John Pilger “The New Rulers of the World”

ISBN 978-1-85984-412-0. “The New Rulers of the World” was written by John Pilger and published in 2002 by Verso. The book is 215 pages long not including notes and index. John is best known as a TV Journalist and Documentary maker. We recently reviewed his DVD box set “Documentaries that Changed the World” so if you have seen that you will know what to expect. The book is essentially four long essays. It opens with “The Model Pupil” which discusses dictatorship in Indonesia. This was new to us. It covers how the west supported the appalling dictatorship of General Suharto. However it is the writing concerning the over-throw of Nationalist President Achmed Sukarno in 1966 that is most original. The events of that year were popularised by the novel “The Year of Living Dangerously” by Christopher Koch. Pilger shows how all was not what it seems. The Army Coup that brought Suharto to power was blamed upon the Indonesian Communist Party – the PKI – but this account was fictitious. For a “communist coup” it was unique in that the Communists didn’t take part – they were the victims of a near-genocidal attack that killed 400,000 in a murder spree. The book’s title actually comes from the ITV Documentary of the same name which took Pilger to Indonesia. This work is followed by “Paying the Price” which largely covers the content of his documentary by the same name. This covers the death of countless thousands of innocents in Iraq under American sanctions. Next we have “The Great Game” which is similar to his documentary film “Breaking the Silence” and concerns the truth and lies behind the war on terror. Finally we have “The Chosen Ones” which is largely taken from his documentary called “Welcome to Australia”. This covers the genocide and racial subjugation of the Aboriginal peoples of ‘down-under’ by the white rulers. It is tempting the see these as cheap transcripts of his documentaries. However this doesn’t do him justice. These do stand up as works in their own right even if you do get deja vu whilst reading. What we love about Pilger’s is his Introduction to this book. He opens by drawing several parallels between Dick Cheney’s war on terrorism and George Orwell’s “1984”. This is a correlation we have pursued actively at TCW – indeed our blogger-in-chief honours Orwell by using his name. However there is often not much new in this books. You often see the same things on the pages of Chomsky or Moore. It is just journalism and is carried on in that reportage style. However, Pilger does surprise at some points including his section of western liberal elites and their responsibility for turning a blind eye to the crimes of their countries. In this Pilger is quite strong, in fact he criticises liberals far more than the right-wing politicians in Washington. This book is highly recommended. We close this look at Pilger’s work by repeating something from the second paragraph of the Introduction: “In the novel (referring to George Orwell’s ‘1984’), three slogans dominate society: war is peace, freedom is slavery and ignorance is strength. Today’s slogan, ‘war on terrorism’, also reverses meaning. The war is terrorism.” Finely put.

About post-carbon-man

A passionate advocate of a peaceful transition to a sustainable political-economy, Mark hails from a working class farming background. Today he is a Company Director and Chairman of the Low Carbon Chilterns Co-operative. Whilst at University (Engineering Masters) he was active in Conservative Student politics but has had no affiliation since. He has travelled widely on business covering the USA, Europe, Middle East and Central Asian Republics. In 2007 Mark founded Post-Carbon-Living and a year later co-founded Transition Town High Wycombe. He lives with is wife & daughter in a home they retrofitted to be carbon-neutral. Today he blogs about surviving politics on a shrinking planet and is passionate in his rejection of Nationalism.

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