Pic: EPA/FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA

The following is the text of a talk delivered by veteran journalist and film-maker John Pilger at the British Library in London last Saturday (Dec 9).  His talk was part of a festival called “The Power of the Documentary” organised by the Library.  The festival was held to mark its acquisition of the archive of his written work.

by John Pilger

I first understood the power of the documentary during the editing of my first film, The Quiet Mutiny. In the commentary, I make reference to a chicken, which my crew and I encountered while on patrol with American soldiers in Vietnam.

“It must be a Vietcong chicken – a communist chicken,” said the sergeant. He wrote in his report: “enemy sighted”.

The chicken moment seemed to underline the farce of the war – so I included it in the film. That may have been unwise. The regulator of commercial television in Britain – then the Independent Television Authority or ITA – had demanded to see my script. What was my source for the political affiliation of the chicken? I was asked. Was it really a communist chicken, or could it have been a pro-American chicken?

Of course, this nonsense had a serious purpose; when The Quiet Mutiny was broadcast by ITV in 1970, the US ambassador to Britain, Walter Annenberg, a personal friend of President Richard Nixon, complained to the ITA. He complained not about the chicken but about the whole film. “I intend to inform the White House,” the ambassador wrote. Gosh.

The Quiet Mutiny had revealed that the US army in Vietnam was tearing Read the rest of this entry »

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PFLP rally, Gaza city, 2010 (photo credit: Mustafa Hassona/Flash90)

The statement below was issued by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine last week:

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine described the declaration of US President Donald Trump as a declaration of war against the Palestinian people and their rights that makes the U.S. position clear as a hostile entity toward our people and a partner of the Zionist state in its crimes against the Palestinian people and land, and it must be addressed on this basis.

Further, the Front considered that Trump also launched a “bullet of mercy” on the so-called two-state solution, the settlement project and the delusions of the peace process. It called upon the Palestinian leadership to learn the necessary lessons from the Read the rest of this entry »

German pilots’ strike 2016 (Photo: Reuters)

by Wladek Flakin

In the first half of 2017, a total of 12.545 people were deported from Germany. But not every deportation was successful. The German government just informed the parliament that between January and September of this year, 222 deportations were prevented because airplane pilots refused to take off. According to the government’s statement, 143 deportations were stopped at Germany’s biggest airport, Frankfurt am Main. A further 40 were stopped in Düsseldorf.

A pilot decides if a flight can start safely. If a passenger is being deported, i.e. forced to travel to a foreign country against their will, then a pilot Read the rest of this entry »

The Kanak flag

by Bernard Alleton

Within the next year the referendum on the self-determination of Kanaky / New Caledonia [1] must be held. This territory of the Pacific has been a French colony since 1853, and was re-registered in 1986 by the United Nations on the list of non-autonomous territories to be decolonized. The Kanaks have never accepted the spoliation of their lands and the denial of their culture.

May Day demonstration in Noumea, 2011

In 1988, the Matignon-Oudinot agreements put an end to a new revolt that had been crushed in the Ouvéa bloodbath, where 19 Kanaks were killed, some of them executed while they were prisoners. This agreement provided for a period of 10 years before the holding of a referendum on self-determination, but in 1998 the Nouméa agreement postponed the deadline until the end of 2018.

This agreement was signed by the Read the rest of this entry »

Among other activities, the revolutionary working class organisation Lutte Ouvriere produces weekly bulletins in hundreds of workplaces across the country.  Tne bulletins relate to specific experiences and issues faced by the workers in these workplaces, but also contain an editorial on big political questions, national or international issues.  The editorial in the November 27 edition of these bulletins was on France and Africa.

Last week, during his visit to Africa, French President Macron cynically declared that France no longer had a specific “African policy”.

The truth is that, since 2014, thousands of French soldiers have been deployed in Mali where, under the pretext of combating terrorism, they wage a war which regularly kills civilians. The French army is present on a permanent basis in many African countries, including Burkina Faso where Macron made his declaration. France has always intervened in the country, supporting the authors of military coups and dictators aspiring to obediently defend the interests of French imperialists.

Macron also declared that he belonged to a generation who considers that “the crimes of European colonization are undeniable and are part of our history”. Macron is indeed too young to have known first-hand the “colonial times”. But he belongs to the long list of political leaders who helped the French bourgeoisie get rich thanks to its colonial empire.

Africa’s dire poverty and the miserable conditions of most Africans are neither natural nor inevitable. They are due to the century-old plundering of Africa by colonial powers, with France playing a leading role in the continent’s colonization.

Many French bourgeois families built their fortune on Read the rest of this entry »

by Phil Duncan

Last Friday (December 1) all the staff at Rotorua Aquatics, which is owned by the local council, were presented with redundancy notices.

The Council wants to bring in an outside management company, and is preparing the ground for this with the redundancy notices.  The Rotorua Lakes Council is so high-handed that it didn’t even bother with the usual employer pretence of “consultation”.

The mayor involved in this assault on workers’ rights is Steve Chadwick, a former four-term Labour MP

Not surprisingly, the mayor involved in this attack on workers’ rights is a former Labour MP, Steve Chadwick.

The Council’s over-riding motive is clear – Read the rest of this entry »

by Barnaby Philips

In Imperialism: the highest stage of capitalism, Lenin wrote that ‘the world has become divided into a handful of usurer states and a vast majority of debtor states’. Since formal decolonisation in the 1960s, his work has been dismissed as antiquated, even among sections of the radical Left. Now in 2017, with the capitalist system sinking into its deepest crisis since Lenin’s day, a new study into global trade has shown his analysis to be as relevant as ever. It revealed that between 1980 and 2012, the net outflows of capital from ‘developing and emerging’ oppressed countries being funnelled into ‘developed’ imperialist nations totalled $16.3 trillion. The truth about our ostensibly post-colonial world is that poor nations are still developing rich nations, the opposite of what we are so often told.

On 5 December 2016, the US-based Global Financial Integrity (GFI) and the Centre for Applied Research at the Norwegian School of Economics published the report Financial flows and tax havens: combining to limit the lives of billions of people.1 It found that in 2012, the last year of recorded data, ‘developing and emerging countries’ – in Central and South America, Africa, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia – received a total of $1.3 trillion, including all aid, investment, and income, but that $3.3 trillion flowed out in the opposite direction to the ‘developed world’ – North America, Western Europe, Japan, South Korea and Australia.

These figures express the contemporary reality of imperialism: that a minority of oppressor nations, led by the US and Britain, plunder the rest of the world, oppressed nations, for profit and resources. As Lenin explained, the economic imperative behind this social relationship stems from the fact that capital exported from oppressor to oppressed nations is Read the rest of this entry »