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E-M:/ Vandana Shiva, MSU & Peter McPherson



EMers,

Instead of Bill Moyer's NOW, my local PBS station, WKAR, ran a telethon with a dallying irish tenor named Connelly (not the Irish Revolutionary, James, the hero of Irish Independence in 1916). So we did not see the interview with internationally recognized ecologist Dr. Vandana Shiva.

Lucky for us, Moyers provides the interview transcript here:
http://www.pbs.org/now/transcript/transcript_shiva.html

For those of you wanting to learn more of her, here's another good interview:
http://www.inmotionmagazine.com/shiva.html

Please note the extent to which Dr. Shiva speaks directly to us here in Michigan in criticizing agribusiness, patents-on-nature, intellectual property, privatization and corporations (who benefit the most from World Trade Organization rules). Reading Vandana, in the shadow of Michigan State University, I shudder at the great silence about me. MSU is one the principal cultural exponents and exporters of agribusiness, GMO (genetically modified organisms) and privatization, indeed its President, Peter McPherson, former chief of USAID, is about to return to MSU after helping to implement these policies on a captive nation, Iraq.

One of the few voices to criticize President McPherson was Lewis Siegelbaum, Department of History chairperson in the MSU State News. See:
http://www.statenews.com/op_article.phtml?pk=18140

We environmentalists are in a strategic position to help citizens begin the debate about the intersections of global and local corporate practices, especially on how they relate to the environment and its people. We can help to organize the Teach-ins on college campuses (where too many professors are blinded by their specialties, or too timid to challenge power). We can make the political more educational in every sphere of existence.

At the outskirts of empire Peter McPherson and the Bush administration are now considering whether or not to pledge some of Iraq's future oil and gas revenue as collateral to secure long-term reconstruction loans before a new - more democratic - Iraqi government is constituted to vote on the proposal. Congressman Henry Waxman is strongly against it. "Unless a reconstituted Iraqi government or the U.N. Security Council authorizes the plan, it appears to violate international law," said Waxman, as reported in the July 11 Los Angeles Times. Over at USAID, Andrew Natsios wants NGOs in Iraq to make it clear that they are "an arm of the U.S. government," or risk losing their contracts, according to Interaction, a network of 160 NGOs. That's an affront to those non-governmental organizations that purport to be independent and neutral.

Back in the belly of MSU, domination holds the upper hand as well, with a secretive university president (his 1993 appointment was the subject of a successful lawsuit by the Detroit News); covert operations (he permitted the secret infiltration of Students for Economic Justice in 2001); intimidation of local citizens fighting GM (he signed the Lansing State Journal petition intimidating Lansing citizens into not making an appeal as was their right under the Clean Air Act); an outraged graduate student union; a mushrooming administration; severe budget cuts; social amnesia; hyper-specialization of knowledge to the neglect of stepping back to look at the big picture, and much more.

Think globally, act locally. Isn't that what they say?

Brian McKenna