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Saturday, April 30, 2011

“Non separation,” interconnection overcomes despot

Transcribed, re-reported, edited by Carolyn Bennett

Physicist, environmental activist Dr. Vandana Shiva talked this week with GRITtv host Laura Flanders about criminal destruction of the corporate state, what underlies it, and how to overcome it. She ended the interview with these requisite principles.

Governance where you have control of your own life
Ability to create, to make, to produce
Courage to say, no, to unjust law

She said the real laws we need to obey “are the laws of nature for ecological sustainability; and the laws of human community for democracy, equality, dignity across races, across gender ….”

In the course of her conversation with Laura Flanders, Dr. Shiva laid out the marriage of a despot, corporation and state, its oppressive globalization, and the worldview that underlies and perpetuates it.  

“We really need to recognize that the corporation is a fiction that has been created and assigned a human personality,” which now “dispossess people of their democratic rights and [tries] to dispossess nature of her rights.”

Corporations abandoned Americans long ago and Americans must see this and set about building “their own economies [and rebuilding] democracy as a living democracy in this country.”

The world at mercy of corporations must make a choice.

Look in any direction of life and you will see “corporations trying to appropriate people’s economies” — [farming and farmland, seeds and food, water and water supply, taking from people and their land and selling it back at prohibitive prices]. “We have a food dictatorship. We have a seed dictatorship. We have a water dictatorship. We are being offered a dictatorship over life—and not for life impermanence, but life for a short time. …”

Corporations also set about “to destroy democracy because no democracy would say, ‘take away our seeds,’ ‘give us more nuclear,’ ‘give us more toxics.’ Every democracy would vote for sanity” so the corporations must destroy democracy.”

Unless people protect the richness of nature’s diversity bequeathed by our ancestors and defend our freedom, we will continue under the dictatorship. “We are,” Dr. Shiva said, “at a watershed in human evolution” wherein “we will either defend the rights of people and their life,” and in doing so “dismantle rights corporations have assigned to themselves — or corporations will, in the next two or three decades, destroy this planet in terms of human possibility.”

Oppressive globalization, what underlies it

“In the last two decades of globalization,” Dr. Shiva, said, “I have seen more destruction than in all of my life. Globalization as we see it today is a corporate globalization.” Corporations “belong to no man, no country. They have no loyalty to anyone except their business side, their profits; and the profits today are scales of profits [unimaginable].” They are “criminal profits — profits being extracted at the cost of life.…”

The contemporary framework is of, by and for the corporation, the corporate state (a marriage of corporation and state), rooted in a “mechanical,” separatist, Apartheid worldview.

“You have a mechanical worldview,” she says, “which is precisely the kind of worldview that is causing the problem, an idea of separation: an idea of separation between people, an idea of separation between humans and nature. That idea of separation had a name in South Africa: it is called Apartheid, which means separate.

What overcomes it?

“We need to overcome the Apartheid we have established (1) against nature and (2) against ordinary people who are being told ‘your life doesn’t count.’ If you can’t make a living, if you are a farmer fighting for you life, we will shoot you dead.…”

Power vested in the state joined with private corporations must bear a requisite amount of societal responsibility. The corporate state, government married to big money and serving big money, a central feature in corporate globalization, must shoulder responsibility.

We need a new ethos, a worldview that sees what Shiva terms “non locality”— “everything is related, nothing separate.” Corporations no longer separate from society but are part of society, not in the abstract sense of the corporation, but in terms of the individuals — responsible and liable, as individuals are responsible and liable. We must “reinvent businesses into the human community and the human community into the earth community. This is the non separation we have to see — connection, interconnection, relationship — the quantum leap humanity must make.”     

Sources and notes

“Vandana Shiva: Understanding the Corporate Takeover— Dr. Shiva has been fighting corporate takeover in every area in her native India, combating a nuclear plant one week and patented, genetically modified seeds another. She [joined] Laura Flanders in studio to advise American activists how they can fight the merging of corporations and government here at home and around the world,” April 30, 2011, http://grittv.org/2011/04/30/vandana-shiva-understanding-the-corporate-takeover/

Dr. Vandana Shiva is author of

Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development (2010)
Soil Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis (2008)
Manifestos on the Future of Food and Seed (with Carlo Petrini and Jamey Lionette, 2007)
Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace (2005)
Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit (2002)
Stolen Harvest (2001)


A daily 30-minute current affairs program incorporating viewer-submitted content, grassroots activism, and a positive, progressive message that aims to go beyond the one-way format of traditional media, GRITtv talks with people commercial media ignore. “Independent filmmakers and journalists, activists, and the smartest thinkers and doers of our time are part of the conversation.” Launched on May 12, 2008, GRITtv reaches millions of viewers weekly on Free Speech TV on Dish network (9415) and DirecTV (348)  on cable and public television stations nationwide, and anytime, anywhere online, http://grittv.org/about

Laura Flanders

Founder and host of GRITtv, Laura Flanders is a long-time journalist, author and media activist.  She was also founding director of the Women’s Desk at the media watch group Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR); for more than 10 years, she produced and hosted CounterSpin, FAIR’s nationally syndicated radio program. Before GRITtv, she had launched and hosted ‘Your Call’ on public radio KALW in San Francisco and RadioNation on Air America Radio.

Laura Flanders is author of Bushwomen: Tales of a Cynical Species and Blue Grit: Making Impossible, Improbable, and Inspirational Political Change in America. She is editor of At the Tea Party: The Wingnuts, Whackjobs and Whitey-whiteness of the New Republican Right … and Why we Should Take it Seriously. Twitter is @GRITlaura


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