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In the extensive discussion of the thread on the Christian Paradox, we revisited the whole 'socialism kills v capitalism is the good of all' myth.I didn't want to sidetrack that thread, but I thought it might help to interject a small piece from page 16 of our most internationally focussed newspaper (and I'll warrant, nowhere else in our media, and probably not in yours, either) as an illustration for Robert Tulip:Farmers Commit Suicide After Poor HarvestAbout 400 farmers in India's most prosperous state, Maharashtra, have commited suicide this year as a result of failed crops, import competition and crippling interest payments, a farm lobby group, Shetkari Sangathana, said yesterday. Farmer suicides have been on the rise due to poor harvests and trade liberalisation. India's coalition government is trying to improve the lot of the rural poor, planning irrigation projects in areas dependent upon erratic monsoon rains, but lobbyists say this is not enough.Reuters, Mumbai _________________________________________________________Il Sotto Seme La Neva
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Two voices, both from India, worth considering in this context are Arundhati Roy and Vandana Shiva.Here's a selection from Arundhati Roy's Power PoliticsQuote:When all the rivers and valleys and forests and hills of the world have been priced, packaged, bar-coded, and stacked in the local supermarket, when all the hay and coal and earth and wood and water have been turned to gold, what then shall we do with all the gold? Make nuclear bombs to obliterate what's left of the ravaged landscapes and the notional nations in our ruined world?... Let's begin at the beginning. What does privatization really mean? Essentially, it is the transfer of productive public assets from the state to private companies. Productive assets include natural resources. Earth, forest, water, air. These are assets that the state holds in trust for the people it represents. In a country like India, seventy percent of the population lives in rural areas. That's seven hundred million people. Their lives depend directly on access to natural resources. To snatch these away and sell them as stock to private companies is a process of barbaric dispossession on a scale that has no parallel in history.And, from Vandana Shiva's Water WarsQuote:Destruction of water resources and of forest catchments and aquifers is a form of terrorism. Denying poor people access to water by privatizing water distribution or polluting wells and rivers is also terrorism. In the ecological context of water wars, terrorists are not just those hiding in the caves of Afghanistan. Some are hiding in corporate boardrooms and behind the free trade rules of the WTO, North American Free Trade Agreement (AFTA), and Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA). They are hiding behind the privatization conditionalities of the IMF and World Bank. By refusing to sign the (Kyoto protocol, President Bush is committing an act of ecological terrorism on numerous communities who may very well be wiped off the earth by global warming. In Seattle, the WTO was dubbed the "World Terrorist Organization" by protestors because its rules are denying millions the right to a sustainable livelihood.Greed and appropriation of other people's share of the planet's precious resources are at the root of conflicts, and the root of terrorism. When President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair announced that the goal of the global war on terrorism is the defense of the American and European "way of life," they are declaring a war against the planet-its oil, its water, its biodiversity. A way of life for the 20 percent of the earth's people ~ who use 80 percent of the planet's resources will dispossess 80 percent of its people of their just share of resources and eventually destroy the planet. We cannot survive as a species if greed is privileged and protected and the economics of the greedy set the rules for how we live and die.The ecology of terror shows us the path to peace. Peace lies in nourishing ecological and economic democracy and nurturing diversity. Democracy is not merely an electoral ritual but the power of people to shape their destiny, determine how their natural resources are owned and utilized, how their thirst is quenched, how their food is produced and distributed, and what health and education systems they have.