T. A. Jackson

Book Review

The Organisation of Idolatry

Source: The Communist, March 12, 1921.
Publisher: Communist Party of Great Britain
Transcription/Markup: Brian Reid
Proofreader: Chris Clayton
Public Domain: Marxists Internet Archive (2006). You may freely copy, distribute, display and perform this work; as well as make derivative and commercial works. Please credit “Marxists Internet Archive” as your source.

“The Brass Check”
Upton Sinclair
Henderson’s (Charing Cross Road)
3s. 6d.

In October last we drew attention in THE COMMUNIST to this vitally important book, and its overwhelming proof of the systematic conspiracy of the whole capitalist Press to serve the ends of the bourgeois social order. Since then parts of it have appeared as a serial in the “Daily Herald,” and we are glad to take the opportunity of a new issue by Messrs. Hendersons to repeat our conviction that every Communist should make himself familiar with this “bomb-shell.”

Capitalism having passed its period of social usefulness and entered, upon its decline, perforce struggles to preserve its being. The more arbitrary its rule, in fact, the more necessary it should seem democratic in theory. More and more the bourgeois dictators need a volume of popular sentiment and approval to support them in their arbitrary villainies. The art of Government thus becomes (as Bernard Shaw has it) the “art of the organization of idolatry,” and to that end there must be created a mass-emotion resulting from a mass mis-information, whose business it is the function of the Press to achieve.

The great value of Sinclair’s book is in the skill with which the case is proved. Concrete instance after instance is given—private adventures of Red agitators and literary men, strikes, politics, national, local and international—and in every instance he shows the Press at work systematically suppressing the truth, suggesting or asserting the false, in to order to create in the minds of its massed millions of victims that organized and manufactured ignorance which makes possible the continuance of the Dictatorship of the Big Fat Hog. No Communist’s education has been completed until he has read the “Brass Check” all through.