Last term Queen Mary Student Union banned the university shop from selling copies of the Sun newspaper, which is fair enough because the Sun is a sexist, racist, homophobic, anti-working class rag.

But this ban was voted through by a small meeting of the student union council, without much publicity or explanation for the wider student body. The result was that some students decided to defy the student union by handing out free copies of the Sun on campus. They claimed they were defending free speech and the freedom of the press. It seemed to go right over their heads that the Sun is not the voice of the downtrodden and the dispossessed. It’s the voice of multi-billionaire media baron Rupert Murdoch, who doesn’t need a bunch of Queen Mary students to defend his freedom of speech.

Marxists have no time for the Sun. We’d be happy to see the back of the bourgeois bully Murdoch and all of his poisonous media outlets. We think that this would actually be a step forward for fair, balanced and democratic media, not a step back.

But we think that if a ban is going to be implemented it must be done properly, on the basis of a big campaign involving as many students as possible. The student union could have called a mass meeting, perhaps getting a speaker from the Hillsborough 96 Justice campaign down from Liverpool to speak. It could have used its platform and publications to explain its position and engage students in the fight against the Sun and the vile prejudices it espouses. It could even have talked about broadening the campaign out by linking up with print workers and the National Union of Journalists. In the past the city of Liverpool built a mass working-class movement to boycott the Sun. This is the way forward.

by Queen Mary Marxist Society

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