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Video: Land-grab, Law and Capitalism in India discussed by Medha Patkar and David Harvey

15 May 2011

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MEDHA PATKAR, is a renowned Indian social activist, founder member of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA; Save the Narmada Campaign) since 1989, and founder convenor of the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), awarded the Right Livelihood Award in 1991 and served as a commissioner for the World Commission on Dams between 1998-2001. DAVID HARVEY is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). A social theorist of international standing, he is widely known for his critique of global capitalism and neoliberal development.

Land has become a key issue for both neoliberal capitalism and for people’s movements. Land Acquisition Act of 1894 is used to take over land of indigenous and rural peoples today in the name of the common good. India has had 55 million people displaced by large dams. David Harvey: Dominant economic theory ignores land issues, focusing instead on macro-economic theory. This carries over into Marxism, which ignores land-grabs. Much of my work has been about rescuing this notion. It turns out that the bourgeoisie has made more money out of land speculation than they have out of industrial production. That’s particularly true today, when there’s a financial crisis and there’s nowhere for capital to go. So a dominant strategy to deal with this crisis is to engage in land grabs: examples include Africa and internal Chinese affairs.

Event April 23, 2011 at Alwan for the Arts, sponsored by Association for India’s Development - New York Chapter, Sanhati, South Asia Solidarity Initiative, The Center for Place Culture and Politics (CUNY)

Camera, audio Joe Friendly