The Chronicle Herald in Halifax has locked out 13 pressroom workers and is printing the daily paper with anti-worker scab mercenaries. The owners of the newspaper have erected a chain-link fence around its printing plant to keep the picketing unionized workers from entering the premises. Hired guards escort the anti-worker mercenaries into the plant to do the work of the locked out press workers.
The newspaper’s owners want press workers to accept austerity concessions to lower their working and living standards but the workers are holding firm. The workers are picketing the plant and Chronicle Herald headquarters. The President of the Halifax Typographical Union Ingrid Bulmer has asked readers to cancel their Chronicle Herald subscriptions for the duration of the lockout. The union has also filed an unfair labour practice complaint, claiming management never had any intention to bargain in good faith.
The Chronicle Herald anti-worker campaign against its own press workers is reflected in its daily reporting on the economy and politics in general. The Chronicle Herald parrots the views of the ruling capitalist class throughout the Maritimes. The Chronicle Herald carries daily propaganda for the anti-social austerity agenda, which at this time includes the wrecking of social programs, privatization of public services, attacks on public sector unions, the destruction of the people’s pensions and general lowering of the standard of living.
The February 12 article “John Bragg: Cut civil service to help dig N.S. out of debt” is an example of its ongoing propaganda to block any pro-social direction for the Maritime economy. The article recites the views of a fellow capitalist, John Bragg, who is president and CEO of Oxford Frozen Foods Ltd. The Chronicle Herald quotes Bragg’s privatization views without comment or analysis of the disastrous effects his policies would have on the economy and working class. Bragg’s anti-social views are presented as if they are unassailable gospel.
Both the lockout and the constant propaganda for anti-social austerity show how low the capitalist press has sunk into a nihilism devoid of any sense of how to handle the recurring crises of capitalism except by attacking the human factor/ social consciousness. This differs from the beginning of capitalism, when journalism was considered one of the pillars in the battle against the aristocracy and medieval practices.
The early capitalist press was excited about science, nation-building and how to resolve the problems posed with the transition from a rural-based society to one centred in cities where the people demand the rights that belong to them by virtue of being human. It sought to introduce modern concepts in contradiction with the obscurantism, absolutism and class privilege of the ruling landed aristocracy. Regular reporting included attempts to reveal the difference between the old feudal economy of petty production and the new dynamic economy of industrial mass production. Excitement was in the air as the new was in battle against the old on all fronts. No longer. The capitalist new of before has become old and stale and stands in contradiction with the emerging new forces led by the modern working class that want to solve basic problems and move society forward to a pro-social new.
Mass newspapers such as the Chronicle Herald accept without challenge any nonsense the ruling capitalist elite throws at the working class. They block the people from thinking about and solving the problems in the economy and society in a new way with dynamic pro-social ideas and practices that challenge the nihilism of austerity and anti-worker concessions. The Chronicle Herald lockout of its own workers and constant propaganda for anti-social austerity, and its attacks on public sector workers, their unions, people’s pensions and living conditions should alert everyone to the necessity of building a new journalism and mass media that serve the new in the battle for a pro-social alternative.
Worker’s Forum, March 3, 2015 – No. 2 (Source: The Coast)