The film concerned the brutal Indonesian occupation of East Timor, which began in Death of a Nation contributed to an international outcry which ultimately led to Indonesian withdrawal from East Timor and eventual independence in Based on its investigation, the ITC rejected the complaints about the film, stating in its report: The ITC raised with Carlton all the significant areas of inaccuracy critics of the programme alleged and the broadcaster answered them by reference to a range of historical texts. In the s and 70s, British governments expelled the entire population of the Chagos Archipelago , settling them in Mauritius , with only enough money to live in the slums.
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The world is divided between the rich, who get richer, and the poor, who get poorer, and the rich get richer on the backs of the poor. The documentary is 15 years old now, but it provides a very useful introduction to the following concepts within global development. It introduces you to the role of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in an accessible way.
NB this documentary is now over 15 years old, so you might like to think about the extent to which it still applies to Indonesia 15 years on, and the extent to which you can generalise this analysis to other countries today.
NB — the headings below are my own, not from the documentary John Pilger — The New Rulers of the World — intro section In recent months, millions of people around the world have been protesting against a new economic order called globalisation.
Never before has the human race enjoyed such enormous capacity to create wealth and reduce poverty, but never before has inequality been so great. The famous brands of almost everything are now made in poor countries, with wages so low it borders on slave labour.
Tiger Woods is paid more money to promote Nike than the entire workforce in Indonesia are paid to make Nike products. This film is about the New Rulers of the World — and especially their impact on one country — Indonesia. It was first colonised by the Dutch in the 16th century, and plundered by the west for hundreds of years, a debt which is yet to paid back. To illustrate this success the video now cuts to a lavish wedding between two merchant families — these are the elite who have reaped the benefits of globalisation —the freedom to earn money and let that money make more money.
The lavish wedding is contrasted to an Indonesian labour camp less than 5 miles way where young people make the cheap consumer goods we consume in the west. Dormitories are made from breeze blocks, they flood when it rains, and open sewers spread diseases which kill children.
The labour camp is set in an economic processing zone, which is basically a vast area of sweat shops. Investigating Poor Working Conditions in Indonesia The documentary crew posed as fashion buyers to gain access and secretly filmed in one factory, and also conducted dozens of interviews with workers in these factories.
Working conditions are claustrophobic, frenzied, the workers fatigued, and working under strip-lighting in temperatures of up to 40 degrees the management however have air conditioned offices. They also have horrendous working hours — which can be upped when deadlines for orders are due. The workers are typically young women and one worker is on camera saying that she once worked a 24 hour shift with no breaks. She says she is too scared to refuse or even question the working hours.
These factories are owned by Taiwanese and Korean contractors who take orders from companies such as GAP whose products were made in the above factory where the workers are paid extremely low wages. GAP has codes of conduct which are supposed to apply to working conditions globally, and GAP representatives do visit the factories, but the workers interviewed say they are warned by management to not tell them about forced overtime.
Dita Sari — Trade union leader Points out that codes of conduct are meaningless in a country like Indonesia because there is high unemployment and terrible poverty, so the people are desperate enough to put up with dismal working conditions, and the government is unwilling to enforce the codes because they want Indonesia to be as attractive as possible to international companies which means keeping labour cheap.
For the sake of the documentary, they had to keep the factories anonymous, because the workers would have Victimisation from contractors and violence from anti-unionists. Barry Coats — World Development Movement We should aim to be better informed as consumers — when we buy something, we need to ask the company where it was produced and to give assurances that the workers are treated fairly. Suharto removed from power the founder of modern Indonesia, Sukarno — a nationalist who believed in economic independence for the country.
This regime change was one of the bloodiest mass murders in post WW2 history, with more than a million people estimated to have died in the process. Suharto took brutal steps to consolidate his power by rounding up thousands and thousands of civil servants, school teachers and basically anyone with communist leanings and murdering them.
He did this with the support of the CIA, who provided a list of people they wanted dead, and the British ambassador at the time suggested a little shooting was necessary to ease the transition, while British war ships played a supporting role in protecting Indonesian troops. For western business this was the start of the gold rush which later became known as globalisation, and barely anyone mentioned the million dead Indonesians. Professor Jeffrey Winters Has never heard of a situation like this where global capital holds a meeting with the state and hammered out their interests.
The conference lasted for three days — and the companies present hammered out policies which would be acceptable to them on a sector by sector basis. They basically designed the legal infrastructure for investment in the country. It basically becomes clear from a series of interviews, despite their evasiveness, that the international business community new they were dealing with a nepotistic mass murderer. Globalisation — the British arms connection Globalisation began in the s when Margaret Thatcher dismantled manufacturing and poured billions of pounds into building up the arms industry.
The Queen — entertaining the mass murderer and dictator general Suharto So important was Suharto to British arms exporters, that he was welcomed to London by the Queen. Their empire today is greater than the British Empire ever was. Basically they are the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund, two bodies which are the agents of the richest countries on earth, especially America.
Initially set up to help rebuild European economies after WW2, they later they began offering loans to poor countries, but only if they privatised their economies and allowed western companies free access to their raw materials and markets.
The poorest countries are in a cycle of poverty, and current debt-reduction not forgiveness is not sufficient to allow them. The World Bank says its aim is to help poor people, calling this gobal development. The Financial Crash, the End of Suharto and Indonesian Debt Repayment Globalisation means that capital big money can be moved anywhere at any time, without warning.
In short-term capital was suddenly pulled out of Asia, collapsing the miracle economy overnight. Interview The bank presents itself as an economic development agency, focusing on poverty reduction, but in fact, the bank operated during the entire cold war as an institution which distributed money to mainly authoritarian regimes in the third world that supported the West in the Cold War. Of course the debt remained, and still had to be paid back to the World Bank.
According to the auditor general of the World Bank, if the citizens of Indonesia made a legal challenge against the World Bank over the remaining debt given that they never received the money , the World Bank would be bankrupt, because this has gone on the world over. When asked why there was such a silence over the atrocities of Suharto, he simply said the World Bank got it wrong, and they will get it wrong in the future too. Dita Sari Globalisation creates debts, creates misery, creates crisis, and creates privatisation, which pushes up the prices people have to pay for basic goods.
In effect the money stolen by the Suharto regime is being paid back by the people who never benefited from that money. Interview with Stanley Fischer, from the International Monetary Fund John Pliger asks whether debt cancellation should be a priority if we are to alleviate poverty, given that some countries spend half their GDP on debt repayments. Fischer argues that we should not necessarily cancel their debt — we should rather look at the policies on education and health, and look at what sort of economies they run — do they integrate into the world economy, or do they run corrupt economies.
NB — The subtext to the interview is that Western financial institutions depend on the debt repayments being kept up too. Now people now eat two meals rather than three meals a day. Protests at the World Trade Organisation Two years ago, protestors from all over the world converged on Seattle at a meeting of the World Trade Organisation….
The documentary makes the following claims, all of which are worth investigating to see if they are still true today…. There is a small elite in poor countries which benefit from these economic policies and enforce them, against the interests of the majority.
The New Rulers of the World
If you want a book that will put iron in your spine, take an active role in the world around you and stand up for what you believe in, you need this book! It will enlighten you on the truth behind the spin and beneath the glossed annals of history, and show you the dark underbelly of the insidious way our politicians have undermined their own self-professed love of democracy and freedom. It will vividly tell you how hundreds of thousands have died in Indonesia through explicit support from Western powers eager to make profit, how the indigenous of Australia have been maligned, abused and disenfranchised for decades and many more incendiary themes. His courage to portray the truth is the subject of both harsh criticism and even hatred. Yet there is also those who understand that his dedication to expose the reality of the stories he covers, is in fact a love affair with justice. Something that very few journalists even know what means any more. And I speak as a one.
The New Rulers of the World – A Summary
The famous brands of almost everything from running shoes to baby clothes are now made in very poor countries with cheap labour, at times bordering on a form of slave labour. More than a million people opposed to the increasing gap between rich and poor, at a time when the control of resources was becoming centred in fewer and fewer hands, had staged a series of anti-capitalist demonstrations. Through secret filming, Pilger shows how cheap labour in an Indonesian sweatshop produces goods such as Nike, Adidas, Gap and Reebok running shoes that are sold for up to times the amount received by workers, about 72p a day. Almost 70 million Indonesians live in extreme poverty, many in labour camps housing the workers, where children are under-nourished and prone to disease.