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Vandana Shiva. Photo by Ikaika Hussey

“Freedom is our future”

The verbatim text of Dr. Vandana Shiva's speech at Wednesday's rally at the State Capitol.

Hawaii Independent Staff

I thank you all for giving me the opportunity to join your new aloha aina.

It’s not about the past, it’s not about history, you are making freedom.

And your freedom – and our freedom – is one freedom.

That is why I’ve traveled so far.

From my home in the mountains in the Himalaya, to your beautiful islands in the middle of the Pacific ocean.

In the structure of hierarchy, the center is the destroyer, the center is the colonizer, the center is the empire.

In the world of freedom, everyone is a center. The earthworm doesn’t say, I am the periphery of the fertilizer that is going to kill me. The earthworm does his free work to create fertile soils. We are, each of us, the center of a new world, which is our old worlds, the ancient world, the world of billions of years of evolution, which Monsanto would like to strangle and destroy for its blindness, greed, stupidity.

This is a slavery system in new garb, worse than any slavery that’s ever been known because it is enslaving the future, it is enslaving nature.

Because what could be more stupid than putting toxic genes into our food, and thinking it is progress?

What could be more obscene than saying, “After I put these toxic genes, I am the creator of life on earth, and now I will collect rents from nature, farmers,” making else all poorer.

This is a slavery system in new garb, worse than any slavery that’s ever been known because it is enslaving the future, it is enslaving nature.

When the British left, we could continue life because at best they had a few colonial chains.

But with Monsanto’s GMOs there is no reversal, which is why I’m so happy to be here with you because I see Hawaii not as a place where I come and people say Monsanto is the largest employer, but people say, “This land, its biodiversity, our cultural heritage, is our biggest employer.”

And little children learning again how to make their own food was considered something that should be closed. We should live on junk food, GMOs, not knowing where our food comes from.

In the making of your own food is the making of freedom.

Just as Gandhi taught us, in the spinning wheel, we spin freedom. In the taro processing and the work – you know, the human hand, the human mind, has been made to look primitive. And the primitive mind of violence and war has been made to look our future. We do not accept it.

Our hands, our hearts, our minds will work in one unison, across the world to liberate all life on earth, to create freedom for every seed, every child, every woman, every culture.

Our legislatures will have to take instruction from the earth, from the children, from the future.

What Monsanto is bringing, you know GMO, you could say genetically modified organisms, but it is a whole set of relationships. It’s about owning life. It’s about committing genocide. 270,000 Indian farmers have committed suicide since Monsanto took over our common seed supply, in 15 years. They come, they tell you what you do is primitive, give up your seeds. Then they will give you GMO seeds as the only option. They hijack our governments to say the only law that will be written will be a Monsanto law. We’ve got to reclaim our democracies. That is why it’s so significant that you are here.

The only thing Monsanto can bring us is a suicide economy, for the farmers who’ve committed suicide, for our children whose future is being robbed, for the planet, where we commit a planetary collective suicide in terms of wiping out our future. We will create Earth’s democracy. We will create democracy.

Our legislatures will have to take instruction from the earth, from the children, from the future.

And in Earth democracy, everything is connected. I did my PhD in an extremely esoteric subject, hidden variables and non-locality in Quantum theory. But in the ground of it it’s about recognizing the fact that in a non-mechanical universe, which is the only universe in which life is created, maintained, and replenished, everything is interconnected and nothing can be separated. The future of Hawaii and the future of India is one future of liberation of the Earth and all her species.

And if anyone tells you, oh you live on an island far away in the middle of the Pacific ocean, tell yourself and tell them we are the center of the creation of a new freedom for all species, all cultures, all people.

In India, Gandhi gave us the word swaraj, the ability to govern yourself. When you govern yourself you govern from within. You know your taro is the most beautiful plant and the most beautiful food. You don’t get instruction from the outside, forget it. In the movement I started in India our favorite foods are what we call forgotten foods, because five corporations want to control our seed and food.

Well they can manage four or five crops. Humanity has dealt with 8,500 species, and each of them in diversity.


The seed banks have created 3,000 varieties of rice, rices that can tolerate flooding, and salt tolerance in the silos. We were told that diversity should disappear. What our message to Monsanto and governments is diversity will not disappear, it is the future. Diversity in itself is organized freedom. Diversity weaving the web of life. The web of life is the politics of Earth democracy. Where every species matters, every child matters. We don’t live in throwaway societies where it is assumed that two thirds of society can be thrown away into garbage heaps. That’s exactly what’s happening right now in Europe. Go to Greece - half of the people are unemployed. In Spain, In Italy. And I was recently in Italy when the president of the province of Rome said I’ve got to show you things that have been inspired by your work, Dr. Shiva. As the economy collapsed, gardens came up. Young unemployed youth became seed savers and organic gardeners.

Gardening is our future, not GMOs.

Freedom is our future, not seed slavery.

You are the future.

Click here for a full video of the speech.