The journalism of John Pilger

review by MIM, September 2004

John Pilger appears to be an independent journalist based in Britain who contributes to many mainstream publications including the New York Times, The Guardian, The New Statesman(1), the Daily Mirror, and BBC broadcasts. We say he appears to be independent because many journalists and publications claim to be independent but in reality represent the interests of whoever is financing their work behind the scenes, frequently making them mouthpieces of one imperialist or another. Pilger's work is, for the most part, anti-imperialist and so it seems unlikely he's being paid to do this, in fact it's pretty remarkable that he gets published in such mainstream press.

One article on Pilger's web site that MIM likes a lot is a piece he wrote for the New Statesman in August of 2004 entitled Bush v. Kerry: The Fake Debate. In it he points out that more wars have been launched by so-called liberal Democratic Amerikan presidents. He notes "Although few liberal-minded voters seem to have illusions about John Kerry, their need to get rid of the "rogue" Bush administration is all consuming." But Pilger points out "The multilateralism or; muscular internationalism; that Kerry offers in contrast to Bush's unilateralism is seen as hopeful by the terminally naive; in truth, it beckons even greater dangers." And he points out that as Bush alienates former allies it is possible he will more quickly lead to a destruction of the system that is crucial to Amerika's hegemony.(2) MIM calls this increasing inter-imperialist rivalry, something that revolutionaries can take advantage of to advance our struggle.

Pilger concludes this article: " The real debate is neither Bush nor Kerry, but the system they exemplify; it is the decline of true democracy and the rise of the American 'national security state' in Britain and other countries claiming to be democracies..."(2) We agree that the real debate should be about the system, not the lesser of two evils. But this statement also sums up where Pilger and MIM differ. Pilger sees a history of true democracy somewhere while MIM sees a history of class struggle that we are fighting to lead to true democracy and freedom only after capitalism has been overthrown. Elsewhere Pilger points to the dangers of "globalization" while MIM attacks imperialism as the system that has globalized the world economy and that is the real problem of exploitation and oppression of the majority of the worlds people.

Pilgers work (available on his web site) includes informative pieces on the war in Vietnam and Amerika's deceptions and destruction during that war. He has a section on East Timor describing the imperialist complicity in the Indonesian invasion and massacre of that country. There are also useful sections on Iraq and Palestine. Pilger focuses on repression and terror perpetuated by the U.$., Britain, and Australia. During the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney Pilger took the opportunity to report on the oppression of indigenous people by the Australian government, describing the apartheid-like conditions and repressive legislation.

On September 16th Pilger published an article in the New Statesman entitled "The most important terrorism is 'ours.'" In it he condemns Amerikan and British terrorism in Iraq, Israeli terrorism in Palestine, and Russian terrorism in Chechyna. Reporting like this makes a valuable contribution to anti-imperialist struggles around the world. MIM takes things further, not only exposing imperialist terrorism, but also supporting national liberation struggles around the world, and stating clearly the need to overthrow the corrupt and rotting system of imperialism in the struggle towards communist society.

1. The New Statesman claims to be socialist at best is just a liberal mouthpiece for the left wing of the Labour party and some liberal revisionists using the term "socialism."
2. Bush v Kerry: The Fake Debate