In the interview Roy attempts to explain how India is going down the neoliberal path by touching on the subjects of foreign investments, IMF policies, deeply indebted farmers, use of paramilitaries and regular armed forces to clear the land of populations resisting such policies, and the control of Indian politics by major corporations.
ARUNDHATI ROY: So, I’m talking about how, when you have this kind of control over all business, over the media, over its essential infrastructure, electricity generation, information, everything, then you just field your, you know, pet politicians. ...reasons that is being attributed to the slowdown of the economy is the fact that there is a tremendous resistance to all of this from the people on the ground, from the people who are being displaced, from the—and in the forests, it’s the Maoist guerrillas; in the villages, it’s all kinds of people’s movements—all of whom are of course being called Maoist. And now...these new economic policies cannot be implemented unless—except with state—with coercive state violence. So you have a situation where the forests are full of paramilitary just burning villages, you know, pushing people out of their homes, trying to clear the land for mining companies to whom the government has signed.... So there is a kind of war which, of course, always existed in India. There hasn’t been a year when the Indian army hasn’t been deployed against its own people. ....
AMY GOODMAN: Since when?I used the phrase "attempts to explain" deliberately. I was not pleased by the way the interviewers handled the interview. Both interviewers seemed more interested in drawing out her views regarding the upcoming national elections in India, but that really wasn't what Roy was interested in because she quickly explained that the whole government apparatus was controlled by large corporations. She began to launch into what really interested her: an explanation of the role of NGOs in influencing media and the people.
ARUNDHATI ROY: Since independence, since 1947, you know? But now the plan is to deploy them. Now it’s the paramilitary. But this new election is going to be who is the person that the corporates choose, who is not going to blink about putting the Indian—about deploying the Indian army against the poorest people in this country, you know, and pushing them out to give over those lands, those rivers, those mountains, to the major mining corporations. So this is what we are being prepared for now—the air force, the army, going in into the heart of India now.
“Having worked out how to manage governments, political parties, elections, courts, the media and liberal opinion, the neoliberal establishment faced one more challenge: how to deal with the growing unrest, the threat of ’people’s power.’ How do you domesticate it? How do you turn protesters into pets? How do you vacuum up people’s fury and redirect it into a blind alley?She then started to discuss the origins of NGOs in the US and their role here in shaping political activity so that they would not interfere with capitalist agendas. However, before she could get into their role in India, a co-interviewer diverted the discussion in another, less controversial direction: what Roy intended to write about in the future.
This diversion and the framing of the whole interview around elections really peaked my interest. I couldn't help but wonder if the management of the interview itself didn't actually illustrate what Roy was getting into: the influence of NGOs or of non-profit funding agencies to act as limiting agents or gatekeepers to contain dissent.
"Democracy Now!" has been cited as one media outlet among many that have received ruling class foundation money as reported by Edward Ulrich in his article "Media Outlets Such as 'Democracy Now!' are Establishment Controlled News Sources". Stuart Bramhall and others have reported on the history of the CIA and other government agencies infiltrating news organizations to disseminate false information up until Church Committee investigations in 1975, after which foundations became more active in funding and influencing media that might pose too critical a threat to the policies of the ruling One Percent.
Such funding mainly functions to limit what left media outlets cover and how they cover controversial topics. Perhaps that explains the reason why the popular left-wing media program "Democracy Now!" has always refused to interview knowledgeable people about evidence that puts in doubt the official reports about 9/11, the Boston Bombing, and other terrorist incidents.