‘A universe we choose’ – Part 3 June 21, 2007Posted by Andreas in History, Politics, rant, Society, South Africa.
‘A universe we choose’ – The Fight against Corporate Globalisation: A South African perspective (Part 3)
by Sam Wilson and Andreas Späth
The female face of global resistance
(I guess this was going to be a sidebar to the main story, but here it is anyway, for completeness sake) .
The daughter of a Syrian Christian mother, a divorcee who managed a tea plantation (much like the character of Ammu in Roy’s Booker prize winning novel, The God of Small Things), 43-year-old Arundhati Roy did not attend school until she was 10, being schooled instead by her mother.
After boarding at a school in Southern India, and training at Dehli’s School of Planning and Architecture, Roy supported herself as an aerobics instructor before becoming one of the world’s most celebrated novelists. She has since used her public profile to voice many of the tenets of the global resistance movement, and her political journalism is every bit as lyrical and hard-hitting as her much fêted prose.
By characterizing corporate globalisation as no more than the new face of imperialism, Roy exhorts us to follow our hearts and relearn the art of civil disobedience.
In her own words? ‘We can hone our memory, we can learn from our history. We can continue to build public opinion until it becomes a deafening roar…. In other words, we can come up with a million ways of becoming a collective pain in the ass.’
Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist and author of the international bestseller No Logo, described as ‘ a movement handbook’ by the New York Times. She comes from strong activist stock, her mother Bonnie Klein is a leading Canadian feminist while her grandfather, an American Marxist, was a Disney animator fired and blacklisted for organizing the company’s first strike. Her parents moved to Canada in protest over the Vietnam War.
Where Roy enchants with her prose, Klein follows in the more traditional journalistic steps of feminists such as Susan Faludi, gathering and presenting the facts which then speak for themselves. She sees herself as ‘an activist journalist’, rather than an activist as she ‘hates crowds – I know, great irony’ and is ‘physically incapable of chanting’.
From exposés of sweatshop workers in the Philippines who have to urinate into plastic bags under their desks, as they are not allowed to leave their Gap/ Liz Claiborne sewing long enough to go to the toilet, to detailing the nefarious corporate strategies of companies like Wal-Mart and Starbucks, Klein has, nevertheless, given the global resistance movement a lot to chant about.
For nearly a decade, Klein has been traveling through Asia, Latin America and Europe, tracking the rise of anticorporate activism.
‘When people say the movement lacks vision, what they are really saying is that it is a completely new kind of movement – just as the Internet is a completely new kind of medium… the movement should be in no hurry to define itself,’ says Klein. ‘Before they sign on to anyone’s 10-point plan, they deserve the chance to see if, out of the movement’s chaotic, decentralized, multi-headed webs, something new, something entirely its own, can emerge.’