Munich American Peace Committee (MAPC)
Demokratie und Globalisierung28. Juli 2002, University of Washington in Seattle
Die Physikerin und Direktorin der Forschungsstiftung für Wissenschaft, Technologie und Ökologie in Neu Delhi, Vandana Shiva, ist Indiens mächtige Stimme für nachhaltige Entwicklung und soziale Gerechtigkeit.
Sie ist Trägerin des Alternativen Nobelpreises, Right Livelihood Award und Autorin zahlreicher Bücher über Biopiraterie, den Erhalt der Artenvielfalt und den Kampf um Wasser.
„Ganz offensichtlich besteht zwischen der University of Washington in Seattle und mir eine besondere Beziehung. Nicht nur, weil es mich immer wieder hierher zurückzieht, sondern auch weil sich der Agrarriese Monsanto in Debatten über genetisch verändertes Saatgut bereits auf die indische „Seattle Crowd“ bezieht. So ist Seattle zur Heimat aller Menschen geworden, die sich um unsere Umwelt Sorgen machen. Und dafür möchte ich dieser Stadt ganz herzlich danken.
Es hat fast ein ganzes Jahrzehnt und viele Massen- und Bauerndemonstrationen gedauert, bis uns klar wurde, dass jede Form von Freihandel unser Überleben in die Hände von Firmen legt, die aus jedem Bissen, den wir essen und aus jedem Tropfen Wasser, den wir trinken, Geld machen wollen. Für sie soll jeder Mensch jeden Tag Coca Cola trinken und jeder Bauer, jedes Jahr neues, genmanipuliertes Saatgut kaufen müssen. Sie bestimmen, dass das, was wir ernten, Tausende von Kilometern entfernt verkauft wird und das, was wir essen, bereits einen Weg von Zehntausenden von Kilometern zurückgelegt hat. Für die Agrarkonzerne gibt es zur Globalisierung des Lebensmittelmarktes, zu genverändertem Saatgut und zur Privatisierung unserer Wasserversorgung keine Alternative. Doch hier in Seattle konnten wir zeigen, dass es durchaus Alternativen gibt. Wir demonstrierten für Gerechtigkeit und Nachhaltigkeit, weil wir schon damals den falschen Versprechungen von Frieden und Wohlstand keinen Glauben schenkten. Man wollte uns einreden, dass unser Vertrauen in unsere Mitmenschen, in den Boden und in den Kuhmist nur Illusion sei, und wir statt dessen Konzernen und ihren Verträgen vertrauen sollten, die Wohlstand versprachen, aber unsere natürlichen Reichtümer zerstörten.
Erinnern Sie sich noch an den Anderson Betrugsskandal? - Das ist die Firma, die mit der Planung der Privatisierung der indischen Wasserversorgung beauftragt war. In Zukunft soll Wasser zu einer Ware werden, die Riesengewinne verspricht, wenn es dorthin exportiert wird, wo es die höchsten Preise erzielt und nicht mehr dort bleibt, wo es für den Erhalt der Ökosysteme benötigt wird.
USAID plant gerade, den Hirseanbau in Indien durch Wein und Blumen zu ersetzen. Dank der dafür benötigten Kühl- und Frischhalteanlagen erhöht sich der Gewinn der investierten Gelder um das Dreifache.
1977 mußte Coca Cola Indien verlassen. Doch die Globalisierung ermöglichte seine Rückkehr und sie errichteten in einem kleinen Dorf in Kerala eine Abfüllanlage. In dieser Gegend darf man nur 100 Meter tiefe Brunnen bauen. Coca Cola bohrte 60 200 bis 300 Meter tiefe Brunnen und trocknete damit alle vorhandenen Bewässerungsanlagen und Brunnen aus.
In Michigan verbraucht Nestle für die Produktion von Perrier täglich 800 Millionen Liter Trinkwasser.
Die Menschen treiben seit Jahrhunderten Handel und befolgen seit Jahrzehnten Handelsgesetze und plötzlich taucht die WHO auf und erklärt Nahrungsmittel, Wasser, Pflanzen, Tiere und menschliche Gene zu Waren ohne jeden emotionellen oder kulturellen Wert..
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Seit Seattle hat sich sehr viel verändert. Zu der Bedrohung für das Überleben unseres Planeten durch die Globalisierung ist inzwischen ein realer Krieg hinzugekommen. Die Bedeutung der Rüstungsindustrie nimmt ständig zu. Das Zusammenspiel von Krieg und Globalisierung bedroht nicht nur unser Leben, unsere Umwelt, unseren Frieden und unsere Demokratie, es könnte sogar unseren Planeten eines Tages unregierbar machen.
Seit Seattle räumte die WHO dem US-Präsidenten immer mehr Sonderrechte ein. Zehn Jahre lang konnten wir in Indien amerikanische Patentansprüche verhindern. Zehn Jahre lang half uns die indische Regierung, geistiges Eigentum zu schützen. Zehn Jahre lang konnte sich Monsanto nicht durchsetzen. Doch als es in Gujarat zu anti-muslimischen Gewaltausbrüchen kam, als ein Krieg zwischen Indien und Pakistan drohte und wir durch Völkermord und Krieg abgelenkt waren, peitschte man eine Patent-Ergänzungsklausel – eine Monsanto-Klausel – durch. Ähnlich verfuhr man in Doha mit einer erweiterten Freihandelszone, als man während einer Nachtsitzung die indische Regierung plötzlich beschuldigte, durch ihr Nein das Anti-Terror-Bündnis zu gefährden. So erschlich sich die WHO ihren Einfluß auf unser Wasser.
Ziel des Welternährungsgipfels sollte es sein, die Zahl der Hungernden zu halbieren. Doch die Globalisierung machte alle derartigen Bemühungen zunichte, denn gerade sie verursacht ja den Hunger, wenn sie mit Dumpingpreisen die Lebensgrundlagen der Kleinbauern zerstört. Amerikanische Agrarsubventionen von 20 Milliarden Dollar jährlich drücken die Preise für US Produkte auf ein Niveau, dem andere Länder nicht standhalten können. So vernichtet eine Wirtschaft die andere und übrig bleiben die Agrarkonzerne. Vor einigen Jahren kaufte Cargill indischen Weizen für 60 Dollar pro Tonne und verkaufte ihn für 240 Dollar auf dem Weltmarkt. Die Weltbank zwang uns, den Weizen zu verkaufen, weil er sonst angeblich zu hohe Lagerkosten verursacht hätte, später mußten wir ihn für 240 Dollar wieder einführen! So verschleudert man indische und amerikanische Steuergelder!
Nachdem Weltbank und WHO Indien gezwungen hatten, alle Agrarsubventionen abzubauen, stiegen die Lebensmittelpreise in 10 Jahren um das Vierfache und viele Menschen konnten sich nicht einmal mehr eine Mahlzeit pro Tag leisten. Die Zahl der Hungertoten nahm drastisch zu. Gleichzeitig subventionieren wir Cargill und Pepsi mit unserem billigen Reis und Weizen. Wir haben kein Geld, um unsere Menschen zu ernähren, aber wir sind reich genug, dabei zu helfen, Bauern in anderen Teilen der Welt zu ruinieren.
20 000 indische Bauern haben bereits Selbstmord begangen. Sie haben den Kampf gegen die hohen Preise für neuartiges Saatgut, für Pestizide und Düngemittel aufgegeben. Eine indische Bäuerin bekommt für ein Kilo Tomaten höchstens 1 Rupie, muß aber für ein Kilo Hybridsamen 10 000 Rupien bezahlen. Lange war Indien das Land der Papaya bis man unsere Bauern zwang, im ersten Jahr 2500, im zweiten 25 000 und im dritten
250 000 Rupien für ein Kilo Gen-Papyasamen zu bezahlen. Das bedeutete das Aus für den indischen Papaya-Anbau.
Und so ging es immer weiter. 1984, auf der Höhe der äthiopischen Hungerkatastrophe, sprach ich mit einem Vertreter von Pioneer , der in Äthiopien genverändertes Maissaatgut verkaufen wollte. Als ich ihm sagte, dass wegen der großen Dürre nichts angepflanzt werde könne, antwortete er, dass es nicht darauf ankäme wieviel wachse, sondern wieviel er verkaufe.
So sieht es aus, das Duell zwischen der Wirtschaft des Todes mit der Wirtschaft des Lebens.
Deshalb dürfen wir nicht zulassen, dass die politische Rechte unser aller Leben aufs Spiel setzt, denn das Recht auf Land, auf Wasser und Saatgut ist das Grundrecht auf Leben, das in unserer Verfassung verankert ist und das wir nicht für irgendwelche Faschisten aufgeben dürfen.
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Demokratie, Wirtschaft und Leben gehören zusammen. Wir können unsere politischen, demografischen und ökologischen Lebensbedingungen nur ändern, wenn wir das politische System verändern. Nur wenn es gelang, demokratische Regeln zu umgehen, konnte die WHO Wasser privatisieren, konnten Patente vergeben und die Globalisierung voran getrieben werden. Kriege und das Bedürfnis nach Sicherheit haben diesen Trend noch verstärkt. Nationalisten, Chauvinisten, Ausländerfeinde und religiöse Fundamentalisten versprechen Sicherheit. In Indien verkommt der sanfte Hinduismus immer mehr zu einer gewalttätigen, fremdenfeindlichen Polit-Ideologie. Und während man sich über religiöse Fragen die Köpfe einrennt und Kriege führt, reißen die Konzerne unbemerkt unsere Rechte an Wasser und Nahrungsmitteln an sich.
Dennoch ist es möglich, Betrug, Terror, Angst und Gewalt zu beenden, wenn wir immer nur die Wahrheit sagen und uns auch in unserem täglichen Leben und Denken von Frieden und Demokratie leiten lassen. In einer lebendigen Demokratie kann niemand ungefragt Bomben auf Afghanistan und Irak abwerfen. Lebendige Demokratie bedeutet mehr als alle vier bis 5 Jahre zur einer Wahl zu gehen, die man wie Bilanzen fälschen kann. Als ich zum ersten Mal von geistigen Urheberrechten, von genetisch verändertem Saatgut und von GATT hörte, wollte ich unbedingt etwas tun und ich begann, Saatgut zu sammeln - das war die Geburtsstunde der Navdanya Bewegung, mit der wir zehn Jahre lang Monsanto den Zugriff auf unsere Landwirtschaft verwehren konnten. Weil jedoch zentralistische Systeme korrumpierbar sind, stützte sich Navdanya auf die Bürger. Doch nicht nur Inder sind bestechlich. Als es Monsanto gelang, den Welternährungsgipfel in einen Propagandafeldzug für Biotechnologie umzufunktionieren, war die US-Landwirtschaftsministerin, Ann Veneman, eine ehemalige Mitarbeiterin von CalGene, das heute zu Monsanto gehört, Verteidigungsminister Donald Rumsfeld war Präsident von Serve, heute Monsanto und Justizminister Ashcroft bezog als Berater von Monsanto großzügigste Wahlkampfspenden. Während die indische Regierung mehr und mehr zu einem ausführenden Organ von Monsanto wird, ist in Washington die Monsanto Administration bereits fest installiert.
Gerade deshalb müssen wir unsere Regierungen dazu bringen, in unserem Sinne zu handeln, damit wir wieder selbst über Wasser, Nahrungsmittel und Saatgut verfügen können. Zu unserer großen Freude schließen sich bereits immer mehr Dorfgemeinschaften zu so genannten „Monsanto-freien Zonen“ zusammen. Hunger und Durst können nur erfolgreich bekämpft werden, wenn sich die Landwirtschaft an den natürlichen Wasser- und Bodenvorkommen orientiert. Universitäten und Medien beschäftigen sich leider immer nur mit Wirtschaftstheorien und ignorieren traditionelle Erfahrungen. Aber auf der ganzen Welt nimmt der Bioanbau und das Bewußtsein für den Schutz der Artenvielfalt und des Saatgutes ebenso zu wie die Erkenntnis, dass unsere Gene, unser Wasser und unsere Nahrungsmittel uns allen gehören und nicht privatisiert werden dürfen. Je korrupter die Konzerne wurden, um so erfolgreicher war unsere Bewegung. Wir wollen der Globalisierung der Konzerne und den weltweiten Kriegen eine weltumspannende Demokratie, eine Erd-Demokratie entgegensetzen, in der alle Lebewesen ein Recht auf Entfaltung und Glück haben.
Nur durch Menschlichkeit und Verantwortung für unseren Planeten können wir Ungerechtigkeit, Ausbeutung, Krieg und Faschismus verhindern. Für die Globalisierer der Konzerne zählt nur militärische Sicherheit. In einer Erddemokratie geht es um ökologische, ökonomische, soziale und kulturelle Sicherheit. Niemand müßte mehr sterben, nur weil er sich gegen einen Damm oder eine Aluminiumfabrik oder gegen illegale Wasserrechnungen
Erddemokratie beruht auf Gerechtigkeit, Nachhaltigkeit und Frieden. Deshalb gehören Friedensbewegung, Entwicklungsorganisationen und Aktivisten für fairen Handel zusammen. Gemeinsam müssen sie dafür eintreten, dass es weder Arten noch Menschen ausgerottet werden, dass Boden und Biosphäre nicht ausgebeutet und verseucht werden, dass Bauern vom Ertrag ihrer Felder leben können, dass jede lebendige Wirtschaft kräftige lokale Wurzeln haben muß, bevor sie sich weltweit ausbreitet. Und wir müssen darauf achten, dass unser Wissen über das Leben nicht verloren geht, dass wir uns verantwortlich fühlen für unsere Umwelt und unsere Mitmenschen, dass wir keine Angst davor haben, statt Habgier und Krieg, Frieden, Verantwortung und Mitgefühl zu globalisieren. Wenn uns dies trotz aller Widerstände gelingt, sehen wir einer glücklichen Zukunft entgegen.“
Democracy and the Global EconomyUniversity of Washington, Seattle 28 July 2002
Vandana Shiva of India is a leading voice for sustainable development and social justice. A Renaissance-type woman, she's a physicist, scholar, social activist and feminist. Dr. Shiva is Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy in New Delhi. She's the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, the alternative Nobel Prize. She's the author of many books including Biopiracy, Stolen Harvest, and Water Wars.
There must obviously be a very special bond between this place and me. It draws me back again and again. The other day during a big debate on Monsanto and its genetically modified crops one of the Monsanto spokespeople wrote a huge article in the Indian newspapers and kept referring to the “Seattle Crowd” in India. Seattle has become the place which has given ordinary citizenship to all concerned citizens of the Earth. So thank you.
It’s been very long between the times when large, large gatherings of the kind that happened in Seattle, especially in the northern countries. In India, we had rallies of five hundred thousand, one hundred thousand farmers through the decade of the nineties since it became clear to us, and it became clear to me, during the Uruguay round of GATT, that whatever structure of so-called free-trade was being created, that it was trying to put our survival in the hands of corporations, to allow them to make money out of every seed, every morsel we eat and every drop of water we drink.
I don’t know how many of you are familiar with Coke’s philosophy. This is what one of their annual board meeting reports referred to: “All of us in the Coca-Cola family wake up each morning knowing that every single one of the world’s 5.6 billion people will get thirsty that day. If we make it impossible for these 5.6 billion people to escape Coca-Cola, then we assure our future success for many years to come. Doing anything else is not an option.”
That’s the same language that the biotech industry uses. If we can think of every farmer coming back to buy seed from us every year, because we have patented it or put terminator traits into it so it is sterile, then we can assure our future. And they tell themselves that anything else is not an option. Biotechnology is the only option.
The Cargills, the ADMs and the ConAgras of the world basically decide if everything we grow is sold by them 5000 miles away and everything we eat comes from 10,000 miles away. Can you imagine the magical money in the whole business? For them, also, there is no other option. Globalization of the trade in food is inevitable. Genetic modification of our seeds is inevitable. Commodification of our water is inevitable. I’m really glad that here in Seattle, we were very clear: There are options.
And we celebrated democracy. I remember a common slogan was “This is what democracy looks like.” Even while all the political scientists at various universities like this one are still figuring out what it looks like. We knew we were for justice. We knew we were here for sustainability, because globalization, also in that period, was being offered with false promises of peace and prosperity. I think in the period since Seattle, and today, both false promises are clearly false.
We have experienced no peace since then. Nor has there been prosperity, not even in the prosperous parts of the world. We started losing our well being right from the beginning of that global trade model. But the recent economic collapses, right here in the heartland of prosperity, has shown that fictitious prosperity can blow away as quickly as it’s blown up, that it is literally a bubble. And just as whoo! We can create one with a little bit soap, and that’s what we should call it “The Real Soap Opera.” Just as little bubbles can be created with one little game, they go as fast. For very long, humanity has known wealth is something else. Wealth is the Earth on which we walk, which gives us the food we eat, our clean rivers, our waters, our wells, our seeds, our animals.
There’s been all kinds of attempts to make it look like our securities in the soil, in our cow dung, in our communities, our friendships, our love, that those securities are the fictitious ones. And that the real securities lay in the fiction of the corporation, because it is a legal fiction. They write a paper, incorporate themselves, become a person, and that fictitious person is governing our lives. And we’re supposed to put our trust in that fiction of a human being than all the human beings who give us real security. We’re supposed to put our trust in the fictitious wealth that they create and destroy our real wealth in the process of the creation of that fictitious wealth.
You have suffered for a large part of last year. The Andersen accounting scandal. You would think it was just audits of companies they were fudging. I’d like to run through how they see the water issue, because they have basically written the water scenario for India and its privatization. They have this amazing matrix in which they have forces and they have different “need states.”
The first need state is an emotional need state, which is the basic need state. My need for water, my need for quenching my thirst is purely emotion. They’ve got economic need states. They’ve got ideological need states and then they have future need state. I would call it the fictitious future state of Andersen’s future. Then they run through in the matrix issues of supply and demand, which basically means how much water is there. They think today in our emotional state, we think of it as a primary issue, but in the future it will become a tertiary issue, it won’t matter how much water there is. They’ll cook it up, just like they cooked up the other accounts.
Health is a primary consideration today. In the future, it will be a tertiary consideration. Environment is a primary consideration today, and they are creating a world in which they want us to make it a tertiary consideration. There are tertiary considerations today, the idea of competition over water, over technology creating water rather than the Earth giving it to us through an amazing hydrological cycle. An amazing new fiction called “new entrants,” new entrants meaning new companies, and new “economy,” basically read commodification. Today, they are tertiary concerns. People really do no think that water should be commodified. People do not think community services, municipal services should be handed over to corporations. They say all these considerations considered tertiary today will be primary in the future. Corporations, their technologies and their defining the economy around water and they’ve worked it out.
They’ve done these calculations wonderfully. They’ve worked out a trillion dollar market lying out there. If for every drop of water, whether for our plants or for our industries, for our thirst, we are buying it. And we are buying it. We are buying bottled water. But they would like us to have even more dependence on a water market. A water market that would make water move to whoever can pay for it. But where does it move if people can create entitlements from purchasing power? It moves to creating canned beans for export. Behind it is this water footprint of devastated ecosystems where people shifted from food crops to growing beans for you.
USAID has just started for India an agricultural commercialization and enterprise project. It’s a $4 million grant and its main purpose is to create commercialization in agriculture, to shift from millet to grapes and flowers, etc. Of course that money doesn’t go to waste because it immediately creates need for all the refrigeration systems and processing systems for which the thermal kings and humifreshers are able to generate, as is known, three times more business out of every dollar. Out of every dollar of your money that goes via USAID or World Bank that somewhere some business is generating three dollars of market opportunities. I’ve worked on shrimps. I’ve worked on flowers. The footprint and shadow of these export crops is just amazing. For every acre of a shrimp farm, two hundred acres of fresh water underground is totally devastated and left undrinkable. There are other places where we never see the water in the globalization system.
India threw Coca-Cola out in 1977. Globalization allowed it to return. Overnight everything was red billboards saying Coca-Cola. Just a month ago we got this message from a remote tribal village in Palghat in Kerala where Coca-Cola set up a bottling plant. It’s just extracting water. You aren’t supposed to go below three hundred feet. All their wells are six hundred or a thousand feet deep. They’ve set up sixty wells in one tiny region. All the irrigation reservoirs in the area have run dry. All the wells have run dry. That’s why the women are sitting there and protesting. It’s a bottling plant. It’s not a water bottling plant. It’s a bottling plant for other soft drinks.
The people in Michigan are trying to resist and protest against two hundred million gallons per day extraction of their groundwater by Nestle, for Perrier. The language that’s constantly used is “full-cost accounting.” Pay the full price. But never has a water corporation paid the price to either nature or the communities from whom they’ve stole the water. That they get for free.
In fact, think of the three big agenda that were brought in by the WTO. We’ve had trade for centuries. We’ve had trade rules for decades. The WTO made a difference to trade because what it did was it defined food as trade, water as trade, biodiversity is trade, our genes are trade, everything was trade. Everything being made tradable meant everything was commodified. And every other value was thus taken away from it. Because if all that you define life through is trade value then it has no value to the Earth, it has no value to culture, it has no value to basic needs, as Andersen says, that’s just a tertiary emotional need that you should drink water and you should have food. How can you be so hysterically emotional about these things. All the women here in the room will recognize that.
And it’s in the continuity of the old Cartesian disease where all primary qualities, the fact that we smell, the fact that we taste, the fact that we hear, the fact we can touch; these were all turned into secondary qualities that you can’t rely on. I can’t rely on the fact that I’m seeing all of you in this room. The only real quality is what I can measure. The measurable became the real. The non-measurable, which is the rich complex web of life because, you know you can never measure the spaces in between anything, and those spaces in between are the real creation. They’re the source of creation. That is where things are happening. But by taking away all those values and being left with market values that are measurable in Andersen accounting and that’s the joke. Not only do they cheat us once by saying it’s real if it’s not measurable, they cheat us twice by making the wrong measures. And then we’re supposed to put our trust in that world of rules and corporate power and corruption?
There are of course other issues that have changed the terms since Seattle. I think two big shifts have happened. One, we used to talk about globalization as a war against the planet and the people; a war in terms of the impact it had. It has now been partnered with real war. One of the supporters of globalization is your very famous New York Times journalist Tom Friedman. He wrote, and sometimes in their bias, they tell the truth and he did. He wrote that, “The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas….” He said that before McDonalds had really become the symbol of our time.
That issue of the war economy is now no more metaphorical. It is really the dominant context. And in this convergence of war and globalization what we’re seeing are not just a threat to our lives as planetary citizens, with all the ecological crisis that is entailed; a threat to our peace; a threat to our democracy; what we are seeing is a very deep threat to governance itself.
Just run through the issues of the last few months, including the recent decision of Fast-Track WTO powers your president got. For ten years in India we managed to prevent patent laws from being changed, in spite of all the pressure of the U.S. Every April 1st, the U.S. administration puts India on the hit list for not having laws that allow pharmaceutical industries to have monopolies, the biotech industry to have monopolies on seed. For ten years we managed to have our government speak in our voice when they went to the WTO for negotiations on intellectual property rights issues on the trade related intellectual property rights agreement, which I’ve sometimes called the Monsanto Treaty. Because they actually went on record saying when we got together as industry to draft this treaty we achieved something unprecedented, we were the patient, diagnostician, and the physician all in one. We defined the problem, we wrote the solution and we implemented it. They’ve been waiting patiently for a very long time. They couldn’t get their way all these years in India. They got their way during the period of anti-Muslim violence in Gujarat and the potential war between India and Pakistan. You must’ve been reading about in the newspapers. It was when the country’s energies were diverted with genocide and war, that when they rushed through a patent amendment. I call it the Monsanto Amendment.
During all this period, using the threat of terrorism. I remember in Doha in Qatar, and that’s another thing about this crisis of democracy: Our leaders have become so afraid of their own democratic base-in us-that they’re constantly having to run away. After Seattle then they ran off to Doha. Recently they ran out to a hideout in the Canadian Rockies. They’ll just have to keep finding mountains and islands and deserts.
But I remember in Doha the only way they got through the enlarged free trade agenda, because India was not giving in; behind the Indian negotiators were our movements, saying you can’t come home with more powers to WTO. In the middle of the night, India was threatened by saying if you do not sign, you are breaking the campaign against terror. In any case the decision was made in this hotel, I was there, in which the meeting was happening in the desert. It’s such an artificial place because it’s desert and then literally you have Miami. Doha is a mimic of Miami. Overhead were helicopters. In the bay were naval ships. We had to change three buses through security and then walk the last half mile because it was as if the decision was being made in a context of war. And in the whole period WTO enlarged its scope over water, and added an article thirty-one in the declaration, which says removal tariff and non-tariff trade barriers to environmental services. Water in the trade language is defined as an environmental service.
The Food Summit, which was supposed to be addressing the issue of hunger, should have reduced by this year the commitments made to reducing the numbers of hungry by half. The governments got together, acted very helpless, and in fact they can’t reduce hunger in the context of globalization because globalization is a mechanism for creating hunger by a number of means. The first means is that it of course deliberately destroys small farmers’ livelihood. That’s the design. It destroys farmers’ livelihood by dumping, huge dumping and that dumping will increase with the new U.S. farm bill. Up to 180 billion dollars, about that much- 180 billion over the next few years, twenty billion a year. The only thing that subsidy does is make costly production artificially cheap so that any agriculture anywhere else can be destroyed. Undercutting our coconut, which has fallen in price from ten rupees to two rupees. Mustard down to a third. It’s like a mutually assured destruction where everyone’s economy is destroyed by every other economy. The only ones who win are Cargill.
Let me tell you the figures of how they win. A few years ago, they bought wheat in India at sixty dollars a ton. They sold it internationally at 240 dollars a ton. And since this was sold under pressure of structural adjustment, with the World Bank telling us you can’t store this grain you’ve got to sell it because storage costs. Of course ii costs; but then it costs more to re-import what we sold at sixty dollars now at 240 dollars a ton. It’s not just your money that’s going to subsidize the Cargill. Our money is also subsidizing Cargill.
The World Bank and the WTO forced India to destroy and dismantle all food subsidies. As a result, food costs went up four times in the last decade. As a result of high prices, the poor couldn’t eat. They were eating one meal a day. Now they’re eating a quarter meal a day. We have a whole spate of starvation deaths, a term that comes up in Parliament all the time. Last year in a public hearing we counted eight hundred. Indians are not allowed to buy food at affordable prices in spite of all the systems that made it happen. Corporations like Cargill and Pepsi are getting the rice and wheat at half the price to export. And just in one year, last year, I worked out the subsidy they receive for just tiny amounts of exports was sixty billion rupees for rice and thirteen billion for wheat. So we are too poor to feed our people, but we are not too poor to reduce costs to Cargill so that they could grab someone else’s market somewhere and destroy some wheat farmer and rice farmer somewhere else.
Across the economy, the food system hijack basically means squeezing out the last rupee, the last dollar from those who are already living in conditions that are very marginalized. Take the case of seed. We have counted more than twenty thousand farmer suicides, linked to rising costs of seed and rising costs of pesticides, and chemical inputs required for the new seeds, including the hybrid seed and now it will be the genetically engineered seed. But just in the last week while I was traveling through rural areas, a woman was plucking tomatoes and I asked her how much would she sell them for. She said one rupee a kilo, if she sells them. How much did the hybrid seed cost? Ten thousand rupees a kilo. What kind of economy is that? Papaya. We’ve been the land of papaya, but in the heartland of papaya growth, farmers were sold seed for 2500 the first year, 25,000 the next year and 250,000 rupees a kilo the third year. They went out of papaya cultivation.
And you could just run through everything. It’s beyond the reach of people but the corporations don’t care because in two years they make enough money and then find some other innocent farming community to trap, and then another and another. Just as Coca-Cola talked about this being sustainability, for them constantly having newer and newer areas to destroy is sustainability.
In the peak of the Ethiopian famine in 1984, I went to Ethiopia because I was so shaken up by it. I had to fly via Nairobi. And next to me was a Pioneer representative. So I started to talk to him and said what are you going for? He said to sell hybrid corn. I said but they’re having a drought. They can’t plant hybrid corn. He said our concern is not what grows; our concern is that we sell. And in fact this year fails, we sell again and again and again. It doesn’t really matter to us whether they have a crop or not. Our market doesn’t feel it. That is the point: the rupture of the cycle of life has become the market opportunity. That is why at this point, the real contest is between the economy of life and the economy of death.
That’s why I would really plead with all of you that we can’t afford to have the right to life hijacked by the right-wing. When we talked about the right to land, the right to water, the right to seeds, and these are our basic movements. We talk about the right to life and it’s in our Constitution. We don’t want to give it away to any fascist in our country. The right to life is our life. Life is sacred. The right to life is the fundamental struggle of our time.
We used to have all kinds of other struggles, but today democracy is linked to life, economics is linked to life. The real challenge is basically for us to be able to reclaim our systems and change them in the reclaiming. Because as we take small steps in recovering our lives, and the bases of our lives, the ecological basis of our lives, the community basis of our lives, the demographic, political basis of our lives, we will be forced to also change the institutions that today can only make dark decisions in conditions of darkness. Look at all the decision that have been made that I have cited. The decision to privatize water through the WTO, the decision to privatize India’s water act, the decision on Fast-Track, the decision in patent law, were all made behind the backs of people, by suspending democracy. Suspending democracy has become an imperative to keep the globalization agenda going.
It’s helped by the context of war, and it’s also helped by the fact that as insecurity grows, insecure people become available to shaping of security through narrow identities, through cultural nationalism, through chauvinism, through xenophobia, through religious fundamentalism. We are witnessing, in India, the re-defining of the most compassionate of religions, Hinduism, into a new political ideology of exclusion, of the most violent kind. You ask these young men why they are joining these militia-like organizations and they always say I’m feeling like a second class citizen. Of course they are being made into second class citizens, not by the minorities but by globalization. But the very same political interests who are pushing globalization are also creating the xenophobia, are also creating the ethnic strife.
They changed the terms of elections. Elections are no more about water and food, because on that they lose systematically. I’ve done analysis of how every time there’s been a defeat in the elections on the basis of food and water, there’s been a change in the electoral agenda. They fight each other on religious grounds. We’ll give you money for it, we’ll equip you for it and I’m sure global money will move to make all this happen. But in addition to that it becomes a wonderful smoke screen to allow corporations to take over our vital sectors of food and water by default. Not without permission but by default when everyone is busy with a riot here, and war there, and unknown enemies somewhere else.
That is why we are doing very, very simple things to move away from this governance through fraud and deceit and terror and fear and violence, into a governance based on truth and peace and democracy. The very telling of truth, the very creation of peace in our every day lives and our minds, the very practice of democracy not in the grand ways that depend upon how the White House moves, but in the small ways that depend upon how your heart moves and how you can move your life.
We refer to it as creation of living democracy. Because at this point, the democracy that’s dominant is a very dead one. You know it and we know it. It’s a dead democracy because we cannot influence the decisions. We never made the decisions. You never made the decisions for the bombing of Afghanistan. I don’t think you will be making the decision about Iraq. But without your permission, those who are supposed to seek your permission in democracy, because that’s what democracy is: leaders seeking the permission of the people they’re supposed to represent. The moment in a democracy that’s seeking the permission of the people ceases democracy is dead.
Democracy is not about that ballot paper which can be fudged, just like the Andersen accounts. It’s not about elections once in four or five years. It’s about how we govern our lives. It’s about what our leader do with our permission. And that’s why we talk about living democracy in terms of bringing life back to democracy to reclaim it.
We can only reclaim it by devolving it downward, by bringing it closer to home, closer to where we are. And it’s very doable. I’ll give you two just simple examples. When I first came to know about intellectual property rights and genetically modified organisms and things like GATT. I went back and started to save seeds. That’s how the Navdanya movement grew. For ten years we managed to stop, through policy, Monsanto’s entry. But we knew that sooner or later centralized systems are corruptible.
But we always had a second track, which was people’s options. Talking about centralized systems being corruptible and Monsanto’s corruption, not just in India. When the Food Summit was hijacked by Monsanto and turned into a biotechnology launch summit, that time I realized that Ann Veneman, U.S. Agricultural Secretary, she used to work for CalGene which is now owed by Monsanto. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was the president of Serve, now part of Monsanto. Attorney General Ashcroft has given legal advice to Monsanto and has received campaign funds. I was told the biggest ever campaign donation. So what you actually have is that not just our government is becoming a Monsanto government, you’ve already had a Monsanto Administration.
We now need to turn our governments into delegated trustees of that which we leave for them to govern over. That means we have to take back our water, our food, our seeds. In the last ten years, amazing things have happened in the villages where we work. Just talking about these new trends, our communities started to form what they call “freedom zones”. There’s a valley where there are seventy villages, another valley where there are thirty villages; we can’t keep track of new areas. But these are villages I visit all the time so I know what people have said: These are going to be chemical-free, G.M.-free, patent-free, Monsanto-free zones. (applause)
There is a possibility to substitute this economy of death, which only knows how to extract, and the more you destroy, the further you go. And you somehow think you’re creating. That’s why Andersen can talk of supply and demand not being a primary issue. Because in their minds, they can always go another step, another step, and another step and for them there always be another step. But we can only create abundance by knowing the limits of the water cycle. We can only create abundance by knowing the limits of the land. And it’s within those limits that we can genuinely create the kind of abundance that will remove the depravation, that will remove the hunger, that will remove the thirst.
But that will mean shifts on our part. Shifts are now happening and I think that’s the most important issue. These alternatives are already big. They are bigger than the dominant economy. It’s just that the dominant economy is so exaggerated in our universities. It’s exaggerated in the newspapers. Its role is exaggerated in the financial pages. It’s exaggerated in the TV. But the real economy is still the dominant economy, thank goodness.
And in that real economy, people are making tremendous shifts. I know how fast the organic movement is growing in India and in other parts of the world, how fast movements to conserve biodiversity and seeds is growing, how global is the commitment that water is a commons and cannot be privatized, that our biodiversity and genetic resources are commons and cannot be commodified. We have a huge campaign on treaties to reclaim our water, genes, and food, as the common basis of our life. Once we start making those small steps, all kinds of possibilities open. And I think at this point, a bigger possibility than even when we organized for Seattle. And for that we’ve been helped by the corruption of the corporations.
I tell myself, they’ll destroy themselves. We have to create the other world. And in this shift, the way I see it is a move away from corporate globalization and global war to an earth democracy. The shifts are very, very basic. The kind of things humans have always been thinking about. It’s about what is the aim of human life. In India we call it poorshart. What do you live for? In corporate globalization, you live for profits and accumulation if you are a corporation and you live for consumerism if you are not. In earth democracy, maintenance of life on earth now and in the future is the end of human life. Improvement of well being and happiness of all beings. In Sanskrit, there is a prayer, Let all beings be happy.
We’ve been made to think that somehow globalization was creating an integration and those of us who were against it were the narrow minded. But globalization was a narrow minded project of integration only along the market axis; along all other axes, disintegration. Disintegration of ecosystems, disintegration of culture, disintegration of the human condition. In earth democracy, it’s the ecological processes that are integrated. We live and work within the hydrological cycle and we are aware of it. We live and work within the giant food web. If our food web, as humans, is out of it, we would be creating scarcity, we will be creating hunger.
Our integration is about our common humanity and a planetary consciousness. That is what has disintegrated by global market integration. But once we integrate around the ecology and ecological processes of the planet, and our common humanity, very automatically, things disintegrate. For example, unjust rule. For example, fascism. For example, non-sustainable lifestyles. We don’t have to keep bombarding them. We’ve to ignore them, do the better stuff. They will go and disappear by themselves. It’s like light and darkness.
The global corporate model has only one definition of security, that is militarized security. But in earth democracy, security is ecological, it’s economic, it’s social, it’s cultural. Once you have those securities, you don’t need militarized security, because you are not creating the violence, you’re not creating the enemies, you aren’t creating the wars. In terms of capturing initiatives people are taking in very concrete ways in their everyday lives around very basic needs like food and water. I try to capture what are the movements saying in India. What is it that we are joining them in. These principals are laid out with which I’d like to conclude. Principles that are really the voices of hundreds of thousands of people who are facing bullets as they defend their land from a dam, which was stopped in the 70s, the Koel-Karo project in Bihar where twelve tribals were killed. Or they stop an aluminum company relocating to India and tearing down their sacred mountains. Three people were killed. Or they’re standing in the way of government extension workers who have now actually been substituted by military people to collect water payments for a privatized water supply. Three farmers were killed. The stories of the brutality which with the system has to be kept floating, not just the wars, not just the fundamentalism, but everyday governance being turned against a war against a people who constitutional rights have been taken away. This is the real war against democracy. And to deal with this crisis, people are responding in the most amazing way, creating the boldest of leaps in terms of what is doable, possible and necessary. So I’d like to run through a shaping of some principles for our work for this moment. It comes from the diversity of our experiences in India, but I think the diversity of India’s experiences are diverse enough to have a common sharing with things you are doing here.
Earth democracy is really a democracy which creates justice, sustainability and peace and we can’t divide these any more. There is no divisibility between sustainability movements, peace movements and justice movements. They all pass for one. And in this earth democracy, quite clearly the democracy of all life has to shape our imaginations. A democracy of all life is necessary dependent on the recognition that there’s intrinsic worth of all species and all beings, There are no disposable species and there are no disposable people. Diversity in nature and culture is an end in itself. It’s a value, a source of richness, both material and cultural. Humanity threatens itself by making it look replaceable by all kinds of monocultures of the mind.
All of us, all species and all human beings have natural rights to sustenance. These are not written by our governments. They are not given by the corporations. They are given by our being part of the earth family. They’re part of our being born. They’re natural rights which cannot be extinguished. Governments can be blind to them but blindness cannot make things disappear.
The earth economy must necessarily be based on an economic democracy and a living economy. A living economy is different from a dead one. Dead economies are the kind where you can have five million today and nothing tomorrow. Dead economies are economies where farmers are spending more on production than they’re getting back from what they’ve produced. The corn example is very recent, three dollars for production, two dollars what they earn. That’s across the world now. Of course they are economies of death and destruction because they are based on non-sustainable extraction of the earth’s resources and non-sustainable pumping of pollution into the earth’s biosphere. But you can’t build living economies without making it a local economy. Because the economies of death can be globally organized, economies of life only work locally and upwards to different levels. The roots lie in the local. The branches can go out to the global.
I already talked about the vitally of democracy, where we reclaim our decisions about life. If in our communities we do not want our water to become commodified, it’s in our hands to shape the system through water is provided to all. Earth democracy is based on living knowledge, living knowledge both in the sense of the knowledge about how life works, about which we have great ignorance. But also about knowledge that nurtures institutions through public domains. I won’t talk more about this now but the crisis of public knowledge is very deep. Public knowledge in the sense of common knowledge in communities which is being pirated and hijacked and all the work I’ve done on bio-piracy but also public knowledge and institutions like this. The privatization has become the mode of short-term harvest of knowledge that necessarily can be reproduced over time and through space.
In earth democracy, there’s a balancing of rights and responsibilities. This is a feminist principle I’ve learned through life. That any rights that exist without responsibility are violent. They’re brutal and they’re invasive. Rights derive from responsibility are rights of care, rights of looking after things, maintaining things, and looking after our participation in community.
Finally in the earth’s democracy, which I believe we are all shaping and we should have to love it more, enjoy it more and be more deeply committed to it and not allow the rule of fear to take away our possibilities. The moment we remove fear and hopelessness from our hearts, all kinds of horizons open. That is why, for me, it’s the time in earth democracy to globalize peace and care and compassion. We are already connected to circles of care and compassion. That’s what makes our lives possible and livable and it’s this globalization of compassion rather than greed, of peace rather than war, that I believe, in spite of knowing that we are going to have some very dark and very violent times, we are also going to shape a very beautiful future. Thank you. (applause)
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