The Two Faces of Globalization

The goal of this paper is to emphasize the importance of the role of contemporary literature in understanding the neocolonialist and imperialist aspects of globalization by exploring the depiction of globalization in Arundhati Roy’s novel “The God of Small Things” and Steve Tesich’s play “On the Open Road. Although both of these works criticize corporate globalization as a profit-driven enterprise controlled by and catering to the interests of economic, political and intellectual elites, they also express hope in the possibility of a different kind of globalization, which would be based on a genuine struggle for equality and justice for everyone. Introduction: The Two Faces of GlobalizationIs globalization a process which enables greater freedoms in the movement of money, knowledge and people across state borders and is thus beneficial for people across the globe, or is it a process which enables Western powers to exploit other parts of the world in a relatively new way and is thus merely the latest stage of Western imperialism? This question lies at the core of the ongoing disputes between proponents and opponents of globalization. Proponents of globalization insist that the former is the case, while the opponents argue it is actually the latter.In the article titled “Globalization: Threat or Opportunity? ” published in 2000 by the International Monetary Fund staff, economic globalization is defined as “a historical process, the result of human innovation and technological progress. It refers to the increasing integration of economies around the world, particularly through trade and financial flows. ” The article further explains, “The term [globalization] sometimes also refers to the movement of people (labor) and knowledge (technology) across international borders.There are also broader cultural, political and environmental dimensions of globalization that are not covered here. ” (International Monetary Fund, 2000) For the sake of briefly defining those broader dimension as well, it is useful to borrow words from Manfred B. Steger’s “Globalization: A Very Short Introduction,” in which he defines cultural globalization as “the intensification and expansion of cultural flows across the globe,” (Steger, 2003 , pp. 69) political globalization as “the intensification and expansion of political interrelations across the globe,” (Steger, 2003, pp. 6) and, finally, environmental globalization as the aspect of globalization which deals with the issue of global environmental degradation through phenomena such as the loss of biodiversity, hazardous waste, industrial accidents, global warming and climate change. (Steger, 2003, pp. 87) On the other hand, Vandana Shiva’s definition of globalization can be read as a negation of the above-cited definitions. In her essay “Ecological Balance in an Era of Globalization,” Shiva states that “Globalization is not a natural, evolutionary, or inevitable phenomenon, as is often argued.Globalization is a political process that has been forced on the weak by the powerful. Globalization in not the cross-cultural interaction of diverse societies. It is the imposition of a particular culture on all others. Nor is globalization the search for ecological balance on a planetary scale. It is the predation of one class, one race, and often one gender of a single specie on all others. ‘Global’ in the dominant discourse is the political space in which the dominant local seeks control, freeing itself from local, regional, and global sources of accountability arising from the imperatives of ecological sustainability and social justice. Global’ in this sense does not represent the universal human interest; it represents a particular local and parochial interest and culture that has been globalized through its reach and control, irresponsibility, and lack of reciprocity. ” She further explains, “Globalization has come in three waves. The first wave was the colonization of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Australia by European powers over the course of 1, 500 years. The second wave was the imposition of the West’s idea of ‘development’ on non-Western cultures in the postcolonial era of the past five decades.The third wave of globalization was unleashed approximately five years ago as the era of ‘free trade,’ which for some commentators implies an end to history, but for us in the Third World is a repeat of history through recolonization. Each wave of globalization is cumulative in its impact, even while it creates discontinuity in the dominant metaphors and actors. Each wave of globalization has served Western interests, and each wave has created deeper colonization of other cultures and of the planet’s life. ” (Shiva, 2000 , pp. 22-423) Arundhati Roy’s novel “The God of Small Things” and Steve Tesich’s play “On the Open Road” show that the reality of globalization for people outside of the local and global economic, political and intellectual elites coincides with the view of globalization given by Shiva and not with the one given by the IMF. Roy’s and Tesich’s works also offer a vision of a different kind of globalization, which would not be based on corporate interests and profits, but on the universal human quest for love, equality and justice.Destruction of Local Economies, Corporate Takeover of People’s Land and Resources, Ecological Degradation and Limited Wars A good example of the impossibility of small local businesses to survive under the conditions imposed by big corporations with the help of local governments and organizations such as the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and World Trade Organization is shown in the demise of the factory owned by the Ipe family from “The God of Small Things. The factory was started by Mammachi, after she had been asked to make some banana jam and mango pickles for a local fair and her products turned out to be in high demand during the fair. Initially, her factory was a small, but successful enterprise. However, as soon as her son Chacko became involved in the running of the business, he tried to expand it and make it more competitive on the global market. Even though he managed to get loans from a bank to put his plans into action, his actions proved to be detrimental to the success of the factory, whose financial slide began almost immediately.In addition, the family had to mortgage the rice fields around their house in order to get the bank loans in the first place. Furthermore, under the new production laws, the factory was technically prohibited from producing its famous banana jam, merely because it did not fit into Food Products Organization’s arbitrary classification of products, as it did not resemble their definition of either jam or jelly enough. Nevertheless, the factory managed to continue producing it illegally, which speaks volumes about the inefficiency of the local government and the organizations in charge of globalization to enforce their own laws.Their inefficiency in law enforcement is even more evident in the area of labor wages, given we learn that the workers from the factory began receiving a wage bellow the legal minimum specified by the Trade Union as soon as the factory’s financial slide began, without anyone of the authorities bothering to do something about that. Or at least no one other than Comrade Pillai, a local politician who merely wanted to use the situation to advance his own political career, with little to no real concern for the protection of the rights of the workers.Roy’s novel also gives us an insight into how governments of developing countries take control over the local resources in order to use them primarily with the interests of global corporations in mind and not the interests of the local community. As a result, local resources are exhausted, people often displaced from their land in large numbers and traditional trades based on making use of local resources are no longer possible. The governments of developing countries also allow them to be turned into dumping grounds for the waste from developed countries.Now that he’d been re-Returned, Estha walked all over Ayemenem. Some days he walked along the banks of the river that smelled of shit and pesticides bought with World Bank loans. Most of the fish had died. The ones that survived suffered from fin-rot and had broken out in boils. (Roy, 1997, pp. 7) Years later, when Rahel returned to the river, it greeted her with a ghastly skull’s smile, with holes where teeth had been, and a limp hand raised from a hospital bed. Both things had happened. It had shrunk. And she had grown.Downriver, a saltwater barrage had been built, in exchange for votes from the influential paddy-farmer lobby. The barrage regulated the inflow of salt water from the backwaters that opened into the Arabian Sea. So now they had two harvests a year instead of one. More rice—for the price of a river. […] Once [the river] had had the power to evoke fear. To change lives. But now its teeth were drawn, its spirit spent. It was just a slow, sludging green ribbon lawn that ferried fetid garbage to the sea. Bright plastic bags blew across its viscous, weedy surface like subtropical flying-flowers.The stone steps that had once led bathers right down to the water, and Fisher People to the fish, were entirely exposed and led from nowhere to nowhere, like an absurd corbelled monument that commemorated nothing. Ferns pushed through the cracks. (Roy, 1997, pp. 59) Steve Tesich’s play “On the Open Road” offers an even more straightforwardly grim image of the effects of globalization on countries outside of the First World (or the so-called Free World, the name to which Tesich alludes in the play by calling the place to which the main two characters want to go the “Land of the Free”).Unlike in Roy’s novel, where wars occasionally appear in the background of main events, in Tesich’s play all events, save for the ones from the last scene, take place during a civil war. The temporal and geographical location of the play’s events is deliberately unspecified (we are told that the setting is “TIME: A time of Civil War [,] PLACE: A place of Civil War”) and the misfortunes of Tesich’s fictional country vaguely resemble the misfortunes of any war-inflicted country since the end of the Second World War, albeit in an allegorical sense.The fictional country from the play has a chance to successfully end the civil war for good and become “free” itself, but it must first kill its Jesus Christ, who appears as a character in the play and symbolically represents the undying faith in the possibility of a different kind of human society, a society based on love, equality and justice, all of which are values unwelcome in the Free World, where the only value that matters is the commercial one. The new government, which is a coalition “of all the former implacable foes,” (Tesich, 1992, pp. 6) entrusts the task of killing Jesus to Al and Angel, whom the government forces captured while they were trying to escape to the Land of the Free. If they kill Jesus for the government, they will be released and given exit visas to go to the Land of the Free. Al: Nervous? Angel: It’s nothing. Just nerves. Why does Jesus have to die? Al: You know why? So we can save our ass. Angel: I know that part. But why do they want him to die. Al: So they can get on with their reforms. They want to overhaul their whole system and he’s in the way.Angel: What system? Al: THE system. Life. Everything. They want to make moral integrity accessible to everybody. If you have a fixed standard it’s tough. But if you let the standards float, like currency, then everyone’s got a shot. Angel: It’ll be a lot more democratic that way, right? Al: Right. (Tesich, 1992, pp. 64-65) Divide and Rule and the Role of the Left One of the aspects for which “The God of Small Things” has been criticized is its portrayal of the Indian left. E. K.Nayanar, the late leader of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and three times Chief Minister of Kerala, accused Roy of taking an anti-communist stance in her novel and insinuated that it is thanks to such a stance that the novel became popular in the West. However, Roy’s novel more accurately reads as a thoughtful examination of various reasons why communism in Kerala and, by extension, India in general failed to resolve the society’s deep-seated caste issues, rather than an attack on communism per se.Roy’s criticism in the book is primarily aimed at people who embrace communist rhetoric for the sake of pursuing self-serving agendas, rather than out of any desire to truly reform the society. One such figure is the aforementioned Comrade Pillai, whose interest in the treatment of Ipe family’s factory workers primarily stems from his desire to advance his own political position. He tries to start a rebellion among the Ipe family’s factory workers, even though he is not only a personal friend with Chacko and the rest of the family, but also prints labels for their factory.Yet he sees nothing wrong with simultaneously working against them and for them, because both actions serve his personal interests. Earlier in the year, Comrade Pillai’s political ambitions had been given an unexpected boost. Two local Party members, Comrade J. Kattukaran and Comrade Guhan Menon had been expelled from the Party as suspected Naxalites. One of them—Comrade Guhan Menon—was tipped to be the Party’s candidate for the Kottayam by-elections to the Legislative Assembly due next March. His expulsion from the Parry created a vacuum that a number of hopefuls were jockeying to fill.Among them Comrade K. N. M. Pillai. Comrade Pillai had begun to watch the goings-on at Paradise Pickles with the keenness of a substitute at a soccer match. To bring in a new labor union, however small, in what he hoped would be his future constituency; would be an excellent beginning for a journey to the Legislative Assembly. […] Comrade K. N. M. Pillai never came out openly against Chacko. Whenever he referred to him in his speeches he was careful to strip him of any human attributes and present him as an abstract functionary in some larger scheme. A theoretical construct.A pawn in the monstrous bourgeois plot to subvert the revolution. He never referred to him by name, but always as “the Management” As though Chacko was many people. Apart from it being tactically the right thing to do, this disjunction between the man and his job helped Comrade Pillai to keep his conscience clear about his own private business dealings with Chacko. His contract for printing the Paradise Pickles labels gave him an income that he badly needed. He told himself that Chacko-the-client and Chacko-the-Management were two different people. Quite separate of course from Chacko-the-Comrade. Roy, 1997, pp. 57-58) Comrade Pillai’s opportunism and hypocrisy are even more transparent in his relationship with Velutha. Though Comrade Pillai includes “Caste is Class, comrades” (Roy, 1997, pp. 132) in his speeches, his efforts in helping the lowest castes are dubious at best. During one of his conversations with Chacko, he reveals that his own wife does not allow Paravans – one of the lowest castes, also referred to as “Untouchables,” which is a joint name for several lowest castes – into their house and that he has not managed to change her mind about that, though he has allegedly been trying.He adds that the same is true for the workers from Chacko’s factory, who continue to look down on Velutha because of his Paravan status, despite Comrade Pillai’s supposed attempts to make them overcome their prejudices. Furthermore, he advises Chacko to fire Velutha, so that his presence in the factory would not disturb other workers. When Velutha himself comes to Comrade Pillai to ask for help after the Ipe family learns about his affair with Ammu, Comrade Pillai turns him down, only to later use Velutha’s murder by the police for his own purposes.Namely, since it was well-known that Velutha was a communist, Comrade Pillai tells the workers that “the Management had implicated the Paravan in a false police case because he was an active member of the Communist Party. ” (Roy, 1997, pp. 141) This results in the workers laying siege of the factory and Comrade Pillai getting the publicity he wanted. Another character through whom Roy voices her criticism of certain abuses of communism is Chacko.A member of the middle class intelligentsia, he is “a self-proclaimed Marxist” (Roy, 1997, pp. 31) whose devotion to Marxism amounts to his diligent reading of Marxist theory (especially that written by the local Marxists), arguing with his father about Marxism and using Marxism as an excuse to approach female workers of his factory and make advances at them. In practice, his interests as the factory owner are directly opposed to the interests of his workers and his concern for them exists only on the level of words.The only time when he contemplates actually doing something for them, the thought crosses his mind primarily because he fears that unless he acts first, Comrade Pillai might steal his fame as a working class hero and savior. His hypocrisy is further highlighted by the fact he avoids delivering any unpleasant news to the workers himself, preferring to leave that to his mother, so that she is the only one who gets the reputation of a harsh boss, though the two of them make the decisions about factory management together.However, Roy paints a much more sympathetic picture of communism through Ammu and Velutha. While Ammu does not identify as a communist, she understands and sympathizes with the struggles of the factory workers more than either Comrade Pillai or Chacko. It is she who points out Chacko’s hypocrisy and abuse of power to him by telling him that what he does is merely “a case of a spoiled princeling playing Comrade. Comrade! An Oxford avatar of the old zamindar entality—a landlord forcing his attentions on women who depended on him for their livelihood. ” (Roy, 1997, pp. 31) Moreover, along with her two children, she is the only character in the novel who treats members of the lower castes as her equals and not inferiors. In fact, she first becomes romantically interested in Velutha when she senses that the two of them might share a profound anger about the unjust, hierarchically-ordered world they live in. Suddenly Ammu hoped that it had been him that Rahel saw in the march.She hoped it had been him that had raised his flag and knotted arm in anger. She hoped that under his careful cloak of cheerfulness he housed a living, breathing anger against the smug, ordered world that she so raged against. (Roy, 1997, pp. 84) As for Velutha himself, he is arguably the most sympathetic character in the novel. Though hard-working and highly competent, he is paid less than other workers for his work in the factory because he is a Paravan.Moreover, the prevalent attitude in his community is that, due to the fact he is a Paravan, he deserves neither the job nor the training he previously received in order to be able to develop his talents. Even his own father, who has entirely internalized the values of the caste society, thinks Velutha should be grateful for what Mammachi has done for him, though in fact Mammachi’s alleged generosity towards him is entirely self-serving, given Velutha does an extraordinary amount of work both in the factory and the Ipe family house without being paid properly for his services.Moreover, though Mammachi is not overtly rude to Velutha before she learns about his relationship with Ammu, she still treats him as an inferior. Roy also uses Velutha’s character to criticize the treatment of the Naxalites, the most militant fraction of the communist party in India, whom Velutha eventually joins. The Naxalites are dismissed even by other communists for their ties with Maoism and feared by the entire community for their alleged use of excessive violence.Yet from Roy’s description of Velutha’s position and the position of other Untouchables, we understand that the violence the Naxalites use is primarily their defense from the violence against them that is legalized within the caste system. Not only are they condemned to poverty and hard labor for minimum wage, they are also subjected to brutal beatings, rapes and murders by the authorities for even the smallest violations of the discriminatory laws against them. Non-violent resistance is simply not an option for them under such conditions.In addition to criticizing some fractions of the Indian left for their inefficiency in putting an end to the caste system and in protecting those most endangered by it, Roy uses the example of disagreements between the Indian and Chinese communists and the fracturing of the original Communist Party of India into the Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to illustrate the dangerous tendency of the radical left to divide itself and thus make it easier for capitalism and imperialism to triumph over it. The God of Small Things” also draws attention to how inner divisions and conflicts within and among the countries of the developing world generally make them more susceptible to the influence of Western neocolonialism and imperialism, which encourages these divisions and conflicts for its own purposes, occasionally creating limited wars. Though “The God of Small Things” focuses primarily on the divisions and conflicts within the Indian society, it also informs us of the wars that broke out between India and its neighbors.The perniciousness of inner divisions of a society and the way local political elites and Western imperialism benefit from them is one of the themes Tesich’s “On the Open Road” deals with as well. In Al’s and Angel’s country there are so many opposing parties using the civil war as an opportunity to come into power that the majority of people have lost track of how many of them there are and what the differences between them are, given that they, unlike the politicians, have to worry about their bare life.Al: Whose side are you on? Angel: You mean the Civil War? Al: What else is there? Angel: I’ve lost track of sides. Al: Let us say you ran into Christian Democrats or Social Democrats, or Corporate Christians or the Blues or the Reds or the Whites or some splinter group of any of the above? Which of them would you be most likely to join? Angel: If the King of Hell had a fraction, I’d sign up if he’d set me free. (Tesich, 1992, pp. 9) Like Roy, Tesich here criticizes the behavior of the political and intellectual elites.That the political parties who are fighting for power are hypocritical and opportunistic is evident enough even from their names (for example, “Corporate Christians”) and becomes even more transparent when they eventually end up forming a coalition government, despite their allegedly irreconcilable ideological differences. As for the intellectual elite, Al’s character serves as critical comment on their compliance with oppressive systems. Unlike Roy’s Chacko, the self-proclaimed Marxist, Al is a skeptical intellectual whose intellect is completely divorced from empathy and who has rejected the values of love, equality and justice.Thus instead of encouraging people to fight for them, he tries to teach them that they are false and unreachable. Commodification of Art, Culture and Education A great example of how the alleged “intensification and expansion of cultural flows across the globe,” (Steger, 2003, pp. 69) in practice often consists of the expansion of Western (primarily American) pop culture and consumerist culture across the globe can be seen in Roy’s portrayal of the Ipe family household after the introduction of satellite television into their lives.Television quickly makes Baby Kochamma abandon her previous interests and passions, such as her ornamental garden, and spend a large portion of her days eating snacks in front of the TV and ordering various products advertized in the TV commercials in the company of her servant Kochu Maria. Though at first sight the image of them watching television together might seem to be indicative of television having helped them to overcome class barriers and become closer, this is not really the case.This “television-enforced democracy” (Roy, 1997, pp. 42) actually only further alienates them from each other and their local community and distracts them from their own lives and problems. Furthermore, there is also something unsettling about the very nature of the content offered by television. While in theory television could serve as a great means for bringing information and education to a large number of people, in reality news programs, political shows and even educational programs often serve to spread deologically-motivated misinformation, while trivial, superficial programs, such as soap operas and reality shows, are pushed to the foreground at the expense of any more substantial programs that might exist. In addition, the increased exposure of people to images of graphic, real-life violence via TV seems to desensitize them moreso than make them aware of how horrible the atrocities taking place around them are. Baby Kochamma had installed a dish antenna on the roof of the Ayemenem house.She presided over the world in her drawing room on satellite TV. The impossible excitement that this engendered in Baby Kochamma wasn’t hard to understand. It wasn’t something that happened gradually. It happened overnight. Blondes, wars, famines, football, sex, music, coups d’etat—they all arrived on the same train. They unpacked together. They stayed at the same hotel. And in Ayemenem, where once the loudest sound had been a musical bus horn, now whole wars, famines, picturesque massacres and Bill Clinton could be summoned up like servants.And so, while her ornamental garden wilted and died, Baby Kochamma followed American NBA league games, one-day cricket and all the Grand Slam tennis tournaments, On weekdays she watched The Bold and the Beautiful and Santa Barbara, where brittle blondes with lipstick and hairstyles rigid with spray seduced androids and defended their sexual empires. Baby Kochamma loved their shiny clothes and the smart, bitchy repartee. During the day, disconnected snatches of it came back to her and made her chuckle (Roy, 1997, pp. 14)As for local cultures, in Roy’s novel we see how they are reduced to mere commodities to be sold on the market in a way that deprives them of their substance. Under the conditions imposed by globalization traditional stories and dances, for instance, are often deliberately decontextualized and deprived of any meaning. In “The God of Small Things” this can be seen on the example of the kathakali being performed for rich, foreign tourists in an altered, mutilated form that is appealing enough to people whose attention span is short and interest in the local culture nothing but superficial.In the novel, performers themselves are described as deeply uncomfortable with taking part in such trivialization and commodification of stories to which they deeply relate. To the Kathakali Man these stories are his children and his childhood. He has grown up within them. They are the house he was raised in, the meadows he played in. They are his windows and his way of seeing. So when he tells a story, he handles it as he would a child, of his own. […] He tells stories of the gods, but his yarn is spun from the ungodly, human heart. The Kathakali Man is the most beautiful of men. Because his body is his soul. His only instrument.From the age of three it has been planed and polished, pared down, harnessed wholly to the task of storytelling. He has magic in him, this man within the painted mask and swirling skins. But these days he has become unviable. Unfeasible. Condemned goods. His children deride him. They long to be everything that he is not. He has watched them grow up to become clerks and bus conductors. Class IV nongazetted officers. With unions of their own. […] In despair, he turns to tourism. He enters the market. He hawks the only thing he owns. The stories that his body can tell. He becomes a Regional Flavor. (Roy, 1997, pp. 109-110)Furthermore, images invoking some aspects of the traditional culture are even arbitrarily put on the advertisements for locally-produced goods to give them a “Regional Flavor,” even if there is no logical connection whatsoever between the product itself and the image on its advertisement. For example, an image of a kathakali dancer is on the advertisements painted on the Ipe family’s car, though their factory produces food and therefore has nothing to do with kathakali. “The God of Small Things” also draws attention to the phenomenon of imperialism and corporate capitalism trying to commodify even most explicit forms of resistance to them.The Hotel People liked to tell their guests that the oldest of the wooden houses, with its airtight, paneled storeroom which could hold enough rice to feed an army for a year, had been the ancestral home of Comrade E. M. S. Namboodiripad, “Kerala’s Mao Tsetung,” they explained to the uninitiated. The furniture and knickknacks that came with the house were on display. A reed umbrella, a wicker couch. A wooden dowry box. They were labeled with edifying placards that said Traditional Kerala Umbrella and Traditional Bridal Dowry –box.So there it was then, History and Literature enlisted by commerce. Kurtz and Karl Marx joining palms to greet rich guests as they stepped off the boat. Comrade Namboodiripad’s house functioned as the hotel’s dining room, where semi-suntanned tourists in bathing suits sipped tender coconut water (served in the shell), and old Communists, who now worked as fawning bearers in colorful ethnic clothes, stooped slightly behind their trays of drinks. (Roy, 1997, pp. 60) These paragraphs were specifically criticized by the aforementioned E. K.Nayanar, who interpreted Roy’s modification of historical facts for the sake of making her point about communism as ideology being commercialized as another proof of her book being an attack on communism. However, bearing in mind we live in the age in which Che Guevara’s image, for instance, has become habitually used for selling merchandise and, furthermore, in which “theory is taught so as to make the student believe that he or she can become a Marxist, a feminist, an Afrocentrist, or a deconstructionist with about the same effort and commitment required in choosing items from a menu” (Said, 1993, pp. 21), Roy’s warning about the abuses of revolutionary leaders and theories does not seem either malicious or misguided. In Tesich’s “On the Open Road” we also see how art, culture and education have been reduced to products to be sold on the market. Al and Angel spend the entire first act collecting artifacts from bombed-out museums and houses of the rich, so that they could trade them for the entrance into the Land of the Free. Moreover, Al is trying to educate Angle about art and culture, because “they don’t let refugees into the Land of the Free by the metric ton anymore.You have to be culturally qualified to get in. ” (Tesich, 1992, pp. 19) The developed world is interested in helping the people from the developing world only if they can somehow profit from it themselves. The primary purpose of education in the age of globalization is the advancement of one’s personal socioeconomic position. Furthermore, a detached and desensitized approach to art is completely normalized and is the one that is most demanded on the market.Even though Angel informs us that one of the incidents which marked the beginning of the civil war in his and Al’s country occurred in a museum when the poor museum visitors became infuriated with seeing the rich museum visitors moved by the suffering depicted on paintings, although they were completely oblivious to the suffering in real life, it is precisely that kind of a detached approach to art that Al is trying to teach Angel because he knows that this kind of approach to art is valued in the Land of the Free.Conclusion: Art as a Form of Resistance and Creative Maladjustment Though both “The God of Small Things” and “On the Open Road” draw attention to the increased trivialization and commodification of art in the time of globalization, neither work suggests that these practices are entirely successful at stripping art of its revolutionary potential. In Roy’s novel we see how, for example, listening to her favorite songs on the radio has an empowering effect on Ammu.In those moments, she casts away the socially-imposed roles and behaviors and enters a state in which she can explore what her authentic desires might be more freely. Music even helps her finally decide to seek out Velutha on the night of Sophie Mol’s arrival. Even if the songs she listens to are mere trivial pop songs, her ability to invest them with her own meanings; to construct relatable meanings for herself while listening to them gives them new depths. In Tesich’s play, Jesus’s music completely commands Angel’s attention and prevents him from killing Jesus.Though Angel has previously been taught by Al to value art in a detached manner, devoid of ethics and empathy that can be translated into the real world, Jesus’s music makes him reject those teachings. As for Al, while he does not completely renounce his beliefs in the scene where he hears Jesus play, seeds for that to happen in the final scene of the play are planted by Jesus’s song, which is evident from the fact that Al, like Angel, finds himself incapable of killing Jesus.In other words, not only does Jesus as a “true Artist” (Tesich, 1992, pp 71) never give up the integrity of his vision of a world based on love, equality and justice, his vision eventually restores Angel’s and Al’s belief that such a world is worth fighting for. Furthermore, both “The God of Small Things” and “On the Road” also reaffirm the belief that art can still help people see the reality hidden behind the lies that oppressive systems produce in order to rotect themselves in that they are both great examples of how an artist can help shed a different light on globalization from the one typically given by the International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization and governments and intellectuals who support them by giving us an insight into how life under globalization looks like for those who are not members of the local and global economic, political and intellectual elites that profit from globalization. Or, as Arundhati Roy put it herself:What is happening to the world lies, at the moment, just outside the realm of common human understanding. It is the writers, the poets, the artists, the singers, the filmmakers who can make the connections, who can find ways of bringing it into the realm of common understanding. Who can translate cash-flow charts and scintillating boardroom speeches into real stories about real people with real lives. Stories about what it’s like to lose your home, your land, your job, your dignity, your past, and your future to an invisible force. To someone or something you can’t see.You can’t hate. You can’t even imagine. It’s a new space that’s been offered to us today. A new kind of challenge. It offers opportunities for a new kind of art. An art which can make the impalpable palpable, the intangible tangible, the invisible visible and the inevitable evitable. An art which can draw out the incorporeal adversary and make it real. Bring it to book. (Roy, 2002) Finally, though the fates of both Roy’s and Tesich’s protagonists are tragic, their refusal to accept the sacrifice of love and solidarity with fellow human beings as necessary and inevitable is hopeful.The idea that adjusting oneself to injustice and double standards is inevitable, since the unjust, hierarchically-ordered world presumably has no alternative, lies at the core of every oppressive system. Ammu’s, Velutha’s, Al’s and Angel’s stories remind us that a world based on love, equality and justice is a possible alternative and that “creative maladjustment,” to borrow words from Marin Luther King, can be a means of fighting for it. In the real world, “creative maladjustment” appears in the form of various opposition movements to corporate globalization.Their continuous growing in strength and number offers hope that it is not too late to take globalization from the hands of the elites and change its course from a profit-oriented enterprise to a genuine pursuit of equality and justice for everyone. Literature * International Monetary Fund. “Globalization: Threats or Opportunity,” (April 2000), http://www. imf. org/external/np/exr/ib/2000/041200to. htm (13th May 2013). * “Kathakali,” http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Kathakali (28th May 2013). * King, Martin Luther. The speech at Western Michigan University on December 18th, 1963. ttp://thepossibilitypractice. com/martin-luther-king-jr-on-creative-maladjustment/ (2nd June 2013). * Marcuse, Herbert. “Art and Revolution. ” In Literature, Culture, Identity: Introducing XX Century Literary Theory, by Lena Petrovic, 203-217. Nis: Prosveta, 2004. * “Narmada Bachao Andolan,” http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Narmada_Bachao_Andolan (26th May 2013). * “Nayanar pours scorn on God of Small Things,” http://www. rediff. com/news/nov/03booker. htm (26th May 2013). * Nkrumah, Kwame. “Introduction. ” In Neo-Colonialism, The Last Stage of Imperialism. London: Thomas Nelson & Sons, Ltd. 1965. Published in the USA by International Publishers Co. , Inc. , 1966 * Roy, Arundhati. The God of Small Things. New York: Harper, 1997. * Roy, Arundhati. “Maoist Attacks are a Counter Violence of Resistance against the State,” (April 2010), https://revolutionaryfrontlines. wordpress. com/2013/05/29/maoist-attacks-are-a-counter-violence-of-resistance-against-the-state-arundhati-roy/ (28th May 2013). * Roy, Arundhati. “On a Divided Left – we are running out of time,” http://acynicmeetshope. tumblr. com/post/42843776291/arundhati-roy-on-a-divided-left-we-are-running (28th May 2013). Roy, Arundhati. “Shall We Leave It to the Experts? ” Online Issue of The Nation, (February 2002), http://www. ratical. org/co-globalize/AR021802. pdf (24th May 2013). * “Sadar Sarovar Project,” http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Arundhati_Roy#Sardar_Sarovar_Project (26th May 2013). * Said, Edward. “Freedom from Domination in the Future; Challenging Orthodoxy and Authority. ” In Culture and Imperialism, 303-326. Originally published in New York: Knopf, 1993. First vintage books edition published in New York: A Division of Random House, Inc. , 1994. * Shiva, Vandana. Ecological Balance in an Era of Globalization,” (2000), http://www. old. li. suu. edu/library/circulation/Gurung/soc4500sgEcoBalanceInEraSp12. pdf (13th May 2013). * Steger, Manfred B. Globalization: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003. * Tesich, Steve. On the Open Road. New York: Applause Theatre Book Publishers, 1992. * Yale Global Online. “Strength in Numbers for Globalization’s Critics,” (May 2007), http://yaleglobal. yale. edu/content/strength-numbers-globalizations-critics (18th May 2013). ——————————————– [ 1 ].When we talk about opponents of globalization, it is important to stress that they are by no means a homogenous group of people who share common principles. As Yale Global Online explains, one useful way to indicate the ideological differences between various groups with anti-globalization stances is to use the classification given by the German political scientist Claus Leggewie, who has divided opponents of globalization into the following five groups: leftists and radical leftists, the academic left, reformers from the business world, critics with a religious base and right-winged opponents.When I refer to opponents or critics of globalization in this paper, I will primarily be referring to the first two groups (i. e. leftists and radical leftists, and the academic left) and the perspectives from which they criticize globalization. [ 2 ]. This is not to say that Steger endorses globalization in the same way the IMF does. His views on globalization are actually closer to Shiva’s and in “Globalization: A Very Short Introduction” the above-cited definitions are merely the starting points for his discussion of globalization.Throughout the book he presents and analyses various arguments of proponents and opponents of globalization, finally reaching the conclusion that a different kind of globalization is needed, a globalization in which “social processes must challenge the current oppressive structure of global apartheid that divides the world into a privileged North and a disadvantaged South. ” (Steger, 2003, pp. 135) [ 3 ]. The first part of the title of this paper is a quote of Arundhati Roy, from her essay “Shall We Leave It to the Experts? [ 4 ]. The character’s real name is Shoshamma Ipe, but she is mostly referred to as Mammachi throughout the book, because she’s the grandmother of the two main characters and Mammachi means “grandmother. ” [ 5 ]. Ironically enough, despite his self-proclaimed devotion to communism, evident even from the fact his name is never mentioned in the novel without the word “Comrade” in front of it. But Comrade Pillai’s opportunistic abuse of communist rhetoric will be discussed in more detail in the next section of the paper. [ 6 ].An example of Arundhati Roy’s opposition to this practice in the real world can be found in her activism against the Narmada dam project, for which she warned that would leave half a million of people displaced, without even bringing the promised provision of drinking water, power generation and other benefits. She also donated her Booker prize money as well as royalties from her books on the project to the Narmada Bachao Andolan, a movement consisting of tribal people, farmers, environmentalists and human rights activists, which was formed to fight against the project.For her activism against the dam, she eventually even got a contempt notice issued against her by the Indian Supreme Court and was fined and sentenced to a “symbolic” punishment of one day’s imprisonment. [ 7 ]. Which of course also has significance beyond the merely material domain, since the traditional ways of life are forcibly changed due to this. It is not the change of tradition in itself that is the problem, as much as the fact that it is imposed from the outside. It is the Western powers that dictate the change for their own purposes. [ 8 ].As Vandana Shiva points out, the practice of shifting polluting industries to the Third World is sometimes even openly advocated by World Bank’s officials, while the exporting of waste from the First World (especially from the USA) is often done despite the laws explicitly passed to prevent it. (Shiva, 2000, pp. 425-426) [ 9 ]. And, as Kwame Nkrumah noted back during the Civil War, most wars that have taken place since WW2 served the purpose of the world’s leading powers defending their geopolitical interests, without entering a direct conflict with each other and thus risking another worldwide conflict.He called these wars “limited wars. ” (Nkrumah, 1965) [ 10 ]. The way Comrade Pillai talks is the source of much of the humor in the novel. He is a man of grandiose, but empty political rhetoric so much that he is almost incapable of speaking without sounding as though he was making a speech addressed to millions of people. [ 11 ]. They are called “Untouchables” because, as the novel explains, “[t]hey were not allowed to touch anything that Touchables touched. In the same paragraph, we are also given a description of how they were treated by the rest of the society, “Mammachi told Estha and Rahel that she could remember a time, in her girlhood, when Paravans were expected to crawl backwards with a broom, sweeping away their footprints so that Brahmins or Syrian Christians would not defile themselves by accidentally stepping into a Paravan’s footprint. In Mammachi’s time, Paravans, like other Untouchables, were not allowed to walk on public roads, not allowed to cover their upper bodies, not allowed to carry umbrellas.They had to put their hands over their mouths when they spoke, to divert their polluted breath away from those whom they addressed. ” (Roy, 1997, pp. 35) [ 12 ]. How paternalistic and utterly unserious Chacko’s interest in the workers is is evident from the following lines: “That night, on his narrow hotel bed, he thought sleepily about pre-empting Comrade Pillai by organizing his workers into a sort of private labor union. He would hold elections for them. Make them vote. They could take turns at being elected representatives.He smiled at the idea of holding round-table negotiations with Comrade Sumathi, or, better still, Comrade Lucykutty; who had much the nicer hair. ” (Roy, 1997, pp. 58-59) [ 13 ]. As is evident from this quote, she also understands gender oppression very well. She mostly understands it from her own experience, rather than from learning about feminist theory in college. In fact, she, unlike Chacko, did not even get a chance to go to college to learn because of her gender. Yet throughout the novel she often eloquently voices her criticism of the patriarchal norms of her society. 14 ]. Roy has also frequently spoken out against the mistreatment of the Naxalites and the insistence on the non-violent resistance at all costs. In a 2010 interview she said: “[…] non-violence, and particularly, Gandhian non-violence in some ways needs an audience. It’s a theatre that needs an audience. But inside the forests there is no audience. When a thousand police come and surround the forest village in the middle of the night, what are they to do? How are the hungry to go on a hunger strike?How are the people with no money to boycott taxes or foreign goods or do consumer boycotts? ” This interview of hers seems very relevant again, in the light of the latest Naxalites’ attack on a political convoy which took place on the 26th of May this year. [ 15 ]. And this is another phenomenon that Roy has criticized in her non-fictional writings and public speeches as well. For example, she has said: “Marx said, ‘what the bourgeoisie therefore produces above all are its own gravediggers. Its fall under victory of the proletariat is inevitable. But, unfortunately, the proletariat as Marx saw it is far from anywhere close to victory. In fact it has been dissolved, dismantled, and has almost ceased to exist as a political force. Factories have been shut-down, jobs have disappeared, trade unions have been disbanded. The proletariat now called the precariat because of the precariousness of its means of livelihood has, over the years, been pitted against each other in every possible way. Here in India it’s been Hindu against Muslim, Hindu against Christian, Dalit against Adivasi, caste against caste, region against region.While we break mosques and bomb buildings, while we argue about whether Adivasis actually constitute Marxist revolutionary proletariat or not; whether Maoism is actually an -ism or not; whether Maoists are infantile or the parliamentary left are social fascists; while we expend all our passion and energy destroying each other, the big capitalists watch from their vantage points in the control room and smile. While we rip each other apart, they steal the world and put it in their pocket. Ironically, Capitalism which was supposed to be based on competition has shown itself capable of great solidarity and great flexibility.And the left radical tradition, whose ideology is supposed to be based on solidarity has historically shown itself to be rigid, doctrinaire, puritanical, and authoritarian…” [ 16 ]. Steger’s “The role of the media” section in the “Cultural Dimensions of Globalization” chapter of “Globalization: A Very Short Introduction” offers a brief, but poignant discussion of how powerful and far-reaching the influence of corporately-owned media is and how serious the consequences of their deliberate trivialization of culture and promotion of consumerism are. 17 ]. As Herbert Marcuse noted decades ago in his essay “Art and Revolution,” arguing that postmodern art has small chances to provoke the raising of consciousness and inspire revolutionary actions in people by relying on the shock effect of graphic portrayals of violence, when graphic scenes of real-life violence have already entered their homes via mass media.

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