(From forthcoming book by the author: RESURGENCE OF THE REAL)
-Dr Vandana Shiva
Humanity stands at an evolutionary cross road.
We can consciously choose the path of Oneness – of our being part of One Planet, One Humanity, living and celebrating our many diversities, interconnected through bonds of compassion, interdependence, and solidarity. Or we can, for a short time, live enslaved by the 1%, afraid to change, clinging to illusions of security, while our real ecological security is undermined, and our real social security, embodied in real relationships, is ruptured and broken through the politics of division, hate and fear.
We will either make peace with the earth, by realising we are part of her, not her masters, owners, conquerors; or the Earth will no longer allow us to exist. We will face extinction as humans, even while we push millions of other species to extinction. We will either make peace with our diversity, or destroy the social fabric that diversity weaves, and with it, destroy the social conditions of our continued existence.
Rushing rapidly on the path to extinction is not an intelligent choice for our species.
When we think of the planet and all of humanity in abstractions, taking the path of Oneness seems impossible. But when we think through the real relationships we have with the earth and each other in the real world, our consciousness expands, and the task of making a radical shift becomes, simultaneously, simple and possible. The Resurgence of the Real has become a precondition for the continued survival and evolution of our species. Living through Illusions is no longer a luxury we can afford.
Illusions of separation, atomisation, fragmentation, makes us feel powerless and isolated.
Seeing interconnectedness makes silos collapse and turn into bridges. Living in and through non separability expands our sense of self. Becoming aware of our relationships enlarges our being, and our potential and power. We become aware that rejuvenating the planet and reclaiming humanity are not two different ends, reached via different paths, because the earth and society are interwoven in one indivisible vibrant colourful fabric of life in autopoetic freedom.
Both the planet, and humanity, face the same threat from the same source – the 1% with one Mechanical Mind is destroying the intelligence of nature and humanity, running One Money Machine based on violence and war, piracy, and enclosure of the commons, creating poverty, dispossession and disposability. The 1% are attempting to recreate one History, to hide the piracy and colonialism, to hide inherited guilt, to continue their piracy of our time, to construct false identities, false claims to innovation, and the false claim to superiority – for their mediocracy and creative deficiency.
The illusion of “innovation” has reached its extreme with the claim of patenting life, which is in fact a claim to creation. Behind every patent on seed, and on a living organism is a loud thumping of chests, as the chant “God Move Over”. This illusion has real effects in the real world. The will to own and conquer nature and society’s common wealth, translates into the will to exterminate. Patents on seeds are pushing species to extinction, pushing farmers to suicide, as the 1% and their pet corporations spread their tentacles across the planet to collect rent and royalties, through the spread of GMOs and poisons. The 1 % are pushing One Industrial Agriculture – which is spreading poison, disease, and contributing to climate instability, transforming our daily bread into our daily poison.
This future is a zero future. It is a future with no Nature or People, no mind, no intelligence, no thought, no seed, no food, no agriculture, no wealth, no diversity, no freedom, no future. For people across diverse cultures, and diverse beings on the planet, it is truly an end of history.
The Dictatorship of the 1% had shaped an economy based on limitless greed, limitless extraction and limitless destruction. Through the construction of the media based Delusion of Democracy, representative democracy has become an instrument of corporate rule, on behalf of the 1%. The out of control money machine in also using cultural technologies of divide and rule – to deepen the politics of fear and hate. These structural relations between economies that kill, democracies that are dying, and cultures of fear and hate, demand that we think and act collectively to seed our future and seed our freedoms through Earth Democracy.
The pattern that is emerging of a world run for profits and power is the pattern this book has attempted to outline
- Big Money makes Bigger Money. 8 men, with Bill Gates leading, control and own as much wealth as 50% of humanity. The money machine is out of control.
- The money machine has destroyed our freedoms, created an illusion of democracy, dividing people while dismantling our hard earned protections for the Earth (Environmental laws) and for people (Human Rights Workers rights). Without these protections and regulations, brutal and extreme inequality and exclusion are inevitable. Disposability of the 99% is built into this system designed by the 1%.
- Destruction of the natural world and its power to sustain life, is the result of both the limitless appetite of the money machine, as well as the environmental deregulation it engineers. An Extreme Anthropocentrism, now centred on the personhood of corporations, is an attempt to not just deny humans their rights, but also dent the Earth her rights. At its core, however, corporate personhood is designed to allow the 1% to hide behind corporations when it comes to their liabilities to the planet.
- For the money machine, everything is a commodity, everything is for sale, everything can be, and must be, owned as property. IPRs are contemporary instruments of monopoly, of rent collection and extortion. Privatisation of all nature’s resources and public goods is necessary for the 1%. Through IPRs and privatisation, Corporations “Tax” people, instead of paying taxes to society. Seed royalties are private corporate taxes levied on farmers, which require the neutralisation of farmers rights to save exchange and breed their own seeds. Pharma royalties on medicines are “taxes” on the unwell. The war on time tested, affordable, indigenous knowledge systems such as Ayurveda, is mandated by the money machine. The digital economy and “war on cash”, allow financial and information technology corporations to impose corporate “taxes” on people’s hard earned and honestly earned money, which has already been taxed by governments.
- The Hyper-industrialisation of agriculture with GMOs and drones, the selling of data on climate and soil, has not only transformed our daily bread into our daily poison, it has also reduced farmers knowledge and collective knowledge of society, to “data “ and sold back as “big data” — the latest commodity for the monopoly X-change of the money machine. Through data mysticism, failed technologies based on the failed mechanical mind are deployed in the form of gene editing, gene drives. Diseases of micronutrient deficiency – created by the industrial monocultures’ blindness to biodiversity, creates the new push for Bio-fortification.
- The poison cartel, controlling our agriculture and food, has created disease epidemics. With the poison cartel also enjoying a monopoly on medicines, as disease epidemics due to poisons in our food grow, so do their profits from patented medicine. Ignoring the ecological roots of disease and ecological approaches to health, the poison cartel profits from monopolies on seed, introduction of toxics in agriculture, and from disease. Sustained death, sustained profit.
- One Ag, One Science, One History, One Economy, is a totalitarian vision. It spells an End of Democracy, End of Freedom. Franklin Roosevelt had cautioned:
- The construction of one history is an exclusion of the diverse histories. The construction of the role of god’s chosen people, is license to kill, to destroy the communities, cultures, even countries. Whether it be “regime change” or reference to the “civilised world”, these are calls for war against those defined conveniently as “barbarians”. The Destruction of our social worlds, the devastation of entire civilisations, is leading to social instability, social conflict, social disintegration. It is spreading fear, hate and violence.
- The Money machine can only operate in partnership with the state , which is now a militarised, corporatised, Surveillance State. The rule of violence is not just threatening our freedoms, it is threatening the very lives of millions.
“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerated the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than the democratic state itself. That in its essence is fascism: ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or any controlling private power.”
The rise of corporate power above all other forms of power through the processes unleashed by corporate globalisation and neo liberalism is what Benito Mussolini called Fascism.
“Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power”
In 1999 , after we, the people, stopped the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Seattle , movements got together and started the World Social Forum in Porto Allegre in Brazil with the vision “Another World is possible”. That is when I first spoke of Earth Democracy – as the alternative to the destructive corporate globalisation.
We can no longer think of ourselves as, atomised, powerless individuals, separate from the Earth, separate from each other. Freedom in, and through, our oneness and interconnectedness, has become a survival imperative. Breaking Free of the the 1 % and the constructs of their Mechanical Mind, The Money Machine, the Delusion of Democracy, is not just possible, it has become necessary. It is an ecological necessity because the world view of separation, combined with an illusion of limitless extraction and exploitation of nature, is pushing us to an ecological precipice.
It is an economic necessity, because a 1 % world must render 99% disposable, extinguishing our diverse creativities, potentials and possibilities. It is a democratic necessity, because the rule of the 1% is a violent dictatorship – it destroys our fundamental freedoms, and the freedoms for all beings to evolve freely in an interrelated world, in an Earth Family. It is a social necessity, because the world of the 1% must destroy our social being, our communities, our commons, through privatisation and the enclosure of all commons, reducing us to consumers, and dividing us on the basis of gender, race, religion. It is a human necessity, because participating in a world of limitless greed, limitless profits limitless violence, limitless power, robs us of our humanity. Greed, and, fear and hate, go hand in hand. Sharing, compassion and love, help each other grow.
The powerful few have divided us, and continue to divide us. Our strength is our Oneness, to which we must awaken. This is where the Resurgence of the Real begins. Real is the earth. Real is our oneness with our Earth. Real are our families, and friends, and communities (not Facebook). Real is the seed that gives rise to seed (not GMO, patented, toxic non renewable seed). Real is the food grown with loving, caring hands, and mindfulness of the beings in the soil (not the fake food industry manufactures, with toxic chemicals and fossil fuels, reaping limitless profits, while our health is destroyed). Since the pharmaceutical industry and the agrochemical industry is the same ball of rubberbands, they then profit from the disease they cause). Real is the intelligence of life. Real is our creativity, the creativity of our bodies and minds, the creativity of our hands, (not the “innovation” of tools based on piracy, and destructive tools to control nature and society for extraction and exploitation).
From the consciousness of Oneness, we become conscious of our power – our Shakti. The same Shakti in the universe, in the planet, in every member of the Earth Community.
From the duty to care, we get the courage to protect and defend.
Over the past four and a half decades of my service to the Earth, my intellectual journey to transcend the mechanical mind, my engagement in creating living economies based on non violence and real creativity, living democracies based on real freedom, and living cultures based on love and compassion, I have always turned to our struggle for freedom from the British Empire and to Gandhi’s teachings, for inspiration to act in times of hopelessness, to open spaces when all spaces are shrinking, to cultivate compassion and solidarity in times of greed, fear and hate, to reclaim our power when we are being told power is the monopoly of the those who derive fake power from money, and money alone.
While the times have changed, the patterns of colonisation stay the same, based on violence, destruction of people’s freedoms and economies, taking what is not yours, collecting unjust rents on what is not yours, creating constructs of divide and rule, and supremacy. And the patterns of liberation and freedom are perennial – truly circular, (unlike the “Zero” of the mechanical mind, which begins and ends with emptiness). These contours of freedom shape the path for the Resurgence of the Real.
Satyagraha is the deepest practice of democracy -the moral duty to not cooperate with unjust and brute law and exploitative and undemocratic processes. This is the first step in breaking free of an enslaving, colonising system. “Satyagraha”-the force of truth- is Gandhi’s word for non cooperation with systems, structures, laws, paradigms, policies that destroy the earth and rob us of our humanity and our freedoms, that crush our potential for compassion and sharing, that atrophy our hearts, our minds, our hands.
Our freedoms are gifts of Civil Disobedience and Satyagraha. In 1848, Henry David Thoreau coined the term ‘civil disobedience’ in his essay on why his commitment to the abolition of slavery led to his refusal to pay poll tax. Higher moral laws compel citizens to disobey lower laws that institutionalise injustice and violence.
“The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right. It is truly enough said that a corporation has no conscience; but a corporation of conscientious men is a corporation with a conscience. Law never made men a whit more just; and, by means of their respect for it, even the well-disposed are daily made the agents of injustice” – Thoreau
“One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“As long as the superstition exists that unjust laws must be obeyed, so long will slavery exist” – Mahatma Gandhi
Swaraj – self organisation, self rule, self governance, autopoesis – is the basis of Real Freedom in Nature and Society, beginning at the smallest level, emerging at highest. Resistance by itself does not create freedom from oppression. We need to also sow the seeds of real freedom in our imagination, in our daily lives, through our everyday actions, and our diverse and multiple relationships.
Swadeshi is self making, based on local resources, indigenous knowledge, and community. It allows the expression of our fullest creativity as human beings and as Earth Citizens. In Swadeshi, we are co-creative with nature’s intelligence, creativity, and regenerative potential, and the creativity and intelligence of our fellow human beings. Co-Creativity with nature combines production with conservation. It is not extractive, polluting, degrading to the planet and to human communities. It is the foundation of sustainability. It is the core of economic democracy. It is the source of Real Wealth, of well being and happiness for all.
Real Freedom and Real Wealth creation call for the practice of Satyagraha, Swaraj, Swadeshi in integrity and integration. Resistance without another imagination rooted in the real, combined with constructive action, will not create another world. Sowing the seeds of freedom is not imaginary, it is a real act, an act in which we become one with the Earth, one as community, and one in our hands, hearts and heads.
The violent dictatorships, of today and yore, divide. They divide us from the Earth, and our capacity to create with the Earth, so we are compelled to buy what we need as junk commodities -our food and clothing, our knowledge and information, our friendships and “happiness”.They divide us from each other. They divide us from ourselves, crippling our capacities to think free, be free, live free, our capacity to create and produce. Oneness is our being, our source of power. Our power to resist nonviolently. Our power to co-create, nonviolently.