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  • Published in Opinion
people's assembly demo

Anti-austerity demonstration, October 2016. Photo: Flickr/Jim Aindow

It's time to stand up for our democratic rights, and that shouldn't be restricted to the vote we have in the general election

People on the left of the political spectrum have always been aware of the media bias against their ideas and how it works to either distort, ridicule or simply exclude the left from the eyes of the population.

Events such as the miners' strike, the Hillsborough disaster, Bloody Sunday and many others over the years have served to extend this understanding and view that our media is somehow one-sided and actually serves the interests of a narrow section of society, i.e. those who run or benefit from the profits of the large corporations.

Cover-ups are regularly exposed, showing or partially revealing at different times the collusion within society, be it the police, armed forces, media, politicians, the legal system or civil service, but they are usually managed, using the collective power of these various organisations, to minimise the impact and isolate and contain any real understanding of the hidden function of all these bodies which are collectively known as the State.

The 2017 general election has caused a reaction from the state which has seen our media and a majority of the Westminster political class working very hard to damage the prospects of there being a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn, who has broken all the rules of political etiquette and dared to present a manifesto, For the many, not the few, to the British people.

It is staggering to see the tricks and turns of the media and professional politicians, including many from within the Labour party itself, all well rehearsed over many decades but brought together in an attempt to break the mass appeal for Jeremy Corbyn and the policies he argues for.

Whatever the outcome of the election, and we have to acknowledge the excellent campaign which Jeremy has led, I think we are going to see a new era where the people of the UK will demand their voices and concerns are heard in a way they have not been for so long.

Our democracy has been eroded to the extent where the majority of people have no faith in it, and generally thought it not worth while bothering to exercise their vote. But now, because of the socialist ideas which Jeremy Corbyn has reintroduced into politics, we are seeing voter registrations in unprecedented numbers as more and more people come to the conclusion that we can actually make a difference.

As a supporter of the People's Assembly Against Austerity, I am proud of our national organisation's activities in this election, which I think have revealed how we can use the media itself to expose what is going on in society and how it works to deny us a voice.

The call for a demonstration at the last minute when we heard that Theresa May would launch the Tory manifesto in Halifax was essential work and it proved effective in mobilising a hostile reception for their Manifesto of Misery, particularly because of the involvement of Unite the Union.

But the billboard campaign targeting marginal constituencies with the 'I am a threat' headline, paid for with contributions from those who want to see the back of the Tories, is proving to be a real success.

Also, the People's Assembly's promotion of the song 'Liar Liar', performed by Captain Ska, has delivered a number 10 in the download charts, which must be a terrible blow to Tory confidence and further exposes the media in their refusal to play it.

The lesson from this election has to be that the more we are prepared to go against the accepted norms, as Jeremy Corbyn's campaign has done from the start, the more support we can gain. The days of Blairite timidity and tailing the Tories are over. It's time to stand up for our democratic rights, and that shouldn't be restricted to the vote we have in the general election.

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