What is politics, but the way human groups make collective decisions? The barriers to solving any of the world’s problems are political, not technical. If there is no political hope, then there is no hope, period.
Where is hope to be found? Pardon the cliché—it is to be found in democracy. In this one-hour conversation Indy Rishi Singh and Charles Eisenstein explore, among other things, what democracy is and isn’t using two recent examples: India and Ecuador. In both places, a massive popular movement has succeeded in stopping and reversing horrible government policies.
In Ecuador, a mass indigenous-led movement has gained concessions from the right-wing neoliberal government following a nation-wide strike. Campesino families, from grandmothers to little children, mobilised to block roadways and paralyse transportation. Huge crowds converged upon the cities, braving police violence to make business-as-usual impossible. The government capitulated. It agreed to the movement’s demands to halt new mining and oil and gas drilling in national parks, indigenous territories, and water supply areas, and gave indigenous people veto power over future projects.
This is really good news for the Amazon rainforest, where the resource extraction was to have occurred. And, mining and drilling cause devastation beyond the ecological. As the roads and machines encroach, traditional livelihoods and ways of life deteriorate, bringing alcoholism, domestic violence, and poverty. The indigenous are defending not only their territories, but their very culture.