Thursday, August 31, 2006

New Statesman Sept 4th

This New Statesman leads on the world's Dictators, but there's a stand-out piece by John Pilger, 'The return of people power', which compares the general acceptance of Reaganite propaganda about Nicaragua in the '80s with the general scepticism in Britain today. Pilger quotes Vandana Shiva to talk about an "insurrection of subjugated knowledge" and a revived internationalism 'aided by new technologies' and says Bush and Blair can't get away with it. He takes examples from Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon (quoting Simon Assaf without mentioning Socialist Worker) and uses Assaf's account of a popular movement from below in Lebanon to talk about the popular movements in Bolivia and Venezuela, and Derbyshire. Pilger's account is very strong. I do have a caveat, which is the starry-eyed treatment of the resistance in Iraq. Pilger quotes statistics I've seen on blogs quite a bit about the percentage of bombs exploded in July. I'm not disagreeing with saying 70% were aimed at the Americans, 20% against 'puppet police force' and 10% against civilians. The slippage is from the number of bombs to the number of killings, which seem to me to be overwhelmingly civilian. I understand the desire to paint the resistance in the best light, but this seems to me to be too rosy, too utopian.

Elsewhere: the magazine editorialises on the likely outcome of a Tory election victory, warning that images of a caring conservatism could easily be misplaced and constitutional changes to remove Labour's Scottish advantage could ensure Labour is excluded for another generation.

Sam Alexandroni reports on how Syria is enjoying Hezbolah's victory in Lebanon. Sadly Rageh Omaar still doesn't seem to have much to say about Iraq. Ziauddin Sardar warns against Tablighi Jamaat. Charles Clarke offers advice to the Labour administration.

And the dictators: Musharraf of Pakistan, Lukashenko of Belarus, Ayatollah Khamenei of Iran, Kim Jong-il of North Korea, Niyazov of Turkmenistan, Hu Jintao of China, Nguema of Equatorial Guinea, Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai, and goodbye to Stoessner of Paraguay.


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