[Marxism] phone tapping and mass consciousness

Gary MacLennan gary.maclennan1 at gmail.com
Thu Jul 7 22:42:41 MDT 2011

There were a couple of posts some time ago on the British Phone tapping
scandal.  I forget the name unfortunately of the comrade who wrote very
insightfully on it. There is a very good blog on it by Richard Seymour at
Lenin's tomb and I heartily recommend that.  reading Richard I suspect that
underneath that hard core SWP cadre exterior, lurks a radical populist who
is closer to Rousseau than Marx never mind Lenin or Tony Cliff.

I assume comrades know the vague outline of the affair and have caught up
with the latest news about the closure of the News of the World, the source
of the phone tapping of celebrities and victims of crime. guardian.co.uk has
been the source of the story and has pursued the tappers with great
enthusiasm and not a little schadenfreude.

the story has it all - corruption, ruthlessness, and greed.  But it also has
its fair share of depravity.

What interests me though is that it has once more brought to my attention
the problem of mass consciousness.  what does it take to produce a radical
change in people's thinking?  what makes them wake up to the rottenness of
the system?  Well actually the answer is not world wars, nor depressions,
nor recessions, etc.  What throws the system into danger is that little step
too far.

the News of the World tapped the voice mail of a murdered child, Milly
Dowler,  emptied it when it got too full and in so doing made the family
think she was alive and then interviewed them about their hopes and fears.

That was the step too far. The lies about Iraq etc did not produce the same
level of revulsion, but this did. Why?  Well for me the answer is that this
was something that ordinary people could identify with and above all
identify with in a moral way.  In *1984*, Orwell has a "prole" woman object
to something the propagandists show on the screen.  She is morally repulsed
by the brutality of the propaganda.  Just so with Milly Dowler, ordinary
people have been outraged at the depravity of the actions of the NOTW team.

What  do I make of all this?  Well for me it shows the need to factor in the
moral question.  If we treat Marxism as a "science" and turn up our noses at
morality then we risk losing touch with the "people".   I've got to dash but
will revisit this particularly with why Rebekah Brooks is still employed.



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