Life of a Daily Mail hack

A blog detailing the abuse suffered by reporters at the Daily Mail was quickly removed this week when it was picked up on by the Guardian and a number of media-watching blogs. Reproduced here are the missing blog posts detailing life in the newsroom under conservative tyrant Paul Dacre.

The editor is prone to issuing edicts which he contradicts within hours, or sometimes even minutes. For example he said at Afternoon Conference a few weeks ago that weather stories were an absolute priority. ‘Do I need to have it written in letters a foot high on the notice board behind the back bench that we must have weather stories?’ he said. That evening the only possibility went in, a picture piece about Tewkesbury suffering floods similar to the previous year. When the editor saw it he yelled: ‘What the fuck have you put this in for? There are floods all the the time. Don’t you understand anything about journalism?’ This is a good example of what makes it such fun to work for Paul Dacre. His nimble changes of direction keep us all on our toes, and it is a privilege to learn from such a great teacher.

== Holiday blues ==

A pall of gloom hangs over the Kensington office. The editor has gone on holiday for three whole weeks (presumably to his property in the British Virgin Islands, which entirely coincidentally has a reputation of being a tax haven). How on earth will the paper come out without Paul Dacre’s wise guiding hand on the tiller? Of course he is entitled to have holidays, but the staff would be much happier if he was present all the time to tell us how to do it right.

Word has it that the editor is grievously upset about an item in the latest Private Eye which quoted an unnamed director of Associated Newspapers referring to Paul Dacre as ‘the Robert Mugabe of Fleet Street’ because of his reluctance to retire. Apparently he stayed in his office all day after it appeared. The Eye also said that Dacre had forced out anyone with a spark of originality and surrounded himself with mediocrities. This is obviously a grossly unfair way to describe such talents as Jon Steafel, Paul Carter and Ted Verity, who all demonstrate tremendous flair and wit. However I think the editor should be proud to likened to Robert Mugabe, a man who has brought torture and oppression to a fine art. We need more people like him to keep up standards.

== Post 5 ==

It is many years since the Daily Mail switched to computer-based new technology, but Paul Dacre refuses to have anything to do with screens. He believes that only lower orders use screens (that’s everyone in the office but him). If he wants to read an article he demands a paper print-out and makes any alterations in fountain pen. A minion then transfers the alterations to the article in the computer system. In my opinion it is good to see someone taking a stand against the march of computers in this time of moral decline. We all rely on them far too much, and it would be much better if everyone used fountain pens.

== Post 4 ==

Did you see that article a few weeks ago which said that people born in 1948 were the most fortunate of all? They missed the war and National Service, grew up in the Swinging Sixties, did well out of the property boom, have good pensions, etc. Guess who (to use one of Paul Dacre’s brilliant headline formulas) was born in 1948? Of course. In fact he shares his birthday with Prince Charles (Nov 14 1948). Woe betide any Mail hack who describes Prince Charles as elderly. Actually I think it’s amazing how youthful a man of 61 can look. He certainly has no need to dye his hair.

== Post 3 ==

The editor can only function with a sidekick who shadows him constantly, like sharks have cleaner fish which tidy up their orifices. The main qualification for being a cleaner is the readiness to be in the office from 9am to 10pm five days a week, if not more. You also need to say ‘Yes Paul, you’re absolutely right’ and ‘That’s a brilliant idea, Paul’ at regular intervals. Until fairly recently the chief cleaner was his deputy Alistair Sinclair, but since Sinclair’s retirement (reputedly because he was told he would never be editor, but who knows) the role has been taken on by three new cleaners, deputy editor Jon Steafel, and Ted Verity and Paul Carter, who both have some sort of title like assistant editor or associate editor. The three are always within shouting distance of the editor, prepared to do his bidding and drop someone else in the shit when necessary. The only difference between a shark and the editor is that while the shark protects its cleaner fish, the editor will turn on his cleaners and bite their heads off for any reason at all, or none. The cleaners suffer as much as anyone else from his rages. That must make them even less intelligent than a fish, though admittedly better paid. Steafel is thought to be on about half a million. Anyway full marks to the editor for the way he has improved on the shark.

== Post 2 ==

It is strongly rumoured that the editor has a nap in his office after News Conference, a half-hour entertainment which usually starts around 4pm (for a pale imitation see the Downfall link on the right of this page.) Apparently it is impossible to contact him for a couple of hours after that, but then he emerges refreshed for the evening onslaught on the Back Bench. His energy for yelling is prodigious. It all points to a power nap, and I for one think this is a very good idea.

== Post 1 ==

A lot of journalists aspire to work at the Daily Mail. But when they achieve their goal, most of them can’t wait to get out again. Why should this be? Maybe it’s the unique form of encouragement given by the editor. Every day he makes it his business to tell his subordinates that they can’t do their job and that they are useless in every way. He calls them cunts if they haven’t done too badly. Worse efforts are rewarded with five-minute tirades in which obscenities outnumber the ordinary words. This is the way in which he believes he will achieve good work from his staff, and I am sure he is absolutely right.

Posted By

Anonymous
Feb 3 2010 20:46

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flaneur
Nov 2 2010 11:44

Rob, do you really think it's conducive to suggest arguments are either there to be agreed with or "torn to shreds"? So it is about point scoring then. I imagine that'll go down a treat with people not too familiar with the site and who don't hold the 'correct' line.

As an aside, I don't think Notch has. He said that ticket inspectors can't detain people and have no more legal powers than a shop assistant when the law says otherwise. Suggesting because what I've said makes him a "Nazi train guard" isn't taking it personally at all roll eyes

Rob Ray
Nov 2 2010 12:04

Your argument thus far:

Quote:
To save making a thread about this, ticket inspectors (in the UK anyway) can detain people if a name or address is witheld or made up, until police arrive. Or they have the power to caution you, believe it or not. Hardly like the indifference of a supermarket assistant, is it?

Cheers Steven for telling me what a citizen's arrest is. roll eyes Are you actually trying to say that the two are comparable? Not forgetting they're able to give out cautions.

I'm not making any huge statement as a result but lets not kid ourselves with 'it's all the same'.

even if they're all generally jobworths, do you think, on the whole, they go around doing citizen's arrests and cautioning people (even though they can't by law and ticket inspectors can)?

Notch, who actually worked as a train guard, then points out that he can't arrest OR caution people. Now with a genuine debate, as you point out...

Quote:
How it usually works is you read what is said and then take it on board, hopefully coming away with understanding.

Instead, you bawl about how notch is just pissed that you've criticised his job role and how he's misrepresented your position on whether to support train guards if they go on strike (which he wasn't actually commenting on). This is generally known as "attacking a straw man because your original argument didn't hold up." Oh and you also try and argue that you understand his job better than he does and can't possibly be wrong about the practice of the law by train guards in Britain.

Given this, I don't think you're in much of a position to accuse me of behaviour which is unconducive to decent debate.

Red Marriott
Nov 2 2010 12:05

There seems to be some confusion - at certain times and places, trains have had (and may still do where 'efficiency' hasn't merged the two) guards who are not ticket inspectors (eg, London Underground in the past), and there are ticket inspectors who are not guards - many inspectors just roam train/bus lines/stations trying to catch fare dodgers, sometimes in joint operations with cops. Whereas a train guard proper may only function to ensure safety - arrival/departure, doors closing etc. So making a big issue of being able to cite one or the other as a definite refutation of any necessary distinction only shows one's poor quality of argument.

Some of the same issues came up here;
http://libcom.org/forums/news/prison-officers-unofficial-action-spreads-18112009

flaneur
Nov 2 2010 12:56

So this from a copper regarding the caution, and this from the actual law regarding detaining is a load of shite because Notch didn't recall having the ability to do it. Right you are.

Even the TFL lot can do it CTRL + F, and search caution.

Rob Ray
Nov 2 2010 13:47

What the 1889 law actually says is that they can hand out a fine which would be backed by the law in the event that someone refuses to pay it.

This is NOT the same thing as a caution, which is a formal disciplinary measure if you've admitted responsibility for wrongdoing, placing you on the police's database and warning you not to do it again - it also potentially ups your punishment if you are subsequently taken to court on similar charges.

That law also allows ticket inspectors to detain people (but note there is nothing in there about using physical force), NOT arrest them, which would be done under a legal power applicable to all citizens under a specific piece of legislation from the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (Section 24a), or if they didn't use that power, they would need to wait for a police officer to do it formally.

So while okay, yes I suppose you're right that they can technically detain people, Steven's also right in noting that's no different to what anyone else can do and it's disingenuous to suggest it's somehow an oppressive power specific to the job.

Regardless of all this, practice is also important, and you still haven't acknowledged that maybe Notch, from having actively worked in the job, might know a bit more about what guards actually do on a day to day basis.

PartyBucket
Nov 2 2010 13:44
Red Marriott wrote:
there are ticket inspectors who are not guards - many inspectors just roam train/bus lines/stations trying to catch fare dodgers, sometimes in joint operations with cops.

Yes - and these people are generally in supervisory or even management positions; they arent just trying to catch fare dodgers. On trains / busses where the primary responsibility for revenue collection rests with onboard staff, they are there to see if those staff are doing their job properly, making sure they arent letting people off fares, etc. Generally snooping. Which is why the person selling tickets, unless they want to go to a disciplinary, sometimes has no real choice but to oppress flaneur and samotnaf.

gypsy
Nov 2 2010 13:46
flaneur wrote:
So this from a copper regarding the caution, and this from the actual law regarding detaining is a load of shite because Notch didn't recall having the ability to do it. Right you are.

Even the TFL lot can do it CTRL + F, and search caution.

I've seen train guards and at stations 'ticket enforcement officers' (on south east railways). Im not sure if these are different with regards to the law? The ticket enforcement officers wear police-esque uniforms.

flaneur
Nov 2 2010 13:48

Because some are having difficulty with the reading material, I'll make it easy.

Quote:
5(2) If a passenger having failed either to produce, or if requested to deliver up, a ticket showing that his fare is paid, or to pay his fare, refuses [F7 or fails] on request by an officer or servant of a railway company, to give his name and address, any officer of the company or . . . F8 may detain him until he can be conveniently brought before some justice or otherwise discharged by due course of law.

How do you detain someone without force? In any case...

Quote:
they can detain, and eject people using reasonable force ( off a train , station ) if they want to. However most TOC's don't want their staff getting involved in the confrontational side 9 kinda goes against asking to check tickets then really )!... Some are trained as REO ( Railway Enforcement Officers / RCO Railway Control Officers; not to be confused with BTP PCSO's ) and the can issue £50 / £80 PND's.
Quote:
An authorised person being a revenue type, guard or any Constable. They are trained to caution and ask the relevant questions, generally they'll want your name and address to attempt to you bill you the cost of the ticket plus a penalty fare if applicable, though they can report you for summons, as the railway does a lot of its own prosecutions for fare evasion. Other than that Revenue have no powers at all.

Both of those coming from that coppers forum. I even found an account from a ticket inspector where he says "well, it would be hard to prove on one isolated case,” says avid,“but if he does it again this week I will consider cautioning him. " Maybe that's not actual caution he's referring to, he might be meaning a pretend jokey one.

PartyBucket
Nov 2 2010 18:05
flaneur wrote:
How do you detain someone without force?

By telling them they have to stay there until the police arrive, because the law states that if a railway official tells you to stay until the police arrive you have to stay until the police arrive. Which is not a 'power' in the sense I think you are implying.
How many people do you reckon actually say "Ok boss, I'll just wait here for them then."?
Generally the 'offender' will just leave, a description will be passed to the police, who will take the details and then do precisely nothing. Of course you're going to find examples of railway companies bigging up stories about catching fare dodgers. They're hardly going to advertise the fact thats its actually quite easy to do and get away with.
If you try to use physical force to detain someone for fare evasion (ie not in self defence against a physical threat from that person to yourself or other staff and passengers) youre on very dodgy ground.

flaneur
Nov 2 2010 14:05

Ground that nonetheless, a copper thinks is justified. Just searching ticket inspection detaining on google brought up a slew of instances where dodgy ground or not, they did it (and not in self defence).

Red Marriott
Nov 2 2010 14:07
notch8 wrote:
Red Marriott wrote:

there are ticket inspectors who are not guards - many inspectors just roam train/bus lines/stations trying to catch fare dodgers, sometimes in joint operations with cops.

Yes - and these people are generally in supervisory or even management positions; they arent just trying to catch fare dodgers. On trains / busses where the primary responsibility for revenue collection rests with onboard staff, they are there to see if those staff are doing their job properly, making sure they arent letting people off fares, etc. Generally snooping. Which is why the person selling tickets, unless they want to go to a disciplinary, sometimes has no real choice but to oppress flaneur and samotnaf.

They often are only trying to catch fare dodgers; eg, on London 'bendy buses' where you can get on thru a door without passing the driver and can swipe your Oyster card on-board - or not, as many people choose to. Also, inspectors operate on stations and train lines where there's no one checking tickets at low staffed stations and no regular on-board ticket checkers. So they're not only in supervisory/management roles.

PartyBucket
Nov 2 2010 14:25

Yes, as I said in my post the role of those 'hop-on hop-off' inspectors differs depending on whether or not primary responsibility for revenue still rests with onboard staff. In your examples (buses where the driver just drives and trains with no dedicated onboard ticket seller) they only have passengers to police.
The problem with arguing about what exactly is whos powers to fuck with who, I think, is that the breakup of the railway into a bazillion TOCs means that they dont all go about their revenue collection/protection in the same way using the same people; the guy who hassles flaneur in one place...that job role might not even exist on a different TOC. As another example here in N. Ireland we dont even have Transport Police on trains or stations.
Also certain powers are no bad thing...I was happy to have people to removed from trains for, among other things, giving racist abuse to another passenger, smoking in the middle of a carriage, and being a man in his 50s trying to groom a girl of about 15.

Rob Ray
Nov 2 2010 14:47
Quote:
Maybe that's not actual caution he's referring to, he might be meaning a pretend jokey one.

Yes, it would be, because cautions handed out by third-parties (ie. non-police), including btw those offered by local authorities, are not recorded on the police database.

the National Policing Improvement Agency: wrote:

“This letter restates the national policy on recording of non-courts disposals (e.g. cautions etc) by non-police prosecution agencies. The police service has no manner of validating the effectiveness and compliance with procedures and protocols in such cases, therefore it is considered to be inappropriate to record third party data when it is unable to support it evidentially. Accordingly, at the present time, the police service will not record on PNC* details of cautions etc delivered by non-police prosecution agencies.”

Given that the function of a caution is to scare people into future compliance by putting them on notice with the police that if they do it again they'll be formally prosecuted, it would make any "caution" on that level a pretend jokey one - certainly not one on a par with formal police powers.
---

*Police National Computer

flaneur
Nov 2 2010 14:48

I'll respond to this later on.

PartyBucket
Nov 2 2010 15:06
flaneur wrote:
I'll respond to this later on.

What, when you've dug up more legal jargon that doesnt really influence how most people go about the job in real life?

Steven.
Nov 2 2010 17:49
notch8 wrote:
flaneur wrote:
I'll respond to this later on.

What, when you've dug up more legal jargon that doesnt really influence how most people go about the job in real life?

... and which other posters will demonstrate is factually wrong and based either on some personal anecdote or googling something without thinking through what it actually means. Not to mention be rude to everyone.

flaneur
Nov 2 2010 18:57
notch8 wrote:
flaneur wrote:
I'll respond to this later on.

What, when you've dug up more legal jargon that doesnt really influence how most people go about the job in real life?

When I've come back from being out. Do you mean like legislation regarding detaining people, which ticket inspectors have done and continue to do so? Ah, but because you never, that means none have. Fairly astute logic in play there. What other blanket assumptions can you think of, based on what you've done/not done?

And Steven, are chipshop anecdotes allowed or are they not? They seem to be grand coming from Notch. If I'm being rude, I'm only responding in kind. You make it seem like arguments on here are done with courtesy or politeness. If you're going to moan about rudeness, at least have some consistency. Perhaps you can patronise me again by explaining what a citizen's arrest is again.

PartyBucket
Nov 2 2010 19:13
flaneur wrote:
notch8 wrote:
flaneur wrote:
I'll respond to this later on.

What, when you've dug up more legal jargon that doesnt really influence how most people go about the job in real life?

When I've come back from being out. Do you mean like legislation regarding detaining people, which ticket inspectors have done and continue to do so? Ah, but because you never, that means none have. Fairly astute logic in play there. What other blanket assumptions can you think of, based on what you've done/not done?

Not just what I have done or not, but also the hundreds of other railway workers Ive worked with over the 10 years Ive now worked there. One once threw revol off a train. Another one let him go for free cos he knew me. Some are jobsworths, some are incredibly laid back. Hows that different from people you meet in any other job?
Again can you define 'detain'? The power to tell someone they have to hang about and wait for the police is not the same power as the police have to detain someone by physical force.

flaneur
Nov 2 2010 19:26
Rob Ray wrote:
Quote:
Maybe that's not actual caution he's referring to, he might be meaning a pretend jokey one.

Yes, it would be, because cautions handed out by third-parties (ie. non-police), including btw those offered by local authorities, are not recorded on the police database.

Quote:
TfL Revenue Inspectors will “caution” any suspect in accordance with the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE), where questions put to the suspect are likely to result in admissions or confessions prejudicial to the suspect’s case.

(Before anyone says owt, the TFL operate under the Railways Act) Ticket inspector/Special PC Plod here says it's the same caution as given out by a copper. Given that they're both, I'm imagine they know what they're talking about. Now you can either take that on board (no pun intended) or disregard it as another chipshop anecdote, I don't give a toss. I'm not trawling through legal shit anymore to prove a fairly obvious point. But if it makes you happy, ticket inspectors are the doppelgangers of shop assistants, it's just they wear henious uniforms and work on trains. Bundling people over is an optional and completely personal thing.

flaneur
Nov 2 2010 19:24

Notch, we're just going round in circles here. I think legislation makes the difference. You reckon no one in the history of ticket inspectors has ever used it. I'm not Mystic Meg but I can see this isn't going anywhere.

I think detain in the context means reasonable force. I really don't think it's realistic to suggest that ticket inspectors politely request the person to stay put and they do. Reasonable force is an obvious necessity. There's also cases of physicality without any recriminations to the ticket inspector to suggest the same.

Rob Ray
Nov 2 2010 20:30
Quote:
Given that they're both, I'm imagine they know what they're talking about.

Unlike notch, whose job apparently has nothing to do with knowing what he's talking about.

You can't have it both ways, either the word of someone who works in the field isn't good enough, in which case you'll have to back your points up with legislation (and frankly in this case I would count the official recommendation of a major police watchdog over the word of a hobby bobby), or it is and you have to respect at least some of notch's wideranging personal experience as someone who actually worked in the role.

flaneur
Nov 2 2010 20:52

I have backed it up with legislation. It just then becomes a boring game of "well, what kind of caution/detaining is it?". And I'm comparing chipshop anecdote for chipshop anecdote here. Whilst Notch mighn't have any personal experience with it, it seems there's plenty who have.

Steven.
Nov 2 2010 20:59
flaneur wrote:
Notch, we're just going round in circles here. I think legislation makes the difference. You reckon no one in the history of ticket inspectors has ever used it. I'm not Mystic Meg but I can see this isn't going anywhere.

I think detain in the context means reasonable force. I really don't think it's realistic to suggest that ticket inspectors politely request the person to stay put and they do. Reasonable force is an obvious necessity. There's also cases of physicality without any recriminations to the ticket inspector to suggest the same.

Well it's good that your argument here is based on fact, rather than what you "think", or what you "really don't think".

Really, your argument here is completely nuts. Everyone has the right to detain anyone, like I said above. You said it was "patronising", my pointing out that anyone can carry out a citizen's arrest (detaining someone until the police arrive), thus implying that you knew that already, but in fact it seems that you still do not understand this, if you think that ticket inspectors being able to detain people makes them qualitatively different from anyone else.

As for cautions, like Rob pointed out other groups of workers like Council workers can issue cautions as well, but these aren't stored on the criminal database, and so essentially don't mean anything (even ones on PNC aren't a criminal conviction).

For what it's worth, I have been "detained" by a ticket inspector and they didn't use any force. Probably if I had legged it I would have got away, but I, like most people, just obeyed.

In any case, apart from having a hissy fit what is your actual point here? Do you think that ticket inspectors are part of the proletariat? Yes/no. If yes, then what is the point you are trying to get at?

PartyBucket
Nov 2 2010 21:48
flaneur wrote:
Notch, we're just going round in circles here. I think legislation makes the difference. You reckon no one in the history of ticket inspectors has ever used it. I'm not Mystic Meg but I can see this isn't going anywhere.

My point is that you are saying that 'Ticket Inspectors' all have these powers. In point of fact 'ticket inspector' covers a wide range of different jobs. In the course of my job I did ticket inspection, but did not have these mythical powers. So that shows you are generalising.

flaneur wrote:
I think detain in the context means reasonable force. I really don't think it's realistic to suggest that ticket inspectors politely request the person to stay put and they do.

That was my point. Thats exactly all I had the power to do. And the bad guys were supposed to 'obey' me because I was an 'official'. If I wanted anyone physically detained (or conversely removed from a train) I needed the cops; defending yourself if the other person becomes aggressive or violent is another matter obviously. And as others have pointed out, a shopworker can 'detain' a shoplifter by citizens arrest if they are that much of an idiot. steven., being in N. Ireland Id have had to wait for the regular cops to arrive, whereas with you being in England there would have been Transport Police in the station who would have done the actual physical detention.

flaneur wrote:
There's also cases of physicality without any recriminations to the ticket inspector to suggest the same.

And I could give you anecdotes about workmates being stood down and cautioned by the police for no more than putting their hand on a persons shoulder, so what?

flaneur
Nov 3 2010 03:41

Yes Steven, we've got that far before. But the question is, can they do it on the job? Shop workers can't if they want to keep theirs as shops will have none of it. Ticket inspectors have actual legislation allowing them to do so. That is the difference. By the by, there is updated law that states detaining can be done by reasonable force.

With the cautions, alright they're not criminal ones but I'm not completely sure that they are meaningless as they are admissions of guilt. Especially in instances where there's prosecution. Or a repeat offence. Sorry that's not clinical enough but there's isn't much information to go on. I'd be willing to concede I may be wrong.

Not really blowing things out of proportion at all, are ya? I've already explained my point, I don't think all the "but they're the same" posts really match up with how things are. Is that okay? And I assume you're just being facetious asking if I think ticket inspectors are part of the working class.

Red Marriott
Nov 3 2010 17:54
Job description wrote:
Revenue protection officers work on buses, trams and light rail systems. Their main job is to ensure that customers pay the right fare, so that the company's income is maintained.
Where a customer does not have the right ticket, officers may issue a spot fine. If the customer refuses to pay, the officer takes their name and address. The customer will then be sent a letter asking them to pay a higher penalty or go to court.
Officers also have a customer service role:
• answering queries about fares, routes and timetables
• helping elderly or disabled passengers
• ensuring safety on board.
Revenue protection officers spend most of their time travelling round the network. They board different vehicles for one or more stops.
They may use radios to keep in touch with colleagues and sometimes hand-held devices to issue tickets or check names and addresses. They need to keep records of their work.
[...]
http://www.connexions-direct.com/jobs4u/index.cfm?pid=64&catalogueContentID=720

.

Evening Standard article wrote:
Under the Penalty Fares Rules 2002, sections 5 (2) and (3), only an "authorised collector ...individually authorised by or on behalf of the operator of that train" is allowed to collect penalty fares. Not all train guards and excess ticket office staff are authorised collectors. You have the right to ask them to produce the special identification document which proves that they are. (This also helps to return a measure of the "embarrassment factor", which some collectors use to get travellers to pay up.) [...]
Once you have paid the single fare, the collector will then ask for your name and address so that they can send a demand for the rest to be paid within 21 days. They can check names and addresses while you wait with the electoral roll database. The only criminal offence in the whole penalty fares legislation is refusing to give a name and address, or giving a false one. So give the right details.
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standard/article-23731140-fare-dodgers.do

(The comments under that article show just how bullying and extortionate - often backed up by cops - some Revenue Collectors are.)

There is an obvious and necessary distinction to be made between those whose job definition is primarily repressive/penal – like those chasing fare dodgers – and a bus driver who also collects fares. Similarly, between shop assistants and store detectives. One has to negotiate and be aware of these distinctions as ‘one lives one’s life’ – not as technicalities or distorted abstractions for winning arguments - but as one has to deal with the delivery agents of capitalist discipline. Yes, there are some exceptional grey areas – but it’s really pathetic how some regular posters repeatedly try to portray these grey areas as the norm – and as therefore discounting all other more clear-cut examples - in an attempt to gloss over class contradiction and opposing interests. Two class theory is total bullshit. I note it’s been sufficiently flayed here that it’s no longer referred to by name, but its sentiments remain.

Steven wrote:
... what is your actual point here? Do you think that ticket inspectors are part of the proletariat? Yes/no. If yes, then what is the point you are trying to get at?

That may be a convenient technicality to use, but it's not the only point. Even if one claims they are, one has to define whether their role – what they do - is anti-proletarian. Cops, screws, bailiffs can, if one wants, be classified by some measures as "proletarian" but their role is pretty much anti-proletarian - their primary role being as deliverers of ruling class discipline. Similarly one has to ignore the history of class struggle - and which groups have shown solidarity or otherwise - to ignore or gloss over that these repressive functions are the enemy of the proletariat as a class during social movements and generally of more local and individual struggles of daily life. Amazing that this has to be repeatedly spelled out whenever class is a topic on libcom, in order to combat the liberal middle class ideology (regardless of the class of those who express it – though one has to wonder if it’s related to contradictions its defenders feel uncomfortable with in their own lives) that dominates here.

It’s been debated plenty of times;

Quote:
To use the argument that all jobs perpetuate capitalist relationships and so are equally compromised is to gloss over the distinctions between those jobs whose basic function is to discipline/punish - sure, there are some opportunities for this in many jobs (and we should criticise those jobsworths who enthusiastically use the opportunities to screw the working class by doing so) but some jobs exist primarily for this purpose. If you can't see that distinction you can't really understand the function of class society - but then a 2-class theory (which I suspect this an expression of) kind of precludes that already...
http://libcom.org/forums/news/instant-muscle-workfare-racketeers-gone-gone-gone-29022008

There are real grey areas and contradictions that have to be dealt with in practice if you want to challenge the hierarchical power of class society – but attempts to theoretically sweep them under the carpet are dishonest and disarming to real struggles.

Being based on a media snippet, the following is purely speculative but perhaps relevant; I saw a report last night saying that firemen had given cops a round of applause at the end of the night for their picket line policing. If true and if indicative of their present relationship, we can speculate that it suggests certain ‘contradictions’ will either hold back the firemen’s struggle or need to be confronted to advance. Firemen necessarily have an, at times, close working relationship with cops; this probably makes the cops at present a little softer on firemen pickets – but if it comes to the crunch and this dispute goes to the wire with the employers/state not giving an inch, then the firemen’s attitude to cops and legality would probably have to change to advance their struggle – seeking to maintain that ‘mateyness’ would be futile and utterly self-defeating in a situation anything remotely like, eg, the miners strike.

Similarly, any resistance to the implementation of spending cuts - public services, benefits etc - are likely to highlight the issue of how to deal with the conflict between those who impose the discipline of austerity and and their victims. Perhaps then we'll see how viable libcom's herd theoretical liberalism is.

Cooked
Nov 3 2010 21:41
Red Marriott wrote:
Similarly, any resistance to the implementation of spending cuts - public services, benefits etc - are likely to highlight the issue of how to deal with the conflict between those who impose the discipline of austerity and and their victims.

That seems like the time to deal with the conflict, if and when it arises. If these people bust out their repressin skillz at the picket line you will know what side they are on. A serious premeditated conspiracy of ticket officers would have to be in place for them to do more damage from the inside than from the outside.

Or can you see an other angle where they pose a threat to the resistance to cuts?

Rob Ray
Nov 3 2010 22:50

Given that you've been on here four years as a reasonably influential poster in your own right Ret and are supporting a case being made by a number of other long-time posters, I think talking about "libcom's herd theoretical liberalism" is a really odd thing to do.

If most people on the forum are arguing a line you don't think works then fair enough, but talking down to people you don't agree with as though they're just mindlessly following a "libcom" trend is an inaccurate, patronising and insulting attitude which doesn't do you any credit.

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Yes, there are some exceptional grey areas – but it’s really pathetic how some regular posters repeatedly try to portray these grey areas as the norm

Aimed at me? Cos so far the only time I've tried portraying "grey areas as the norm" is probably in this thread, specifically about guards. I've never even argued that most journalism acts as anything other than the reproduction of ruling class propaganda, only pointing out that this isn't the whole story and that some journalism and journalists can be (has been) useful to the anarchist movement. TGbh though I don't think it's particularly "liberal" (how are you defining this btw?) to acknowledge that most rules will have exceptions, particularly when it comes to people.

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Cops, screws, bailiffs

Has anyone argued anywhere that these aren't ruling class-collaborative roles? You missed the armed forces btw.

Red Marriott
Nov 4 2010 23:46
Cooked wrote:
can you see an other angle where they pose a threat to the resistance to cuts?

I wasn’t referring to ticket revenue officers when commenting on public services, benefits etc. But it may be that as subsidies to rail companies are reduced, revenue officers will be told to increase takings/quotas and so get heavier with offenders – enforcement of fare rises will be a further substantial attack on incomes. If there were more and larger ‘commuter revolts’ that challenged fare rises revenue officers would presumably be required to charge more travellers.

Rob Ray wrote:
Given that you've been on here four years as a reasonably influential poster in your own right Ret and are supporting a case being made by a number of other long-time posters, I think talking about "libcom's herd theoretical liberalism" is a really odd thing to do.

I'm not aware of having any great influence or how one would measure it or wield it. The “number of other long-time posters” making a similar point have been a definite minority. And my consistent impression is that a core of regulars have a consensus about 2 class theory etc. I never said anyone is "just mindlessly following a "libcom" trend" but implied that an unconvincing position is being collectively adhered to for dubious/obscure reasons. I don’t think that’s “inaccurate, patronising and insulting attitude” but find some of the defences of that line to be so. Nor are you always the model of politeness yourself, so spare the moral lecture.

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Aimed at me?

No, but if you’re;

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portraying "grey areas as the norm" ... in this thread, specifically about guards.

...then I’ll take issue, as it seems that the grey area of guards (ie, those whose main job is not ticket enforcement) has been highlighted as a supposedly refuting grey area at the expense of how people often experience ticket enforcement; ie, intimidating revenue officers backed up by cops.

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You missed the armed forces btw.

Yes, deliberately – as, unlike cops, screws, bailiffs etc, proletarians here don’t at present have to deal with armed forces as a repressive force in the struggles of their daily lives. Similarly, most of what I’m criticising seems to be abstract ideological categorisations made with out any relation to how one has to concretely interact with such forces.