A. Roy's recent article - Re-imagining a World Beyond Capitalism and Communism
#1
I read a recent article ( http://www.adbusters.org/magazine/101/de...eland.html ) by A. Roy, which is an excerpt from her book Walking with the Comrades. The book and the article are about problems faced by the Indian tribal people and their resistance to being repeatedly displaced by the state and corporations to make room for the next dam/mine.

I have not read the book and I don’t know in what context this article appears in the book. But as I read the article I had a few problems with the way A. Roy presents these issues. Take a look at the following parts of the article.

Quote:Most important of all, India has a surviving adivasi (aboriginal) population of almost 100 million. They are the ones who still know the secrets of sustainable living. If they disappear, they will take those secrets with them. Wars like Operation Green Hunt will make them disappear. So victory for the prosecutors of these wars will contain within itself the seeds of destruction, not just for adivasis but, eventually, for the human race.

Is there any data on how sustainable their lifestyle is? If they were to disappear will it eventually cause the destruction of the human race?

Standing up for the rights of adivasis is one thing. But claiming that they are the ones who still know the secrets of sustainable living seems extreme to me. IMO, whether or not their lifestyle is sustainable should have little to do with their right to not be displaced by the state.

Quote: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.

I understand that the indigenous people have been screwed over by the state over and over again. And something must be done to reverse that trend and to get them the justice they deserve. But as A. Roy claims, are they really the guides of our future?

A. Roy makes it sound as if we can solve truly global problems like climate change by looking for solutions in the lifestyles of indigenous societies. I think she is wrong.

I would like to get some comments from the forum members. Is there something wrong in the way I am interpreting A. Roy’s article?
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#2
There have been other advocates for greater inclusion of indigenous peoples in the democratic process and the economy, from diverse positions on the political spectrum, whose narratives don't lapse into romantic primitivism like Ms. Roy's. Cases in point are Prof. Kancha Ilaiah's efforts towards greater recognition of indigenous inventions and Prof. Anil Gupta's efforts towards empowering grassroots inventors by providing them access to markets and collaboration. Neither of these approaches is per se incompatible with a free-enterprise society and neither of these professors are avowed anarchists or 'anarcho-syndicalists' or 'anarcho-primitivists'.

As for responses to the threats our species faces from climate change, the single-most important success-story in an otherwise deflating and resigned narrative is the detection and recovery of the ozone hole. The importance of federally funded research and international treaties that made the ozone hole recovery possible, is not something one can casually dismiss in a romantic plea for adopting the lifestyle of the noble savage to save the planet. Another species-wide issue which brings into sharp relief the differences between the camps favoring romantic primitivism and enabling technology, is the food crisis and the debates surrounding organic farming and vertical farming.
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