Thursday, December 20, 2007

Republican Government Continues to Go Out of Its Way to Prove Marx and Lenin Right

The Republican majority on the FCC has voted to ease "restrictions" on cross ownership of newspapers, radio and TV stations outside of the 20 largest markets, against both the Democrats and media anti-monopoly activists who literally booed the ruling, denouncing it has a further step on the road to increased media concentration that the Bush administration embarked upon in 2003.

Senate Democrats are saying that they will develop legislation against the ruling and anti-monopoly media activists are threatening to fight the case in court. Conservatives are saying that this will help struggling media outlets survive outside of major markets and some on the left are saying ho hum, this is another move toward concentration that the Democrats will huff and puff against but do nothing about and the courts, under conservative control will bless.

Concentration it is, and concentration is the economic foundation of modern industrial capitalism which doesn't mean, as Marx and Lenin would say, you shouldn't fight against it by using the law and the state to restrict it, but does mean that concepts like "free markets" and "competition" which are used both to strengthen and oppose corporate consolidation and concentration have little meaning under contemporary
capitalism. Even if progressives do staff regulatory agencies with opponents rather than friends of monopoly who would apply and seek to strengthen existing anti-trust legislation, not pretend such legislation either doesn't exist or exists to strengthen monopoly, capital's drive to destroy competition as a way to maximize profit would not change.

Capital creates bigger and bigger concentrations whose purpose is profit, even if it means (as it has in the U.S. and other countries for decades) that media moguls own hockey teams and enterprises that have no direct relationship to each other are owned by conglomerates who dispatch managers to maximize profit to book stores, factories, sports teams, even publishing houses that carry Marxist magazines. Media is about consumer markets, not citizens who have rights to have access to information, and the present FCC looks at all media the way the present FTC looks at all commodities produced by corporations, that is, helping those who already control a great deal of capital to extend their control, since they have by their "success" proven their superiority in the market place and what is good for them, as an old GOP secretary of defense and former General Motors said about General Motors, is good for the USA.

Speaking about the FTC, they just let Google purchase Double Click, a Major Internet Advertising enterprise, for 3.1 billion. As an example of capitalist concentration, those most opposed to this sale, which the FTC approved without conditions and claimed was no violation of U.S. anti-trust laws (to the Bush administration, what is) is most opposed by those two sterling representatives of free competition, Microsoft and AT& T. The decision, to go into effect, has to be approved by the European Union, which has a history of being less compliant to monopoly concentration than the present U.S. government, although one analyst noted, tongue somewhat in cheek, that given the European Union's anti-monopoly battles against Microsoft, the opposition of Microsoft may help Google, because "with enemies like Microsoft, you don't need friends when you are in Europe."

What about the public interest? Marx and Lenin would both probably laugh and say that it no more exists under capitalism than an all powerful Spirit God does. Capitalists do business with each other, fight with each other the way Microsoft and Google are now fighting for internet advertising revenues and newspaper and TV radio station owners are scooping up competitors.I guess George Bernard Shaw's comment over eighty years ago in defense of his fellow socialists who were being accused of everything under the sun still holds true: those who preach the doctrine of the class struggle are constantly attacked by those who practice it. In this case, Marx and Lenin, who developed the theory capitalist concentration as a law of capitalist development (Marx) and applied that law to the great trusts of the early twentieth century and the rise of imperialism (Lenin) are today mocked as "irrelevant" and "old hat" by those whose policies are proof that they were theoretically and practically, not to mention politically, very correct.

Norman Markowitz

1 comment:

Warren said...

Your reasoning is faultless; however, the syntax of some of the
compound run-on sentences is hard to puzzle out. Please, Mr. Markowitz, simplify your writing.
Not everyone has the time and patience of an old geezer such as myself to puzzle out your meaning.
Otherwise, right on!