Why the Chicago Sun Times fired its entire photo staff


Fired Sun-Times photographers and their supporters picket in front of their offices to demand their jobs back.  Photo/Rob Hart

Fired Sun-Times photographers and their supporters picket in front of their offices to demand their jobs back.
Photo/Rob Hart

CLARKSTON, MI — In late May 2013 the entire photo staff of the Chicago Sun-Times was fired.
The global economic crisis is evident in the newspaper industry.

The up and coming generation “Z” is totally based in robotics and electronics and have been raised on pixels. They were born into laptops, iPads, smartphones, texting, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

They have no affinity for ink on paper. This is the market the corporations have to concentrateon to realize maximum profits.

In an earlier period in U.S. history, from the transition to industry from agriculture, U.S. capital needed a nation-state in the form of a democratic republic. Key features included free public education, the franchise and popularly elected legislative bodies, the separation of church and state, a somewhat independent press and the capacity to mobilize a standing citizen army.

Such innovations were necessary for the development and defense of the national market and to ensure for capital the existence of an indoctrinated working class capable of functioning in an increasingly complex industrial factory system.

Today, under conditions of global electronics based production, speculative capital and giant corporations, the days of the bourgeois republican form of government are numbered.

Without a need for democracy there is no need for a free press. It is also dangerous to allow those who would expose what is really happening in society to do so.

With the robotic and electronic revolution in the economic base well under way, we are replacing manual/mental labor.We are also producing untold abundance, but robots cannot buy back what they produce. With an economic system requiring one to have a job to earn a wage to buy the necessaries of life, you have an irreconcilable contradiction. The value, profits and market system can no longer function to meet the needs of society.
Globalization and spreading technology brings about an evening up process. Rather than bringing the rest of the world’s workers up to the living standard many U.S. workers have enjoyed, our standard of living is being driven down to the level of the lowest paid worker anywhere.

The 1% have no control over this system as it implodes. The capitalists only response is an open fascist terroristic police state to contain the response to the destruction wrought by this implosion.

Democracy in this country has been reduced to merely casting a vote. Every four years they let us decide which of their leaders is going to mislead us for another four years. To enjoy the fruits of democracy the average person needs access to the tools of democracy: television, print, radio. The only folks who have that access are the billionaires.

Dr. Martin Luther King was right in demanding economic democracy: the democratic right to a job, house, food, healthcare and that elusive right to human happiness.

The only solution is another American revolution. This revolution has to take place in our minds first. An intellectual leap by the 99% and the working class is needed, as is a vision of a new society where all people’s needs are met.

Daymon J. Hartley is former staff photographer for the Detroit Free Press and is presently the photo editor for the People’s Tribune.

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