wrote a thing for portuguese anarchist journal a batalha.
here’s some pictures and the (poorly edited) english text:
Revolutionary Reform of Global Media Systems
Therichest 1% of the population now owns more than 50% of the world’swealth, and they are projected to own 2/3rds by 2030. The globalultra rich (the 1%, the capitalists, the “global elite”, theexploitative class, our lizard overlords, whatever you want to callthem) effectively control our governments — the best democraciesthat exist worldwide today are more accurately described ascapitalist-controlled democracies. The 1% restrain and misdirect ourpolitics by many methods, but a key to their ongoing power is theirdomination of our media system through what I call thefor-profit media-advertising system.
Wenow face many urgent and inter-related global problems that ourcapitalist overlords have no interest in addressing: climatechange; perpetual growth economics; escalating social inequalitywithin and between nations; economic slavery; international taxavoidance; oppression of indigenous and other marginalised groups:over-exploitation of resources, offshoring of the proceeds ofcorruption, ecocide, the list goes on. These issues are allpractically absent from the mainstream political agenda, or peopleare struggling to force them in. They are absent because, generallyspeaking, those who control our mainstream political discussion (ourfor-profit media companies and their for-profit advertising sponsors= the 1%) only stand to lose profits from the advance of justice,democracy and environmental respect.
Democracy,and the equality of political power it demands in its ideal form,means the end of the systemic exploitation, the end of capitalism.Our for-profit overlords are all too aware of this, and they areactive opponents of advances toward ideal democracy which willundermine their illegitimate power. It does not make any kind ofsense to have the enemies of democracy, the 1%, controlling thepublic discussion of our supposed democracies. We have a corporatemedia-advertising machine that is deliberately degrading our publicpolitical consciousness, while grinding us into hopelessness, and wehave put up with this outrageous situation for far too long.
Ourmedia is an institution that is vital to democracy — just like thejudiciary, the public service, and the parliament itself, it is vitalthat these institutions are publically-funded and watched closely forany form of corruption. The media system in a democracy is thecentral node of democratic institutions: it connects all institutionstogether with the public, and holds everything to account. There isno doubt that the parliament, the judiciary and the public serviceshould be publicly funded, and it would be an outrage to suggest theybe run for profit and funded by for-profit advertising. We need tohave these same standards for our media system. Democracy seems to melike a chain made of its institutions — only as strong as itsweakest link — and for modern democracy, our media system isreducing our democracies to depressing and deadly farce.
Notonly can we afford a publicly funded media, we cannot afford to nothave one any longer. We pay for the for-profit media-system we havenow, through the advertising that is factored into the cost of ourgoods and services, and, more generally, through the fact thatall corporate profits are fleeced from our community anyway. Thetragedy is that what we pay for is a media system that is turnedagainst our interests, and leads our democracies toward greaterinequality and injustice. At present, corporate advertising is atax-deductible business expense, so our corporate media is alreadypartially government-funded because of the huge corporate tax-breaksthat are handed out as hundreds of billions of dollars a year arespent on advertising. The amount of money we would save by having amedia system that was in the public interest instead of the corporateinterest would be very difficult, if not impossible, to put a figureon — but I can conservatively say that it is at least 10 times theamount a broad, robust and global public media system could evercost.
Thepsychological damage of for-profit advertising is well documented andobvious to any sensitive and thoughtful observer. The financial wasteand social damage of such an “industry” is enough to rationaliseits abolition on its own. But as for-profit advertising funds thefor-profit media companies, there is a double incentive to push forits abolition: we will be freed of the psychological assault ofadvertising; and we will cut the main source of funding for thefor-profit media companies that actively constrain our democracy.This would clear the way and necessitate the simultaneousestablishment of a much more democratic media system: one funded bythe people, that is truly for the people, and sworn to a democraticmandate.
Of course, such huge changes to our media system will not be easy to achieve. If we’re to seriously address any of our global problems, at their root cause, it will take nothing less than a democratic takeover of our capitalist-controlled democracies around the world, and this clearly needs to happen as soon as possible. This global democratic uprising will require mass mobilisations and civil disobedience on an unprecedented scale. This is both possible and completely necessary, to deal with climate change immediately, and to force our democracies to live up to their name, so that we can work through the rest of our long list of problems. Only as this movement builds momentum will it be possible to demand the complete abolition of the for-profit media-advertising system — but I firmly believe that this demand: abolish the for-profit media-advertising system and replace it with a democratic media system, should be a central demand of the global justice movement going forward. Again, this will require enormous and simultaneous global pressure to achieve, and will meet immense resistance, but is necessary for real progress toward a just and democratic world with a survivable environment. Achieving this demand, while being hugely practically significant, would be a spiritual victory as well — it would demonstrate to people that we truly hold the power, remove the legitimate reasons for political cynicism, and bring reality and real political possibility to public political discussion in a truly inspirational way. It would shift the balance of power in politics away from capital, and could usher in a next age of global democratic development: one in which the franchise is finally truly universalised.
Idecided a long time ago that the state of the world demands a life ofcivil disobedience for everyone that can or must do it. I could notfocus on a particular symptom of global capitalism without addressingthe core of our crisis in democracy that allows capitalism to runroughshod over everything. This is why I chose to act against thefor-profit media-advertising system, and I have been painting overfor-profit advertising in Melbourne, Australia as a political protestfor over a decade. My open civil disobedience tactics bring me intoconstant conflict with the law, and have seen me jailed 7 times. Itis also why I have joined a new global organisation calledSubvertisiers International (SI). While not all members of SInecessarily support my demand that we aim for the overthrow of theentire capitalist media system, it is an organisation with a greatvision that seeks to popularise civil disobedience that challengesfor-profit advertising in public spaces, raising many importantquestions. Since 2017, SI has had 3 global weeks of action, from the19th to the 25th of march each year, and it has seen mobilisationsaround the world, building solidarity between previously isolatedactivists, and hopefully, helping to popularise the practice and theideas behind it.
Alternativenewspapers like A BATALHA are fantastic and hugely important, howeverwe cannot allow the truth of our global situation, and reasonablepolitical discussion about that truth, to be forever pushed to themargins. If we are going to change the world, these things have totake center stage, and for that to happen, the stage must be clearedof corporate bullshit.
Youcan learn more about and follow my protest here:www.democraticmediaplease.net
Andfind out more about Subvertisers International here:www.subvertisers-international.net