One of the doctrinal points of “professional journalism” is that any journalist who openly proclaims politics at odds with the state becomes, by definition, unprofessional. This only seems fathomlessly stupid, but it is not so. The profession of journalism is often a form of priestcraft, and the spectacles of state require devoted servants. In war and peace, the business of burning incense before the Golden Calf is serious business. And if human victims are required on pyramids of sacrifice, a mob of journalists is always ready to slip on priestly robes while reaching for the knives.
I was born in the mid-20th century, in that brief moment after a world war and before the labor unions gave up the ghost of a class conscious and unapologetic struggle against capitalism. If the jobs requiring both sweat and skill were being shipped offshore in any case, at least the union leaders could stay in the business of “negotiating” with the ruling class. I am a socialist, so my journalistic credentials might as well go into the shredding machine oiled and operated by journalists who pretend to have no political views of their own.
The whole point of the professional journalistic creed is to form a closed circle of gatekeepers. An outer circle of journalists thereby gains “access” to an inner circle of career politicians. Even that political club contains onion-like layers of class consciousness, measured quite precisely by millions and even billions of dollars. When the ruling class wants war, the majority of journalists vote for war. This is one reason why a Viennese Jew, Karl Kraus, once waged his own war against journalists, and took pains to write in the early 20th century: “How is the world ruled and led to war? Diplomats lie to journalists and believe these lies when they see them in print.”
Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras are two dissenting journalists who did their job in breaking the bad news of this republic to readers and citizens … //
… Benjamin Franklin gave one of the good old answers: “Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” But I’ll give you my answer, too, straight from my queer heart. You’ve pushed me around long enough, and I am only one of many. To hell with the parties of war and empire. A republic founded upon free councils of workers and citizens would mean both a political and economic revolution in this country. The ruling class would be forced to earn an honest living, and we, the people, would decide exactly which conflicts require armed power. Any person would be free to declare openly the words that e. e. cummings gave to “Olaf, glad and big, whose warmest heart recoiled at war,” a conscientious objector done to death by false patriots, but who will still “ceaselessly repeat” so long as he breathes:
“I will not kiss your fucking flag. … There is some shit I will not eat.”
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