Censored 1999: The News That Didn't Make the News -- The Year's Top 25 Censored Stories
by Peter Phillips and Project Censored
(NY: Seven Stories Press, 1999), 400pp. pb.
reviewed by MC5, September, 1999
MIM gives this book a modest thumbs up. It has attracted a wide range of supporters ranging from progressive to libertarian to anarchist to pseudo-Maoist.
Almost all the stories are ones that the mainstream media did not have the courage to print. They usually do not involve cases of actual government censorship as in the case of MIM Notes. As such, the publication of this book reflects the just complaints of the petty-bourgeoisie, while the government's actions against MIM Notes are repression aimed at preventing the North Amerikan lumpen-proletariat and international proletariat from hooking up.
MIM Notes is the most censored newspaper in North Amerika, but MIM Notes is not mentioned in the book. When we say censored, we mean taken and destroyed or blocked by government officials, usually in the prisons but sometimes by border officials or postal authorities. By now, MIM Notes has been censored thousands of times in its history since 1984. We have extensive documentary proof written to us by U.S. and state prison officials in many cases.
Nonetheless, the evil of monopoly capitalist media concentration is widespread and a book about poorly covered news stories need not mention the most censored newspaper in order to be a legitimate contribution to the struggle. Most of the stories about environment/health and international matters are indeed informative. They are published only in small newspapers.
One example of a story that represents censorship within censorship is the article on Tibet. "China Violates Human Rights in Tibet" is hardly a censored story. It appears in all the bourgeois media all the time. The story purports to be original by focussing on wimmin in Tibet and the book as a whole tries hard to embrace an imperialist pseudo-feminist agenda.
We do not learn in the story that the leaders of the movement in Tibet are defending a system that included slavery. Nor do we learn from the pseudo-feminists that under Mao, the leader of Tibet was a Tibetan womyn, a former slave liberated in civil war there.
Instead, the first line of the story is a fiction, about "China's invasion of Tibet in 1959."(p. 63) These trendy petty-bourgeois scholars and activists simply follow the Ford Foundation grant money making obeisance to pseudo-feminism and not knowing anything very thoroughly. With some effort one can easily investigate the question of Tibet's borders by going to a major library and finding a map from before Mao's liberation of China in 1949.
For example, the Rand McNally map of the world in 1943 shows Tibet as part of China. Hence, how can it be "invaded" by China? What happened was an internal dispute regarding slavery. True, the dominant people of China had to tread carefully to respect the culture of Tibet, but Tibet was not "invaded." Too bad Project Censored does not respect "humyn rights" enough to oppose slavery in Tibet, because that is what Maoists were doing internally in the 1950s. The Chinese communists hardly cared whether a bunch of Western hippie tourists continued their Buddhist fashions. Such hippies are no threat to anyone except as an occasional cover for spies. (For example the recent picking of the Panchen Lama by the Dalai Lama was done with Western film crews, Buddhist volunteers and messengers.)
It's one thing for Tibetans and other Chinese to say Tibet was invaded but it is simple war-mongering chauvinism for Project Censored to say it. When the United $tates had its puppet Chiang Kai-shek in power in China, it regarded Tibet as part of China. When China went communist, suddenly the Amerikans contest Tibet's being part of China. Project Censored simply echoes the mainstream media myopia regarding the Cold War.
Buy This Book