Vandana Shiva: Why Monsanto Is Fighting Tooth and Nail Against California's Prop 37
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Then, a call was made from Monsanto to Bill Clinton to Tony Blair to get rid of this top scientist who had left Hungary for freedom. And he said “I had more freedom in Communist Soviet Union, in Hungary, than in corporate ruled England.” That freedom is what the US is losing and US citizens are losing as corporations take over our science, our decision-making, our food systems and our seed.
So Proposition 37 is not an insignificant proposition. It is, in a way, a reflection of the larger debate in this election. Will money run it or will the people’s democratic votes run it? Will democracy in America be “of the people, by the people, for the people” or is it going to be reduced to “of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations?” In which case, you have corporate rule and corporate rule means corporate dictatorship and corporate dictatorship as Mussolini said is Fascism. The convergence of political power with economic power is a very dangerous moment, but it is also a moment that pushes us to create new levels of aspiration and actions for freedom.
Kolhatkar: What would the ripple effect be, if Californians passed Proposition 37? This is the biggest state, the most economically successful state in the union. It is also the ninth largest economy in the world and, as you have said, the US is so far behind other countries. Could there be a ripple effect far beyond California and globally if labeling, were to become law in California?
Shiva: I think there’d be a huge ripple effect - not in the way fear-mongers, the “No to Proposition 37” people are saying. They’re saying there will be a $400 cost per family. That’s nonsense, labeling has never ever increased cost. You have to just look at what happened in Europe. You just have to look at what happened with other food labeling. So this is totally creating fear, especially among the less privileged, who are already having a difficult time meeting their food bills.
The second thing they’re saying is there will be too much of a burden, a segregation of products. This is already an obligation that California has when it exports. Europe requires segregation. You can’t mix up GM seeds with non-GM seeds, so you are anyway doing it for your export market. Why don’t you then expand it to your citizens? Surely they should be treated at least as equal to citizens elsewhere.
I hope Proposition 37 goes through and I’m throwing all my weight behind it, which is a vote for truth against lies. Washington has actually been held captive by the Monsantos of this country and their lobby groups. The biggest ripple effect of prop 37 passing will be to liberate Washington and we need liberation of Washington to liberate the rest of the world.
I’ve had to deal with my country of India where Washington dictates to the Prime Minister’s office. They now have an agreement called the US Indian Knowledge Agreement in Agriculture. Monsanto sits on the board and the Prime Minister’s office tells the regional governments, sign an agreement with Monsanto, hand over your seeds, genetic resources, research, and let them patent everything India’s done for five thousand years of farming. We had to do a massive “Bija yatra,” or a “seed liberation journey” to get that Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of Rajasthan canceled.
Poor little Nepal, a tiny country bullied by Washington, was told “if you don’t accept GMOs and write an agreement with Monsanto, we won’t give you aid.” Again my colleagues in Nepal had to do a massive mobilization to say no to GMOs and no to Monsanto.