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.