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We spoke with Vandana Shiva, one of the most important references in Ecofeminism. In this dialogue we can find clues to understand our current situation.
Last week several Ministers of our Nation promoted Good Agricultural Practices. The State appears there not only as the guarantor of agribusiness through legislation and infrastructure, but in the very dispute over the meaning of truth. There are no good agricultural practices where poisons are used. They are not phytosanitary, they are agro-toxic and make the population sick.
“What we see in this century, in which pesticides are present, is ecocide and genocide… Capitalism and patriarchy declared that women be passive and that nature dies… in all its violence against nature; against scientists; against peasants and against democracy.
It is only in the last twenty years of globalization and neoliberalism that we can see the concentration of the power of corporations with the power of the state.
And this war that was declared against Argentina through the Round-up, Glyphosate and transgenic soy is the recent battle and I know that you are going to win it, because you are organizing ”
Huerquen: How do you see this world present, from the struggle for Food Sovereignty of the peoples?
Vandana Shiva: I think that the towns are going through the worst times in terms of the abuse of power by the agrochemical companies. They pretend to be seed companies but they don't produce seeds, they don't plant seeds; they only know how to throw out more toxins, put more toxins in the plants. They lie. I am now replying to a response from Bayer-Monsanto, where the line they write is a lie. So they sustain themselves through violence, through lies ... but I also have the deep feeling that, as time goes by, life and truth win. And for this, the movements have to stay strong.
Hqn: In a recent interview you said that "patriarchy will destroy the world if we don't stop it." Could you develop this idea a bit?
VS: In all countries there are divisions between men and women, not always in a hierarchical way, sometimes also horizontally. For example, in India the tribes never had inequality, on the other hand there women could not do certain things; but it was in a context in which they were the most important producers of food. They were in control, they were the guardians of seeds. What exists today is a fusion of patriarchal domination with militarized violence, combined with economic power. In this sense, the convergence of what I call capitalism and patriarchy, colonialism and patriarchy is destroying the planet.
Uniting the enormous violence against women, including femicides and violence against all beings, children, elderly people who are dying. This is the power that comes from death, the power to kill.
We are seeing how this power has been destroying societies, destroying the planet. All scientists constantly produce studies that speak of the extinction of species, climate change, desertification and lack of water. What we see in this century, in which pesticides are present, is ecocide and genocide. So if we don't stop this convergence of capitalism and patriarchy, we are all going to have no future. Since they have the idea that by killing everyone they will be the victors, while everyone else will be the losers. Thus, we will be extinct as a human species in the next century. Therefore, it is better to end patriarchy before he ends life.
Hqn: What is Ecofeminism?
VS: For me, ecofeminism, is basically, first recognizing that there is a confluence of: power, greed, the market, capitalism and violence. So, first is to recognize this and second is to recognize our own power, because capitalism and patriarchy declared that women be passive and that nature dies. Ecofeminism recognizes that nature is not only alive, it is also the basis of all life and that we are part of it. And understanding that we women have great potential; but a different potential, non-violent, not of domination and death, but of caring and sharing. Creativity and compassion in women is possible in all humans, because I don't believe in genetic determinism. You are traveling through India on a Buddhist journey. This is what Buddhism is all about, that everyone have compassion. So this really is the power of ecofeminism.
Hqn: In 2017 we witnessed the failure of COP23 in Bonn (Germany) on Climate Change, and in the United States the Trump presidency withdraws his country from the Paris Agreement (2015): How do you see the world facing this true existential crossroads? And what do you think the peoples can do about this?
VS: Well, it is only in the last twenty years of globalization and neoliberalism that we can see all the concentration of power in centralized systems. The concentration of the power of corporations with the power of the State. This system is now dysfunctional and it is what led to the failure of the COP and the withdrawal of Trump. But it is not the failure of the planet and it is not the end of our power. Now is the time, since from above they have failed, the peoples from below will give rise to a new community.
Hqn: You were part of the People's Court against Monsanto (now in the process of merging with Bayer) in The Hague. What were the conclusions that this initiative left? And what concrete tools does it leave for the peoples who resist throughout the world?
VS: I think that the most important role of the People's Court in The Hague was that it managed to put all the crimes of Monsanto, against Nature and people, in one place. So, the Argentinians are fighting against the fumigations, in India we are fighting against the suicides of the peasants, and the lies of Monsanto. And they are claiming for patents. But we do not have patents like in Argentina, here it is not allowed to patent seeds. We do not allow the patenting of seeds and this is one of the roles that I took, as well as Fernando Cabaleiro through Nature of Rights accompanied that
In the movements we have many divisions, and there are also geographical divisions. So, there are people fighting against pesticides, and others against patents, others fighting for the rights of peasants and others fighting against violations of "dignified science." We get together and seek to expand it worldwide with movements from Argentina, Mexico, Brazil, the United States, Canada, Africa, Europe, India, Bangladesh… all of them.
This collective crime is what is being documented: in all its violence against nature, what is now called ecocidium; against scientists; against peasants and against democracy.
And I think that the most important lesson we can take from the court is that people have the power to judge criminals. Because the highest court is the court of conscience. The highest court is the court of people who know what is going on and who take responsibility to act. This is the highest expression of democracy.
Hqn: What did you feel when you heard the Argentine cry of “Ni Una menos” and the initiative of the International Women's Strike?
VS: I am a witness to how violence against women in India has deepened and is becoming more brutal. Three years ago we had this terrible case of a young woman who was raped and murdered in a collective, and these stories have been repeated every day. But agriculture based on pesticides, which is what we call the "green revolution", which is not green and is not a revolution, has also been killing women. Because the fields with poison, these fumigated fields where it is not necessary to have people to take care of the earth, it is not necessary to have a love for plants; they deepen the socio-economic problems suffered by women in India.
So, I believe that not one less disappearing, not one less woman being raped, is a continuity of when we say not one species less. Therefore, for me there is a connection between the right of women and the right of nature, not in a static way, not an essentialist way, but in a creative way of resistance. A different resistance in which we
we will not be more victims.
Hqn: What message would you like to send to the Argentine people?
VS: For the Argentine people, the message that I would like to leave is that you went through difficult times, and always through your inventiveness, through your creativity, you created networks that allowed the future. And this war that was declared against Argentina through the Round-up, Glyphosate and transgenic soy is the recent battle and I know that you are going to win it, because you are organizing. And I notice that you are organizing and also intertwining with all of us. We are trying to create a future without poison.