Less than one third of Australians trust journalists, one of the lowest levels in the world. Low trust in journalists is understandable given big media companies like News Ltd and Fairfax regularly publish climate change denialism, defend the big banks record profits, attack striking workers, and slander welfare recipients, migrants, and refugees.
Edelman’s 2017 Trust Barometer, compiled by the world’s largest public relations firm, spoke to 1150 people in each of 28 different countries. They noted a generalised steep decline in trust for “the system” across western capitalist democracies, reflected in events such as Brexit and Trump’s election.
Australia ranked among 10 countries least trustful of “the system”, with trust in government sharply down and at similar levels to Mexico and Russia. Increasingly people are recognising the fact that capitalism and its institutions, including the corporate media, systematically work against their interests and serve only the rich and powerful.
But publications like The Socialist stand opposed to the corporate domination of the press. Our magazine is not written by professional journalists hired by big business. It is written by young people, activists and workers in our spare time and reflects reality from our point of view.
The Socialist is a publication for working people, written by working people. We unapologetically advocate solutions to problems like housing affordability, insecure and low paid work and funding cuts to services and welfare. We put the blame where it belongs, on capitalism and its captains.
Our magazine is not only used to inform. It’s a call to action, a guide to winning struggles, and a record of battles past and present. This makes our magazine an organising tool. People in their schools, universities, TAFEs, workplaces and communities can use our articles as a starting point for their discussions and debates on strategy and tactics in their campaigns.
In recent years we have covered all the major political struggles and flash points. In April 2013 the Gillard Labor government announced $2.8 billion of cuts to higher education. We reported on it and organised high school students to walk out of classes and join protests alongside university students.
In 2014 we covered the notorious Abbott-Hockey federal budget. We pointed out that such a generalised attack on workers, women, youth and the poor required a generalised working class response, a 24-hour general strike. Our ideas were well received at the demonstrations which started with “March in March”.
We regularly reported on the Hands off Melbourne’s Estates (HOME) campaign, initiated by the Socialist Party. It successfully defended public housing in Fitzroy and Richmond from a half-billion dollar sell-off by the then Victorian Liberal government in 2013.
Later that year the monumental anti East-West tunnel campaign kicked off, with Socialist Party activists and ideas to the fore. We covered all of the action and developed the program of the struggle in our pages. We are publishing extensive material on the re-emergence of organised political racism and right wing populism in Australia and have contributed to the debate around how to fight it.
We use our publication to develop our own organisation as well. It provides a monthly document for us to summarise our experience, analysis and program which is achieved through debate and discussion among our members. It brings us together in a united effort to produce, fund and distribute it. It allows us to conduct an ongoing dialogue with people outside our ranks who are resisting capitalism’s brutality. This dialogue helps us learn from each other’s struggle and experience. It keeps us relevant and up to date.
Many who come across our ideas in print go on to join us and play important roles in organising their own struggles in workplaces and communities. We reflect that in our regular “Why I joined” columns. Only through the self-sacrificing efforts of our sellers and readers who contribute money and time as well as articles, reports and interviews can we keep growing our magazine.
We appeal to you to subscribe to and read The Socialist. By subscribing you are helping to give us a stable financial base and you play a role helping us to spread socialist ideas as the alternative to the diseased and toxic capitalist system.
You help combat the racism, sexism and homophobia that right-wing forces are using to ride the wave of discontent flooding the system. You arm yourself with the analysis and the program needed to end exploitation and help birth a new democratic socialist system – a system where the needs of people, not profit, come first.
By Kirk Leonard