazette – our daily paper – require ones full name and address in order to be published, and even then they must pass the approval of the censor/editor. Though ones name and address may be omitted from actual publication, there is no guarantee that this information will not be shared with business leaders and the police – allowing for economic blacklisting (read lay-offs and lack of job offerings) and even police harassment.
As the media is privately owned, almost wholly by members of the ruling class, ideology contrary to that of the ruling classes interests can be silenced through omission or by the threat of reduced advertising (should the media publish such opinions) – without which the media, as it currently exists, cannot survive.
This stranglehold over the existing media (what holds true for the printed media holds true also for all other media) forces rival ideologies to produce its own media (at great economic cost, and most likely relying on overseas printing presses) or to retreat to the anonymity of the internet (and even here one would be reliant on foreign servers and be at risk from electronic assaults).
The DS will no doubt face these problems as it seeks to spread awareness of its programs, and its leaders will likely face blacklisting and even economic exile. This, however, will not stop the DS as it presents the ruling class with the most organised challenge to its hegemony to date.
The DS will fight to realise the establishment of public control over the media.
Media will be financially supported by the state, but not censored or in any other way controlled by the state.
Private control of the media runs contrary to the concept of free speech as it allows private interests to dictate to, and indoctrinate, society with this or that ideology, generally buttressing the status quo, albeit with some illusions of liberalism, perpetuating the myth of genuine democracy under capitalism.