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Free Elections or Business as Usual: Los Angeles News Group or Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce?

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Posted on May 11, 2014

By Scott Tucker

  Emidio “Mimi” Soltysik is pictured campaigning for California State Assembly. Mimi for California State Assembly, 62nd District

Editor’s note: This letter by Truthdig contributor Scott Tucker was written in response to the May 8 candidates’ interview with the Los Angeles News Group, as described in the second paragraph. A message from Emidio “Mimi” Soltysik is reprinted following Tucker’s letter.

To Workers and Citizens of Los Angeles,

Free press? Free market? Free elections? And pie in the sky when you die.

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Emidio “Mimi” Soltysik of the Socialist Party of the United States is running as a candidate for State Assembly in the 62nd District. I have attached his own statement (see below) explaining how he was invited to the Long Beach office of the Los Angeles News Group on May 8 for a group interview of the candidates in order to decide on an endorsement. Though not able to attend in person, he participated by teleconference. Far from being given equal time to state his views and public policy positions, Soltysik was cut off repeatedly.

For the sake of full disclosure, I am also a member of the Socialist Party. That means I’ve just given readers more information than you will likely get from the great majority of big media editors and journalists who maintain the pretense of political objectivity, but are in fact members and propagandists of the capitalist parties. They thus serve as well oiled gears in the vast machinery of public relations for big business, and of the two big parties of corporate rule: the Democrats and the Republicans.

The typical editorial policy of big media oriented to big business is premised on the fiction that the “free market” is both the foundation and outer limit of any “free election.” This is one form of what George Orwell called “organized lying.”

Sure, the Los Angeles News Group can do whatever it damn well pleases—as long as it does nothing that truly displeases big business and the capitalist parties. Like giving an honest socialist a fair chance to reach a wider public. When there are collapses of the banking system and crises in high finance, of course even the big media must cover such stories. But then they do so as a seasonal flu might be noticed in a basically healthy organism, or as blow jobs might be noticed in the White House, with both being filed away under Fevers and Scandals. They are not in the business of questioning the coercion and class division built into this system of corporate rule.

True, this was an interview of candidates for an endorsement, not an interview for publication. Yes, but in this case the censorship was so reflexive that it dismissed a socialist from getting a fair hearing even in such an editorial inner circle, never mind having his views published in what passes for the “free press.”

Soltysik was cut off in making his introduction, cut off in discussing public health care, and cut off when he tried to give a class conscious response to the question of “job creation.” He was told that he was not answering the given questions, but any truly free discussion of public issues must include answers that challenge the false premises of the questioners. If a free debate is ruled out of order even in the rarefied interviews designed to endorse a capitalist candidate, then we the people cannot expect liberty of thought in the kind of news the Los Angeles News Group might see fit to print.

Once in a while, even the capitalist media is forced to pay attention when a socialist is elected to public office, as happened when Kshama Sawant took up the fight for wages beginning at 15 bucks an hour. Thus she vaulted over a deadbeat Democratic opponent into her seat on the Seattle City Council. And how has the capitalist establishment responded? By trying to extract health, pension and other benefits from the cost of paying workers fair wages, and by trying to portray any socialist as an extremist.

On the contrary, corporate rule means the rules apply only to workers, but not to corporate CEOs and the ruling class. Unrestricted corporate power is capitalist totalitarianism. Extremism means burning down the planet for profit, and throwing millions of workers into the void when corporations chase the cheapest labor markets round the globe.


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