Vandana Shiva: Fotofundsache

…was sich im Netz so alles findet: Zum Beispiel diese Nachlese von Renate Feyerbacher zur 9. Vertragsstaatenkonferenz zur Konvention über Biologische Vielfalt (CBD) Ende Mai in Bonn.

Wie hier bereits berichtet, hat Vandana Shiva dort auf einer Veranstaltung der Freiburger Kantstiftung und der hbs eine flammendes Plädoyer für die Commons gehalten.

Habe selbst gar kein Foto von der Veranstaltung, war als Moderatorin viel zu beschäftigt, und mache zudem meine Bilder noch immer analog. Sic! Jetzt freue ich mich über diesen Händedruck.

Es folgt ein Transkript der Rede (engl.):

Vandana Shiva, Alternative Nobelpreisträgerin, Indien
Appell zum Bonner Manifest der Freiburger Kanstiftung: „Schützt die Gemeinschaftsgüter“
Mai 2008

Part I:
Because I see the commons as vital to human survival i made a break in another important meeting I am attending to join you. …
For me, really the issue of the commons is a whole new level within the privatization and patenting of life itself.

Historically India has had environmental struggles, and continues to have environmental struggles which are around the defense of the commons. In the 1970 the very famous Chipko movement, which I was a part, was about defending the forest as commons from commercialized logging.
All our water movements are about defense of water as a commons. In fact right know the rest of my team is defending the Ganges, our cultural commons, from privatization through dams and privatization of water supply.

Patents on life are the ultimate enclosure of the commons. Because they are enclosing the past, all the centuries of knowledge embodied in biodiversity. They are enclosing the present by denying alternatives to people. The 200.000 farmers suicides in India are a result of the enclosure of the commons in the present. And they are enclosing the future, because evolutionary pathways necessary for adaption are being blocked.
One example for it is, the diversity we need to adapt to climate change. If this is in the hands of a handfull of corporations, if they have already pushed -in the current situation- so many farmers to suicide, how much worse will the situation be, when climate catastrophy increases more?

And the way to deal with this enclosure of the commons has really been the mission of my life for the last 20 years, triggered very much by the work that Pat (Mooney) had done on the Laws of Life Conference, way back in 1987. That’s where the corporations laid out their plan of wanting only private rights, Intellectual Property Rights. And later, as I worked on this issue, I realized the entire GATT Agreement of the Uruguay Round that led to the WTO and its Trade Related Intellectual Property Right Agreement (TRIPS), was nothing but an enclosure of the intellectual commons, of the amazing knowledge on biodiversity that societies like ours have had, als well as the living options for today. It has also led to a another form of enclosure which we have given the name biopiracy, taking collective, cumulative innovation, and treating that as private invention, using that then to create private rights.

Our reclaiming of the commons in the area of biodiversity and knowledge has been creating community seed banks, distributing seeds on a very large scale and also continuing to treat knowledge as something that has to be shared and is a commons. Knowledge is a commons and cannot be privatized.
Of course when laws make it illegal to share knowledge and seeds, then the tool we have used is the tool thought to us by Gandhi, who told us that whenever unjust laws are used to create slavery, the
only way to freedom is to stop cooperating with immoral and unjust laws. Hi did this with forced cultivation of indigo, he did this with even the banning of salt making be ordinary people, and the Salt Satyagraha was the trigger to India becoming free. We do the Salt Satyagraha and we did the Seed Satyagraha to blog a law that would have been made seed supply totally exclusively, depending on privatized seed supply in the hands of corporations. This was the seed law of 2004.

Of course climate change, interestingly is creating a new enclosures. On the one hand, arguments of climate change is being used be the privateers of life, to now say only they can deliver seeds that would be appropriate to climate change, when the seeds for drought resistance, flood resistance, salt resistance are there in farmers breeding and in the collective heritage of people.
All they are doing is appropriating the treads (?) either from nature species or farmers varieties, it’s again another form of biopiracy.

The dominant climate change solution, the Kyotos Protocol Outcome as Carbons Trading and Emissions Trading, is nothing but an enclosure of the commons. I want to read out to you the Statement by (Nicolas) Stern, the very famous report that shook up the world in terms of how serious this was. But even the Stern Review, all it says is, that Carbon Trading, Emissions Trading is the only way. And he says, „Emissions Trading is the allocation of a full set of property rights to the atmosphere.“ This is a privatization of our atmospheric commons. Price Water House, a accounting firm, has said „Emissions Trading is based on property rights as strong as patents, copyrights and other intellectual property rights.“

So here we are, seeing the air we breathe, the air we share with plants and other life on earth, now being allocated to those who have polluted the atmosphere. And in fact, the environmental principle of „the polluter should pay“ has been put on its head and made a principle of „the polluters gets paid“, now with property rights to the atmosphere. And if we look at the money to be made by these false allocations of property rights, it’s a trillion dollars economy being created, in effect to continue polluting.

But there are two other enclosures, that are taking place along with the enclosure of the air and the atmosphere as a commons in context of climate change. I am talking about industrial biofuels, converting plant life into liquid ethanol and liquid diesel. This is leading on a very large scale to an enclosure of the land. The first enclosure of the commons was the british enclosures of the land
We thought it would never ever come back, but it’s coming back in full force. In India the planting of Jathropa is all taking place through new laws of the enclosures of the commons.
We are just studying this issue, called food versus fuel, and whether it is Rajasthan or another state,
the common lands, that communities need to supply them food and fodder and medicine are being transformed into industrial plantations of Jathropa, a toxic plant, that cattle don’t eat and nobody as any other use of it, except the oil and its berries.

The third enclosure, that is taking place is the issue, that Pat Mooney just raised.
As more and more food is diverted to fuel, or biomass is diverted to fuel, and the hunger of cars is put about the hunger of the people, we see the enclosure of the foodchain.
The foodchain is after all the ultimate commons. In India we say: „Everything is food, everything is something else’s food.“ That is a very sophisticated definition of the web of life. The web of life is a commons, which is a food web. And as more and more of this is taking out of circulation to maintain life and put into maintaining the fossil fuel economy, at a time when we should be burring this error of taking fossilised carbon and designing our lives around it’s use.

The commons of the food chain and the food web is being enclosed to turn the food chain into the ultimate commodity. And this means, long before Climate Change will inhalate us, depriving billion of their right to food and biodiversity will start killing even more people than are already dying today. One million indien children have starting to die of hunger, as Indias miracle economy locks every resource into generating profits. Denying and depriving the poor, the marginalized, the voiceless, the future – of their very right to food.

So unless we recover the commons, we are not going to be able to guarantee the human species, especially future generations, their right to life.
For me, the commons is nothing more than the shared basis, that keeps us sustained and keeps us living.

Thank you.

Part II:

To the politicians the message is:
Stop enclosing the commons! Politicians in democracies where put in place to represent the will and the rights of the people. And the rights of the people are rights that are dependant on the commons, whether the commons is biodiversity or water or air or food.

For the corporations, the message is:
You have, at this point a disease, called limitless growth. Only one other entity follows that logic, and that is the cancer cell. Only the cancer cell does not know, when to stop growing!
And this cancerous entity of privatizing every commons for profits, that the corporations are now depending on, the profits are coming now only from enclosing the commons. The corporations have to be make to recognize, they have become a cancer on this planet and a cancer on social life.

For ordinary people the message is:

We have to recognize, that reclaiming the commons is not an historic event, that we have to learn in history books. It’s the present form of the practice of earth democracy. Practicing democracy, remembering that first and foremost we are citizens of this earth and we live to the extend we defend the commons, that the earth provides us.

Transkript: Silke Helfrich

Foto: Renate Feyerbacher

6 Gedanken zu „Vandana Shiva: Fotofundsache

  1. ups, gut, dass es bugfixer gibt :-), ich kann in meinem nächsten Leben ja die Sonderbotschafterin für die Commons werden, damit meine staatstragenden Talente öfter zur Geltung kommen (lol)
    Rede folgt.

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