rn: Vandana Shiva on protests


Jan Slakov

Dear RN,

While the previous message from a World Bank employee (Leon Galindo)
expresses the opinion that the World Bank actually does many helpful things,
Vandana Shiva, below, clearly has no use for the institution.

My own feeling is that there are surely many well-meaning people within the
World Bank including Leon Galindo but that the world would likely be a
better place without it. 

"Western civilization", like the World Bank, has many good aspects, but it
would seem that its net effect is negative.

For this reason, I would never call "Third World" countries "developing" as
Leon Galindo does in his report. I think we in the "West" must learn to
"develop" our ability to live lightly on the earth. Our economy would
eventually become mainly a subsistance economy. I think this is basically in
line with Vandana Shiva's thinking.

all the best, Jan
PS One thing "Western" thinking has brought us is the notion of fundamental
and universal human rights. This is one thing I think we ought to keep, one
point of very basic agreement with Leon Galindo!

From: "Janet M Eaton" <•••@••.•••>
Date:   Tue, 18 Apr 2000 23:51:55 +0000
Subject: (Fwd) Vandana Shiva - I meant to note!!

Vandana's comments below on the  movement of village communities 
having sovereignty over their biodiversity and biological resources 
and the  Agenda 5 for Freedom. She notes they are relevent to 
every country.  What do you think ?
all the best, janet 

------- Forwarded Message Follows -------
From:          "Janet M Eaton" <•••@••.•••>
To:            •••@••.•••
Date:          Tue, 18 Apr 2000 23:39:22 +0000
Subject:       Vandana Shiva on role of media, IMF/WB in India & altern
Reply-to:      •••@••.•••

So no matter where you look, the World Bank is basically taking away
the resources of the people, putting it in the hands of global
capital, destroying the livehoods of people in the name of efficiency
and forcing destitution on millions and billions of people. Its
policies are nothing short of genocide. 
                    -   Vandana Shiva, A 16, 2000



Independent Media Center Website 

Interview with Vandana Shiva on 4/14/00 by Sheri Herndon 
11:19am Sun Apr 16 '00 •••@••.••• 

Vandana Shiva talks about the media's coverage; trends toward
privatization and an agenda for self-determination in India. 

Q What do you think of the coverage of the media here in DC on the
protests against the IMF and World Bank? 

A: I don't think the media is doing justice because the media is
basically trying to save these institutions. The media after all is
controlled by the very same economic powers that gain from the
existence of these institutions and what makes me angry and outraged
is that the very poor people in the Third World who have been hurt
most by the policies by the World Bank and IMF and increasingly by
the WTO are now being used as scapegoats for the perpetuation of
these institutions and their policies and I think that it is
unforgivable that the victims become the reason for perpetuating
destructive policies. 

Q: How would you describe what these policies are doing in India. 

A: Let me run through four examples of the kind of destruction the
World Bank and IMF policies cause. 

In 1984, we had a drought, India needed a little bit of money to
deepen our wells for drinking water. The World Bank said they would
only give the money if it was conditional to turning the entire state
into a cash crop state to grow sugar cane, creating a recipe for
water famine within 5 years and forcing the country into debt. 

1966, the World Bank forced India with its loans linked to the
chemical revolution called the Green Revolution to introduce a very,
very destructive and centralized agriculture. Today it is withdrawing
the very subsidies it imposed on India and wanting the agriculture
system to collapse with a recipe that this agriculture now be handed
over to corporations. And inefficiencies of that centralized system
were not created by autonomous sovereign decision within India, it
was created by World Bank policy and pressure. 

The World Bank is forcing India to privatize water resources. There
have been situations, for example, a lake in Mahahrash, built by the
tribals, taken over by Coca-Cola, which is preventing the tribals who
built it from having access to drinking water. All across India's
7,000 km coastline, and this is what I was working on just before I
left, World Bank financing has created a cancerous growth of
industrial shrimp farms creating a saline desert, devastating coastal
ecosystems and coastal people who have been protesting against these
policies . We reached the Supreme Court, we got a victory in the
Supreme Court. The Indian Supreme Court ruled that this activity was
so destructive it must be stopped. And then the World Bank and its
national credit agencies applied pressure on the government to try and
undo the laws on the basis of which we had won Supreme Court victory.
That is the battle we are fighting right now. 

So no matter where you look, the World Bank is basically taking away
the resources of the people, putting it in the hands of global
capital, destroying the livehoods of people in the name of efficiency
and forcing destitution on millions and billions of people. Its
policies are nothing short of genocide. 

Of course the World Bank and the IMF officials visit the Third World,
but they do not know the realities because all they look at is the
returns on investment calculations that they have already made in
Washington before they made their trips. 

Q: You alluded to self-determination and this is an incredibly
important principle as we are dealing with the trend of privatization
everywhere. How would you describe efforts that are currently
happening in India and other places of which you are familiar toward
self-determination and steps in which we could actually implement
systems that would show that we do not need the IMF or the World

A: Last year we started a movement of village communities having
sovereignty over their biodiversity and biological resources. And
this year because of the kind of pressures the World Bank is putting
on water, on forcing India to raise the prices of food through
removal of food subsidies, what we have is an Agenda 5 for Freedom.
Basically saying we will control these sectors and economies, they
belong to the people, we will run them on our terms and we will
create zones that are totally free of control of these international
systems. And the 5 for Freedom is: 

1. Freedom to seed and therefore freedom from patenting and genetic

 2. Freedom to water and therefore no privatization of
water but rather community control over water; 

3. Freedom of food, to have access to food, to be able to be free to 
grow food according to nature's sustainability and livelihood 

4. Freedom of the forest so that countries like India where 80% of 
people get their fodder and fuel and medicinal needs from the forest, 
that they can continue to meet them; and finally 

5. Freedom to entitlement to land because the World Bank policies are 
undoing our land reform and moving land out of small peasant holdings 
into large corporate holdings and we have had again and again in 
history movements to keep land in the hands of the tiller. 

Those movements we will build again. 

Q: These five points that you have outlined seem like they could be a
model for many countries in the global south. 

A: I should think they are relevant to every country because you
cannot live without food; agricultural societies cannot live without
access to land; everyone needs water; every society including
industrial societies have to fight for seed sovereignty, and in terms
of our forest ecosystems and their defense no one can escape the fact
that our forests are very depleted, very denuded and are increasingly
becoming industrial plantations for raw material and no longer forest
habitats that nurture the diversity of life. 

Q: Capitalism seems to be the basis for the IMF and World Bank in its
current form. What kind of system would you imagine that we could
transition to? 

A: The alternative to the policies and structures and paradigms that
the World Bank, IMF and WTO embody to me is economic democracy.
Economic systems under the democratic control of people, serving

Q: When we first started we were talking about the mainstream media
and corporate control of the press. I'm involved with the media
democracy movement and the Independent Media Center here in DC and in
Seattle. What role do you see media democracy playing in these
efforts for self-determination and a trend back toward the commons for
the people? 

A: We have had total political and economic control before in
history. India is a society that was a colony, ruled by the British
empire and the media was totally in the service of the British rulers.
And one of the first things Ghandi did when he became active in the
independence movement, was to start a newspaper called the Hadajan,
which means the "voice of the excluded", because the Hadajan is the
name given to the low caste. And he called it the Hadajan, it was the
voice of the excluded, it was the media of the freedom movement. That
is how the movement spread. 

In every time of silence, and in every moment of dictatorship,
democracy requires independent communication systems to be developed.
It would be silly to assume that media which is an instrument of the
classes who shape it would then suddenly become used for the opposite
purpose. And dominant media is such an important element of
accumulation beyond any ethical limit, accumulation beyond any
sustainable limit, that media is at the heart of the problem. 

And alternative media is at the heart of democracy. 


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