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.
Through independent public ownership the media can be transformed into a public forum for discussion in which ideology may challenge ideology, allowing for informed discussion, leading to a better understanding of society and allowing society itself to move forward for and in its own interests and not those of private ownership.
Private media must be outlawed in order to ensure freedom of speech.
The considerable capital of private interests would allow private media to outcompete public media, serving overtly as the propaganda organs of capital.
Ultimately, just as socialism and capitalism cannot coexist, so too can private and public media not coexist.
Public media must be must be fully accountable and transparent and independent of state control. Publicly funded, yes, but not state controlled; any question of censorship to be fully and transparently investigated.
Political campaigns are also affected by private interests and similarly controlled by these interests through potential blacklisting and police harassment.
In capitalist society the interests of the ruling class, the capitalists, possess and overwhelming amount of capital with which to out-campaign the interests of labour – that is, society. This sheer out-campaigning more often than not drowns out the demands of society in a sea of capitalist propaganda.
Even the traditional organisations of labour, the labour unions and the parties of labour, are vulnerable to co-optation by the capitalist forces, through infiltration and corruption via funding. Ultimately this situation can lead to a normalisation of capitalist interests and ideology, so much so that the only discourse possible – in the media or in the political forums – is supportive of, as opposed to oppositional to, capital.
Along with independent public media control must come a cap on political campaigning, where each political force is allowed equal opportunities to voice themselves – with any campaigning beyond these being illegal.
The DS is confident that while it may not possess the capital to counter the ruling class under the current system, under a cap on campaigning with equal public financing alone for each ideology, the DS argument will easily outcompete the interests of capital.
As such, one of the DS’s core objectives at the present time will be the campaign for public media control and campaign financing.
Additionally, the DS must endeavor to publish its own media, both in print and electronically, to further develop itself and society for the realisation of democratic socialism. Initially, the potential for an online presence will be of primary interest, due to reduced costs and ease of distributional access – although it must be noted that a printed media is the superior medium.