by John Pilger
In his second inaugural address, President Bush pledged to "bring democracy to the world". In a speech lasting 23 minutes, he mentioned the words 'democracy' and 'liberty' 21 times. Most of the world, it is fair to say, will have recoiled, many in fear...
Bush's speech was significant because it finally emptied noble concepts like 'democracy' of their true meaning - government, of, by and for the people. Never before have people in the west shown such disenchantment with the democracy they vote for and the version they get. Never before has most of humanity registered such alarm at the ambitions of a great power.
The War on Democracy demonstrates the brutal reality of America's notion of 'spreading democracy'; that, in fact, America is actually conducting a war on democracy, and that true popular democracy is now more likely to be found among the poorest of Latin America whose grassroots movements are often ignored in the west.
John Pilger conducts an exclusive interview with President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela. Pilger also goes to the United States and in some remarkable interviews, speaks exclusively to US government officials who ran the CIA's war in Latin America in the 1980s. This reveals more about US policy than all the statements and postures of recent times; it also reveals how what's happened in Latin America is a metaphor for how the rest of the world is being "ordered."
The War on Democracy, however, is a hopeful film, for it sees the world not through the eyes of the powerful, but through the hopes and dreams and extraordinary actions of ordinary people. Although set mostly in Latin America, it is a metaphor for all the world.
The thrust of John Pilger's latest film is a constant theme in all his work: that great, rapacious power is far from invincible and that people power is enduring. Photographed in high definition video, few films have been as timely as The War on Democracy.