Challenging consumer culture – the indigenous way
The riots that rocked England this summer continue to produce a bumper harvest of opinion.
In large part, this reveals more about the motivations of the opiners than those of the rioters.
There was one feature of the disturbances that all can agree on – they resulted in an orgy of looting.
Some commentators have pointed out that this might have something to do with the dominant mantra of our times – consume, consume, consume – which turns so easily into loot, loot, loot. (Ask expense-fiddling members of parliament or bribe-taking police how easy.)
Many of the rioters were poor. That cannot be said of the multinational corporations rampaging across the world, looting the natural resources of others – albeit at the invitation of colluding governments.
If that seems a bit extreme, I invite you to read the main Analysis section of this issue, Nature’s defenders. We go to Peru to tell the story of how indigenous people are taking a stand against the pillage of their lands. In doing so, they are opposing corporations that are making eye-watering profits by stimulating and stuffing the maw of global consumerism, while trashing local livelihoods and global ecosystems.
Also in this issue, we get a close-up view of Syria’s protest movements and where they might lead, thanks to undercover journalist Daniel Wiggins (not his real name). Our Argument is about whether or not there should be a maximum wage. On the Arts pages we review an innovative thriller that enables you to take part in unravelling the mystery online. And we ask Faithless guitarist David Randall what really fires him up.
Vanessa Baird for the New Internationalist co-operative.
Vanessa Baird discovers why the Asháninka people of the River Ene are taking a hard line against dam builders – and others.
Voracious, rapacious and, ultimately, outwitted. The gigantic human-eating eagle that gave its name to Pakitzapango could be a lesson to all who have designs on this part of the world.
For years, according to local myth, the bird terrorized the Asháninka inhabitants of the River Ene in the Peruvian Amazon.
Finally, the people created an ingenious bait – a life-sized human figure, made of clay – and sent it in a boat towards the eagle’s hideout. When the eagle sank its claws into the fig...