[Marxism] What Do Socialists Actually Read?

Nick Fredman srcsra at scu.edu.au
Sun May 1 23:45:13 MDT 2005

Yoshie http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/msg64869.html :

>  The organisations that put out their "newspapers" believe
that they are necessary "mass organs," appropriate for potential
recruits, i.e. non-socialist activists.  But writings about socialism
that don't even interest socialists naturally do not engage
non-socialists either<.

This comment may have some validity with respect to the standard 
practice of IST groups around the world with their carbon copy 
Socialist Worker papers aimed at new people, but from what I've seen 
the US paper, like the group, seems to have more depth. If I went to 
live in the US I'm not sure I'd join the ISO (probably, if I didn't 
have to sell issues of the paper that were too outrageously 
anti-Cuban), but I couldn't imagine being an active socialist there 
without regularly checking out the paper of the biggest far left 

In any case other groups aim more for a "combination" paper (in 
Cannon's phrase), of interest to party militants, broader groups of 
activists, and newly radicalising people, with a range of news, 
analysis, discussion, culture etc. Less your socialist Murdoch 
tabloid, and more your socialist serious news weekly. Green Left 
Weekly aims for this and regularly gets over 5000 print readers and 
somewhat more web readers, presumably many of them socialists.

Yoshie http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/msg64895.html :

>You see, socialist "newspapers" don't have the capacity to report and
investigate independently of bourgeois newspapers, because they have
few resources (mainly lacking in money to hire and retain full-time
journalists), so their reports are mainly secondhand, exceptions
being reports on doings of socialists<.

This is again only partially true. Even part-time activists can give 
better and more truthful accounts of picket lines, rallies, meetings 
etc than the bourgeois press (and not just on stuff their group is 
directly involved in), can conduct interviews, vox pops etc, and can 
exchange such stuff with radical media internationally. The in-depth 
stuff is harder with few full time socialist journalists but not 
impossible. Socialist academics and socialists employed by bourgeois 
publications (Paul Foot, John Pilger) can do some of this but we 
should be aiming to create more revolutionary journalists who have 
the skills and time to write in-depth, biting articles on a strike, 
how pollution is affecting a working class suburb or whatever, rather 
than give it up as impossible.

And some of us vulgar Zinovievists also like to think that a 
socialist newspaper has an important role as a collective organiser, 
as well as a collective educator and agitator, as a bald Russian 
bloke once said.

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