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The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire by Arundhati Roy

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Dissident Heart

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The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire by Arundhati Roy

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The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire by Arundhati Roy Roy is the tenaciously brilliant writer and activist for global justice who continues her writerly assault upon the abusers and tyrants of the day with The Ordinary Person's Guide to Empire. She has written other books such as:The Checkbook and the Cruise MissileConversations with Arundhati RoyInterviews by David BarsamianForeword by Naomi KleinPower PoliticsWar TalkHere is her acceptance speech for having received the 2002 Prize for Cultural Freedom from the Lannan Foundation.Here is the write-up describing her recieving the Justice Studies Association Noam Chomsky Award for 2003.I think she is a wondreful writer able to capture the best of the human spirit while not flinching in the face of our worst abuses. She is a challenge to all who sit comfortably in the midst of a world immersed in catastrophe, and an encouragement to those who believe a better world is possible.Rest assured, she is an anarchist and architect, with a pen as sharp as steel, able to construct arguments with case studies from around the globe...each displaying the grotesque abuse of power and priviledge that makes Corporate Globalization so prominent and pervasive.You will not find an apolgist for Empire in these pages...no rationalizations for Imperial domination...no defender of the mighty arsenals that plague the planet- be they cruise missles, check books, large dams, or genetically modified agribusiness.Booktalk will be all the better for having tackled this text.Cheers! Edited by: Dissident Heart at: 8/5/04 12:49 pm
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Excerpts from Arundhati Roy's work

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From Arundhati Roy's Power PoliticsQuote:It's not war, it's not genocide, it's not ethnic cleansing, it's not a famine or an epidemic. On the face of it, it's just ordinary, day-to-day business. It lacks the drama, the large-format, epic magnificence of war or genocide or famine. It's dull in comparison. It makes bad TV. It has to do with boring things like jobs, money, water supply, electricity, irrigation. But it also has to do with a process of barbaric dispossession on a scale that has few parallels in history. You may have guessed by now that I'm talking about the modern version of globalization. What is globalization? Who is it for? What is it going to do to a country like India, in which social inequality has been institutionalized in the caste system for centuries? A country in which seven hundred million people live in rural areas. In which eighty percent of the landholdings are small farms. In which three hundred million people are illiterate.Is the corporatization and globalization of agriculture, water supply, electricity, and essential commodities going to pull India out of the stagnant morass of poverty, illiteracy, and religious bigotry? Is the dismantling and auctioning off of elaborate public sector infrastructure, developed with public money over the last fifty years, really the way forward? Is globalization going to close the gap between the privileged and the underprivileged, between the upper castes and the lower castes, between the educated and the illiterate? Or is it going to give those who already have a centuries-old head start a friendly helping hand? Is globalization about "eradication of world poverty," or is it a mutant variety of colonialism, remote controlled and digitally operated? These are huge, contentious questions. The answers vary depending on whether they come from the villages and fields of rural India, from the slums and shantytowns of urban India, from the livingrooms of the burgeoning middle class, or from the boardrooms of the big business houses.From Arundhati Roy's Come SeptemberQuote:Fortunately power has a shelf life. When the time comes, maybe this mighty empire will, like others before it, overreach itself and implode from within. It looks as though structural cracks have already appeared. As the War Against Terror casts its net wider and wider, America's corporate heart is hemorrhaging. For all the endless emptychatter about democracy, today the world is run by three of the most secretive institutions in the world: the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the World Trade Organization, all three of which, in turn, are dominated by the United States. Their decisions are made in secret. The people who head them are appointed behind closed doors. Nobody really knows anything about them, their politics, their beliefs, their intentions. Nobody elected them. Nobody said they could make decisions on our behalf. A world run by a handful of greedy bankers and CEOs who nobody elected can't possibly last.Soviet-style communism failed, not because it was intrinsically evil but because it was flawed. It allowed too few people to usurp too much power. Twenty-first century market-capitalism, American-style, will fail for the same reasons. Both are edifices constructed by human intelligence, undone by human nature.The time has come, the Walrus said. Perhaps things will get worse and then better. Perhaps there's a small god up in heaven readying herself for us. Another world is not only possible, she's on her way. Maybe many of us won't be here to greet her, but on a quiet day, if I listen very carefully, I can hear her breathing.
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Arundhati Roy: Audio Links

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This page features the latest audio, talks and interviews given by Arundhati Roy. It also contains an archive of more dated material and will be updated regularly.
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Arundhati Roy last night

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I was able to see Arundhati Roy speak last night at Seattle Town Hall in an interview/discussion format with long time independent media producer David Barsamian.The Hall was packed and overflowing with hundreds of people coming to hear Roy discuss everything from Fascism in India to Fear-mongering in the USA, to Big Dams in the Narmada Valley, to resistance fighters in Iraq, to RAWA women's movement in Afghanistan, to her frustration with Progressive Americans being co-opted into the Kerry camp, and her overall critique of the abuses of Nations and the temptations of Power.She was tiny in her chair, dressed in a beautiful maroon sari-blouse and a multi-colored scarf with flowered hair-pins...hardly the scene one would imagine for such an international and intellectual force for anarchism and justice.And, her words rolled like water...passionate, reasonable, committed, angry, cheerful, and doing her best to encourage an American crowd living in the belly of the beast.Well worth the effort.She will be interviewed this evening by Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman... I suspect it will be available on line there soon.
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Arundhati Roy on Democracy Now!

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Monday, August 23rd, 2004Public Power in the Age of Empire: Arundhati Roy on War, Resistance and the Presidency
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