Nobody in the world expresses rage at injustice better than Arundhati Roy, complete with all the data and bitter irony that clinches the case. Her recent book, Walking With the Comrades, is enough to boil your blood. Genocide comes to central India, compliments of corrupt government and Big Business, which are more or less identical.
It should make your blood boil, because the terrible atrocities being inflicted on these tribal peoples go back generations, and they are nothing more than the worst of the US writ big.
Arundhati Roy on genocide in central India
The trouble with corporate power is that it is incapable of understanding that there are things far more important than their personal profit, and the more concentrated this power, the more wealth at stake, the more tone deaf the capitalists are. In central India the corporatists see trillion-dollar mountains of bauxite, from which aluminum is made, and other resources that lie there, unused, profit going to waste, profit they should have.
The only trouble is, millions of tribal people live in that “empty territory”, and have lived there for many centuries. No matter, the benefits of a huge industrial investment such as a giant dam are so great that it would be worth it to move over 100 villages and give each family a new home and their share of the generated electricity, they claim. But of course, Arundhati Roy and many others knew that Sardar Sarovar Dam in Gujarat would do nothing of the sort. The recipients of all that benevolence are now homeless with no way to make a living, and the dam is an economic bust besides. In fact, a recent study of all large dams showed that they’re all a bad investment, in every part of the world, including the US.
Sanctioned violence in India and America
Now Indian state violence has moved to Dandakaranya, an interior forest of nearly 36,000 square miles, where the corrupt government has long tormented native peoples. This is called Operation Green Hunt, and it’s supposed to bring Modern India to tribal lands. They accomplish this with brutal attacks that usually consist of dawn raids by 500 to 1,000 armed police. These “liberators” swarm over a village like locusts, stealing literally everything of value, including chickens, cookware, and clothing, killing a few or many people who are either targeted or try to escape, and setting fire to everything on their way out, after which the land is given to corporations.
Is it any wonder that, when their leaders and their relatives were killed, and their homes and livelihood destroyed, 90,000 tribal people joined various communist resistance forces?
In India, 100 people own the country of 1.247 billion people. Hundreds of millions live in extreme poverty and misery. The corporate crime of Green Hunt has not only brought all those new members of Modern India gross poverty, it has bestowed horrific ill health on the Maoists who fled to the forest when nothing was left after government atrocities. Rampant malnutrition including Kwashiorkor in children, malaria, osteoporosis, tapeworm, severe infections… Modern India?
Green Hunt is systematized oppression. Everything is designed to make the capitalists richer, as usual, and this is always done at the expense of the poor, as usual. Does that sound familiar yet? The difference between these Indian efforts and our own may lie solely in our longer time scale and less blatant oppression. The end goal seems the same.
Corporations do not have
because only people are people.
Well, you say, at least we haven’t sunk to having armies of military police make indiscriminate raids, steal stuff, and kill people. No, not unless you happen to be black, in which case you can expect to be harassed by the police, maybe beat up and arrested, or are the one fated to be murdered today. You are assumed to be criminal even if you are a competent employed professional and have never, ever run afoul of the law. If you live in the wrong neighborhood, your home may be raided with impunity by the police more than once, with a lot of damage and destruction you can’t afford to fix.
Where does all this come from, at base? It comes from the capitalist imperative, profit above all. Corporations do not have morals, or any other human characteristics, because in spite of the stupidest court ruling of all time, only people are people. Fortunately, many good corporate employees—actual people—are able to resist corporate bad behavior much of the time. But corporations themselves are devoid of human emotions, and it doesn’t take many bad corporations to destroy everything important, which is happening in central India and many other parts of the world, and actually, maybe the whole world.
Are we adopting the Indian way, or has India adopted ours?