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Politics by Other Means


Politics by Other Means

Arundhati Roy

Although I do not believe that awards are a measure of the work we do, I would like to add the National Award for the Best Screenplay that I won in 1989 to the growing pile of returned awards. Also, I want to make it clear that I am not returning this award because I am “shocked” by what is being called the “growing intolerance” being fostered by the present government.


This woman has long deserved a Nobel Prize. For literature, preferably. For her past works of excellent fiction, and yes, for her (hopefully) temporary renunciation of fiction to devote herself to unflinchingly open-eyed essays on the horrors of our current world, on the lies of the politicians of India and the West, and on the hypocrisies of our intellectual classes, literary and otherwise, who self-servingly pursue their vain careerist goals while pretending to care about our beautiful, agonizing world. She is a rare gem.


Essential Arundhati Roy:
(for Clovis, this text was extracted from Roy's speech at the opening Plenary of the World Social Forum in Mumbai on January 16, 2004)

Do Turkeys Enjoy Thanksgiving?
"Unlike in the old days the New Imperialist doesn't need to trudge around the tropics risking malaria or diahorrea or early death. New Imperialism can be conducted on e-mail. The vulgar, hands-on racism of Old Imperialism is outdated. The cornerstone of New Imperialism is New Racism.
The tradition of 'turkey pardoning' in the U.S. is a wonderful allegory for New Racism. Every year since 1947, the National Turkey Federation presents the U.S. President with a turkey for Thanksgiving. Every year, in a show of ceremonial magnanimity, the President spares that particular bird (and eats another one).
After receiving the presidential pardon, the Chosen One is sent to Frying Pan Park in Virginia to live out its natural life. The rest of the 50 million turkeys raised for Thanksgiving are slaughtered and eaten on Thanksgiving Day. ConAgra Foods, the company that has won the Presidential Turkey contract, says it trains the
lucky birds to be sociable, to interact with dignitaries, school children and the press. (Soon they'll even speak English!)
That's how New Racism in the corporate era works. A few carefully bred turkeys — the local elites of various countries, a community of wealthy immigrants, investment bankers, the occasional Colin Powell, or Condoleezza Rice, some singers, some writers (like myself) — are given absolution and a pass to Frying Pan Park. The remaining millions lose their jobs, are evicted from their homes, have their water and electricity
connections cut, and die of AIDS. Basically they're for the pot. But the Fortunate Fowls in Frying Pan Park are doing fine. Some of them even work for the IMF and the WTO — so who can accuse those organisations of being anti-turkey?
Some serve as board members on the Turkey Choosing Committee — so who can say that turkeys are against Thanksgiving? They participate in it! Who can say the poor are anti-corporate globalisation? There's a stampede to get into Frying Pan Park. So what if most perish on the way?
Part of the project of New Racism is New Genocide. In this new era of economic interdependence, New Genocide can be facilitated by economic sanctions. It means creating conditions that lead to mass death without actually going out and killing people. Dennis Halliday, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator in Iraq between '97 and '98 (after which he resigned in disgust), used the term genocide to describe the sanctions in
Iraq. In Iraq the sanctions outdid Saddam Hussein's best efforts by claiming more than half a million children's lives."


Does that include the freedom to be politically incorrect? Or do we have to curtail our freedom of speech in that area? EG: http://www.commondreams.org/news/2015/11/07/racism-isnt-funny-trumps-snl-gig-draws-outrage-calls-disrupt-show


Thanks for that. That'll stick with me for a long time. Short and sweet, and accurate on every point.


Strange you mention Jewish shops when it's the Israeli Jews who are killing Palestinians by the hundreds.


Has anyone been following what Roy has been saying about Gandhi? Now is that freedom of speech or freedom to speak of discrimination? There is something missing when people write about "freedom" and that is the political correctness rampant in our supposedly reason based culture and the projective psychology underlying it. So are Roy's comments common sense or projection? Is common sense a tyranny of the majority or a tyranny of what the social group determines is acceptable? Did Roy's speech about Gandhi hurt the feelings of some people who love his legacy, his path? Does that make it discrimination? I think the key here is beyond common sense and has to do with each individual and their own awareness of their own potential to project what is unconscious in themselves on an Other. Now what about someone who simply doesn't want to be conscious of their own projective capacity what does a society do in that instance? What about a societies ability to project on an Other like with Nazis? How about the crucial awareness of projection in a society as a whole along with individuals. To me that is the first step.


A great quote-thank you. I have read much of Arundhati's work, including the latest books "Walking with the Comrades", and "Capitalism- a Ghost Story". They are full of delightful nuggets of wisdom, despite their concentration on such injustice and sadness. Online videos show her personality as well as her ideas and suggestions.


No, it's not simple at all. In fact it's actually philosophically impossible to resolve, short of allowing that 'anything goes.' Anything else is endlessly debatable and the result is we will not have freedom of speech by somebody somewhere's definition.


My point is simply that it's interesting to observe the fluctuations of values on the CD boards when it comes to the matter of free speech. Outraged at non-PC views, such as those of Trump, yet equally outraged when it comes to censorship of people's right to attack something they disagree with. Basically, it often boils down to this, you have freedom of speech as long as your view of the world is the same as mine.


Excellent quote, poet. Thank you.


Could you provide a link as to what Roy recently said about Gandhi?


Look for "Debunking the Gandhi Myth: Arundhati Roy- You Tube" October 21, 2014