Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Raj Patel

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Raj Patel
OccupationEconomist, activist, writer
NationalityBritish, American, Non-resident Indian and Person of Indian Origin
EducationUniversity of Oxford, London School of Economics, Cornell University
Notable work(s)The Value of Nothing
Stuffed and Starved

Raj Patel (born 1972) is a British-born American academic, journalist, activist and writer[2] who has lived and worked in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the United States for extended periods. He is best known for his 2008 book, Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System.[3] His most recent book is The Value of Nothing[4] which was on The New York Times best-seller list during February 2010.[5][6] He has been referred to as "the rock star of social justice writing."[7]


[edit] Biography

Born to a mother from Kenya and a father from Fiji,[8][9][10] he grew up in Golders Green in north-west London where his family ran a corner shop.[11] Patel received a B.A in Philosophy, Politics and Economics (PPE), from Oxford, and a Masters Degree from the London School of Economics, and gained his PhD in Development Sociology from Cornell University in 2002.[2][12] He has been a visiting scholar at Yale and the University of California, Berkeley. As part of his academic training, Patel worked at the World Bank, World Trade Organization and the United Nations.[2] He has since become an outspoken public critic of all of these organizations, and claims to have been tear-gassed on four continents protesting against his former employers.[2][8][13]
Patel was one of many organizers in the 1999 protests in downtown Seattle, WA, and has organized in support of Food sovereignty.[14] More recently he has lived and worked extensively in Zimbabwe and in South Africa. He was refused a visa extension by the Mugabe regime for his political involvement with the pro-democracy movement. He is associated through his work on food with the Via Campesina movement, and through his work on urban poverty and resistance with Abahlali baseMjondolo[15] and the Landless Peoples Movement.[10] He has written a number of criticisms of various aspects of the policies and research methods of the World Bank[16][17] and was a co-editor, with Christopher Brooke, of the online leftist webzine The Voice of the Turtle.
He is currently a visiting scholar in the Center for African Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, a Fellow at Food First, also known as the Institute of Food and Development Policy, and a Research Associate at the School of Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa.[2]
In 2007 he was invited to give the keynote address at the University of Abahlali baseMjondolo graduation ceremony. He administers the organisation's website.[18] In 2008 he was asked to testify on the global food crisis before the House Financial Services Committee in the USA.[2] In 2009 he joined the advisory board of Corporate Accountability International's Value the Meal campaign.[19]
Patel became a US citizen on 7 January 2010.[20][21]
In January 2010 some adherents of Share International, following an announcement by Benjamin Creme, concluded that Patel could be the Maitreya.[22] Patel denied being the Maitreya.[22]
In 2012, he appeared in the National Film Board of Canada documentary Payback, based on Margaret Atwood's Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth, which premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival.[23]

[edit] Political views

Patel is a Libertarian Socialist and has described himself as "someone who has very strong anarchist sympathies."[24] In his book The Value of Nothing he praised the grassroots participatory democracy practiced in the Zapatista Councils of Good Government in southern Mexico and has advocated similar decentralist models of economic democracy and confederal administration as templates to go by for social justice movements in the global north. He has also described himself as "not a communist, I'm just open minded",[25][26] and in an interview with The New Yorker's Lauren Collins as an atheist Hindu.[27]

[edit] Quotes

The question is: why are there markets of food at all? -About global food economy[28]
We in the global north need to remember the legacy, what it is the damage we have caused, the damage that has been done in our names in developing countries, so we need to be talking about reparations as part of the local food movement, and we need to be looking at relations of power within the local, we need to be talking about things like gender justice, we need to be talking about racial justice, because these are the things that can also get papered over in terms of a local food movement, and I also think that’s one of the exciting things the Oakland Food Policy Council is how well they are taking these things on board. -On Reparations for the Global South[this quote needs a citation]
We go to supermarkets because they are convenient...Bunny chow becomes convenient because of the rhythm of our worklives, the time that we have to allocate to our food, and the way that we are allowed or not allowed to eat together and make space for food and the natural world. So all of a sudden this idea of convenience becomes a social construct...although you go into a supermarket and are told ‘here everything is made for you, you can have whatever you like and its fresh and available’ .. actually the way modern capitalism works for food is precisely the opposite...in every way that matters we are being made for our food, into the kinds of people who find this [snickers bar] to be palatable, the strangest things to be normal, all of a sudden its normal for people to live in slavery so that our food and our tomatoes in our burgers can be made cheaply...things like redbull become an integral part of the way to work.. we need fast food for example because your holding down two jobs your trying to run from one place to another you need the healthcare, of course you dont have time to cook the only place you can eat in our laps...the way we live today, the way in which we have no healthcare, the way in which we are educated to think this is normal [snickers bar], the way in which we are forced to work for minimum wage for very little, all of this is part of our food system. -On How We Are Being Made For Our Food[this quote needs a citation]
Food Sovereignty is about an end to all forms of violence against women...The food crises is gendered, 60% of the people going hungry are women or girls, in the developing world the majority of food eaten there is grown by women, and the violence that happens domestically is just one form of violence against women, the violence of not being able to sell your product in the open market, the violence of having your agricultural knowledge devalued compared to those of the scientists in the west, the violence of not being able to send your daughter to school, the violence of not being able to be regarded as an equal participant in politics, all of these are forms of violence that need to be fought on the way to achieving food sovereignty. It requires nothing less if we are to be truly democratic. - On Food Sovereignty and the Ending of Patriarchy[this quote needs a citation]

Raj Patel (r) confronts Glen Nayager of the South African Police at an Abahlali baseMjondolo protest in Durban

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b James, Scott (February 4, 2010). "In Internet Era, an Unwilling Lord for New Age Followers". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/05/us/05sfmetro.html. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Raj about himself. (Retrieved on February 8, 2010.)
  3. ^ Patel, Raj (2008). Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System. Melville House Publishing. ISBN 978-1-933633-49-7.
  4. ^ Patel, Raj (2010). The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy. Picador. ISBN 978-0-312-42924-9.
  5. ^ New York Times best-seller (nonfiction) (Retrieved on March 1, 2010.)
  6. ^ New York Times best-seller (business) (Retrieved on March 1, 2010.)
  7. ^ World Class Intellectual Engagement, Imraan Buccus, The Mercury, 23 March 2011
  8. ^ a b Interview with Raj Patel The New York Times blog (Retrieved on February 8, 2010.)
  9. ^ A Big Think Interview With Raj Patel From Junior Capitalist to Social Activist (Retrieved on February 8, 2010.)
  10. ^ a b About himself at 21 minuti (Retrieved on February 9, 2010.)
  11. ^ Johnson, Bobbie (19 March 2010). "I'm not the messiah, says food activist – but his many worshippers do not believe him". London: The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/19/raj-patel-colbert-report-benjamin-creme. Retrieved 23 March 2010.
  12. ^ Raj about his education (Retrieved on February 8, 2010.)
  13. ^ Citizine (Retrieved on February 8, 2010.)
  14. ^ Speech at 21 minuti (Retrieved on February 9, 2010.)
  15. ^ The Politics of Starving: An Interview with Raj Patel, Upping the Anti, 2010
  16. ^ The world bank and agriculture A critical review at World bank's world development report 2008 (Retrieved on February 10, 2010.)
  17. ^ Faulty Shades of Green: The World Bank Dissembles the Environment (Retrieved on February 10, 2010.)
  18. ^ Patel, Raj (June 10, 2010). "Off-Side at the World Cup". The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/raj-patel/off-side-at-the-world-cup_b_607951.html. Retrieved October 31, 2011.
  19. ^ Value the Meal Advisory Board (Retrieved on February 8, 2010.)
  20. ^ Raj Patel blog (Retrieved on February 10, 2010.)
  21. ^ Raj Patel Colbert Report (Retrieved on February 8, 2010.)
  22. ^ a b Scott James (2010-02-04). "In Internet Era, an Unwilling Lord for New Age Followers". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/05/us/05sfmetro.html. Retrieved 2010-05-30.
  23. ^ Fulton, Ben (27 January 2012). "Sundance: A documentary about debt offers a big ‘Payback’". Salt Lake Tribune. http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/sundance/53318829-177/atwood-debt-film-payback.html.csp. Retrieved 1 March 2012.
  24. ^ Johnson, Bobbie (2010-03-19). "I'm not the messiah, says food activist – but his many worshippers do not believe him". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/mar/19/raj-patel-colbert-report-benjamin-creme.
  25. ^ "A Big Think Interview With Raj Patel". Big Think. January 12, 2010. http://bigthink.com/ideas/18171. Retrieved October 31, 2011.
  26. ^ [1][dead link]
  27. ^ Collins, Lauren (29 November 2010). "Are you the Messiah?". The New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/11/29/101129fa_fact_collins. Retrieved 29 July 2012. "Patel grew up a “God-fearing Hindu,” but now calls himself an “atheist Hindu.”"
  28. ^ About global food economy Marquette University ''(Retrieved on February 11, 2010.)

[edit] Books

[edit] Forwards and Introductions

Forward to No Land! No House! No Vote! Voices from Symphony Way, by the Symphony Way Pavement Dwellers (2011)

[edit] External links

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