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Date:

March 24, 2000

Subject:

An India Farmer Rebutts Vandana Shiva

 





<br /> An India Farmer Rebutts Vandana Shiva<br />


Recently Vandana Shiva (critic of biotech
in India) called for a solidarity against globalization (see below)
in time of President Clinton's visit.  Here is a  response
from a farmers' leader in India to that.



- Prakash

------



From: Sharad Joshi
<sharadj@pn2.vsnl.net.in

Subject: Re: Vandana Shiva's call for
Solidarity!



Dear Prakash, Here are my coments. - Sharad Joshi



The citizens' declaration for a new solidarity has been drafted by
self-appointed spokesmen with fixed mind-sets who ignore facts of the
situation. For the drafters 'corporate', 'WTO', 'IMF' and 'World
Bank' are abuse words. Exactly like the communist who in an earlier
era hurled epithets like "Running dogs of American
Imperialism" the drafters make abundant use of hackneyed
epithets for all those who do not agree with them.



Globalisation has not been promoted by any
particular government; it has been the dream and the aspiration of
the governments and the peoples of the world since the Nazis under
Hitler and Dr. Schacht followed the "beggar thy neighbour"
policies in the 1930s. At the end of the IInd World War, GATT was
founded as an essential element to ensure peace. WTO is only a fruit
of the prolonged negotiations carried out tenaciously and assiduously
by different governments.



In India, the main-stream farmers'
movement led by the Kisan Co-ordination Committee (KCC) has been
persistently demanding liberalisation and globalisation. In India,
after independence, the urban western-educated industry-based segment
has been expropriating agricultural surplus under the flag of
socialism. "India" has been systematically plundering
"Bharat". This is evident from the abundant data available
on the subject. It is well known that the Indian agriculture had a
negative(-) AMS as hefty as 87% in 1996-97.



The farmers have been demanding the
freedom of access to market and to technology as the only possible
way of overcoming Indian neo-colonialism. The farmers neither dislike
national government nor love corporations. They are convinced that
they can deal with any situation where the adversaries are, at least,
in oligopolistic if not perfect competition. Corporates for them are
a softer option than a monopolistic national government which is not
bothered even about the economic advantages/disadvantages of their
policies.



The government of "India" has
been following a policy of not allowing the Indian farmers an access
to frontier technology except through bureaucratic channels and
through the pipeline of governmental institutions. Farmers in India
demand full freedom of access to technology and would like to have
the freedom to make their own trials and assessments about the
relative merits and demerits of any technology. Farmers, unlike the
drafters of the statement, are not schizophrenic about new
technology. It has been the experience the world-over that it is
technology which has brought some improvement in the life-styles of
the masses.



In India, for example, food
self-sufficiency and higher life-expectancy has been achieved in the
post-independence era, thanks to technology in spite of rather than
because of, governmental planning. Every technology creates its own
environmental problems; these problems are resolved by a further
advancement to higher technology and never by retreating into
primitive past. The drafters of the statement are former leftists who
would acclaim all technological advance and internationalisation only
if it happened under the red flag. Now that socialism has had a world
historic defeat, the socialists in hiding are using all kinds of
arguments with a view to yet fulfilling Khrouchtchev threat of
drowning the capitalism. They suffer from a belly-ache that the free
world is prospering and triumphing.



Bio-diversity is an important thing.
Humanity can not afford to lose any source of genes which may become
one day an important source for introduction of a given trait. It is
equally true that the Mother-nature has been eliminating species
every day and creating new ones all the time. It is not the job of
the farmers to preserve germplasms. That job must be left to
specialists. Farmers will grow crops for which there is a demand in
the market. If consumers demand plump red tomatoes, farmers will not
grow indigenous varieties merely to please
environmentalists.



Farmers have not only been preserving
plant varieties but also developing new ones by processes of
selection, hybridisation and grafting. They would like to have
efficient systems of patenting to safeguard their own innovations.
They would also respect similar concerns on the part of others who
innovate. The farmers' organisations under the KCC request the Prime
Minister of India, as also the President of United States to treat
the statement drafted by Shiva and company with the contempt it
deserves and continue on their path to a "world without
frontiers" with the full assurance that the Indian
farm-community stands behind them.

=========================

Urgent Solidarity Request from Vandana
Shiva



Dear Friends, This message , requesting a
show of solidarity with Vandana Shiva should be replied to at this
address: <divwomen@del6.vsnl.net.in> Thank you for your
patience. --Beth Burrows

color="#000000">******************************************** >

(Excerpts,.........)



Human lives are being rendered dispensable
in the ruthless pursuit of limitless market share, profits, and
economic growth. The U.S. government in particular has promoted the
globalisation of corporate rule and used its foreign policy and trade
laws to colonise the markets of Third World countries for
transnational corporations, especially in agriculture,
pharmaceuticals, power, information, and communication. There is a
growing sense among citizens of diverse countries and cultures that
globalisation is corporatisation and that the U.S. Government is
using free trade treaties to establish a new global empire in which
not only land and markets are colonised by global corporations, but
knowledge as well. It is an economy that delinks financial gain from
productive contribution.



---



As the World Trade Organization (WTO) is a
non-democratic and basically illegitmate organization created outside
the framework of the United Nations, we do not accept WTO rules or
decisions as an appropriate framework for cooperation between our
countries. Economy and Commerce We believe that the interests of all
people are best served when each nation is able to meet its own basic
needs through its own industry and resources without excessive
dependence on the economic resources of others. We further believe
that each community and nation has the right to determine what it
will trade with whom and under what conditions. Similarly, each
community and nation has the right to decide on what terms, if any,
it will invite others to invest in its economy. Such decisions must
be made freely and democratically with full and open public debate by
the people concerned. We consider trade to be a means, not an end, to
be welcomed only when it improves the living standards of all
concerned and contributes to ecological sustainability. Science and
Technology We believe that beneficial indigenous and scientific
knowledge and technology are the common heritage of all humanity and
should be freely and equitably shared accordingly based on mutual
respect, reciprocal exchange and recognition of diverse knowledge
systems. While it is appropriate to provide incentives for true
innovation, the rights to intellectual property must be limited to
those necessary to spur innovation and must be subordinated to the
larger needs of society.

---------

In respect to the sanctity of life
patenting of life forms, including genetic sequences, should be
prohibited. We recognize potential benefits in molecular biology, but
also recognize the need for extreme caution and strict safeguards at
both national and international levels and call for a halt to any
release of GMOs into food supplies or the environment until reliable
public safeguards are in place and any GMO products are clearly
labeled to allow informed consumer choice. Further, an international
mechanism must be established under the United Nations to review and
prohibit all research and production of technologies that present a
universal threat to the life of the planet, such as the terminator
gene. Energy and Environment Climatic changes resulting from a fossil
fuel intensive economy based on cheap oil is creating increasingly
severe environmental disasters around the world. Given the status of
the United States as the leading economic and scientific power among
Northern countries and India as a leading economic and scientific
power among Southern countries we call for an open and equitable
partnership between our two countries in leading the way toward
converting our economies to a primary reliance on solar energy
sources and the use of environmentally friendly renewable materials
and technologies. This partnership should give due consideration to
the important contributions of indigenous knowledge and technology to
achieving sustainability. Because of the growing environmental
interdependence of all nations, there is an essential need for
international cooperation under the United Nations in setting and
enforcing environmental standards. International agreements dealing
with trade must necessarily be considered subordinate to
international agreements on environmental standards.



*************************







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