Capitalism: A Ghost Story

by Arundhati Roy

Rockefeller to Mandela, Vedanta to Anna Hazare…. How long can the cardinals of corporate gospel buy up our protests?

CORBIS (FROM OUTLOOK, MARCH 26, 2012)

Antilla the Hun Mukesh Ambani’s 27-storey home on Altamont Road. Its bright lights, say the neighbours, have stolen the night.

Is it a house or a home? A temple to the new India, or a warehouse for its ghosts? Ever since Antilla arrived on Altamont Road in Mumbai, exuding mystery and quiet menace, things have not been the same. “Here we are,” the friend who took me there said, “Pay your respects to our new Ruler.”

Antilla belongs to India’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani. I had read about this most expensive dwelling ever built, the twenty-seven floors, three helipads, nine lifts, hanging gardens, ballrooms, weather rooms, gymnasiums, six floors of parking, and the six hundred servants. Nothing had prepared me for the vertical lawn—a soaring, 27-storey-high wall of grass attached to a vast metal grid. The grass was dry in patches; bits had fallen off in neat rectangles. Clearly, Trickledown hadn’t worked. Continue reading

Taser Death Toll Mounts

by Bob Briton

The death of Brazilian student Roberto Laudisio Curti a fortnight ago has thrown the spotlight back on police use of Tasers. The victim was allegedly fleeing the scene of a crime – the theft of a packet of biscuits from a convenience store. Roberto was also capsicum sprayed. Over the years, media reports have created the impression that the targets of this type of weaponry are people presenting a danger to others in their vicinity or to police.

The 21-year-old Brazilian did not fit this frequently invoked profile. He was reported to be running away from police when shot in the back. It is unclear how many times he was Tasered. A witness reported a female officer kicking the student while he was being held on the ground. Continue reading