Ever wanted to know why, despite the fact that the world is getting richer, there are more people living in poverty than there ever has been before?
Ever wondered what it’s all about? Ever wondered why all those people are screaming outside every meeting of the G8, the WTO and the IMF? Ever wanted to know who is in charge of this movement? Ever wanted to know who is really running the planet? Ever wanted to know the truth about capitalism? Ever wanted to know why economies are run the way they are? Ever wanted to know why, despite the fact that the world is getting richer, there are more people living in poverty than there ever has been before?
Paul Kingsnorths’ new book ‘One No: Many Yeses’ answers all of these questions. Part social commentary, part social document, part travelogue, part rant, part vision – this book has left me breathless for the last five days. Beginning with the story of the rise of the Zapatista movement in Chaipas Mexico, moving to the Battle of Seattle in 1999 and to the horror of Genoa in 2001, Kingsnorth charts the evolution of the first truly global protest movement. More than this, Kingsnorth manages to impart his own burning passion and enthusiasm.
His description is infectious: this is a movement that rejects the hegemony of Milton Friedman’s neo-liberal economics and the wasteland that it leaves behind it. It is a movement that is railing against the colonisation of the mind by marketing companies and the colonisation of indigenous lands by vicious, predatory multinationals who have wreaked untold devastation in some of the poorest nations on earth. It is a movement that is trying to find a better way to live our lives. A life free from the rampant consumerism which has seen 60% of Americans become overweight, a way of life free from the ‘Ikea nesting instinct’, a way of life free from the privatisation of resources which should be basic human rights (water and food etc) and free from the witch-hunt rhetoric of Bush’s war on terror.
Most imprtantly of all perhaps, Kingsnorth shows us first hand evidence of the effects of globalisation from the mouths of those whom it has affected. And even further than that., he brings us to the World Social Forum in Port Allegre, Brazil, where thousands of economists, activists, teachers, politicians and citizens of the United Nations are working to finally answer the question ‘what are you for?’ Their answers may not be fully fleshed out just yet, but they are getting there.
Brilliantly researched, self-deprecating, thought-provoking, occasionally very, very funny – this is the best book on current affairs I have read in a considerable amount of time.
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Purchase One no: many yeses from Amazon.co.uk