Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Arundhati Roy: a voice against the tyranny of corporate capitalism and empire

In her latest piece in the New Statesman, the Indian writer, novelist and political activist Arundhati Roy writes about contemporary India, but what she says about capitalism applies equally to this country:
"The day capitalism is forced to tolerate non-capitalist societies in its midst and to acknowledge limits in its quest for domination, the day it is forced to recognise that its supply of raw material will not be endless, is the day when change will come. If there is any hope for the world at all, it does not live in climate-change conference rooms or in cities with tall buildings. It lives low down on the ground, with its arms around the people who go to battle every day to protect their forests, their mountains and their rivers, because they know that the forests, the mountains and the rivers protect them.

The first step towards reimagining a world that has now gone terribly wrong would be to stop the annihilation of those who have a different imagination - an imagination that is outside of capitalism as well as communism, an imagination that has an altogether different understanding of what constitutes happiness and fulfilment. To gain this philosophical space, it is necessary to concede some physical space for the survival of those who may look like the keepers of our past, but who may really be the guides to our future. To do this, we have to ask our rulers: Can you leave the water in the rivers? The trees in the forest? Can you leave the bauxite in the mountain? If they say they cannot, then perhaps they should stop preaching morality to the victims of their wars". 

Arundhati Roy is the author of "The God of Small Things", which won the 1997 Booker Prize. Her most recent book is "Listening to Grasshoppers: Field Notes on Democracy" (Hamish Hamilton, £14.99)

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