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Cremate Monsanto!! (Call to non-violent direct action)



If you have already seen this, pass it around anyway. I've taken the
liberty of re-justifying the text, and correcting a few typos.

If you want to be informed of what is going on around the world on this
matter, please send a message to listproc@gn.apc.org with the message
<subscribe pga-ge> on the text body. This way you will be informed about
what is going on in India and in other countries. (The list will be active
a few hours this message gets around). Please DON'T try e-mailing
<swamy.krrs@aworld.net> ; they're busy organizing a virtual funeral.


Cheers MP
=============

=============================
Date: Thu, 26 Nov 1998 17:48:27 +0530
From: "PROF. NANJUNDA SWAMY" <swamy.krrs@aworld.net>
Subject: Cremate Monsanto!!




Dear friends,

Monsanto's field trials in Karnataka will be reduced to ashes, starting on
Saturday. Two days ago the Minister of Agriculture of Karnataka gave a
press conference where he was forced by the journalists to disclose the
three sites where field trials with Bt cotton are being conducted (for
background information about the trials, see appendix 2 at the bottom). 
KRRS activists have already contacted the owners of these fields, to
explain them which action will be taken, and for what reasons, and to let
them know that the KRRS will cover any loses they will suffer. On Saturday
the 28th of November, at midday, thousands of farmers will occupy and burn
down the three fields in front of the cameras, in an open, announced
action of civil disobedience. 

These actions will start a campaign of direct action by farmers against
biotechnology, called Operation 'Cremation Monsanto', which will not stop
until all the corporate killers like Monsanto, Novartis, Pioneer etc leave
the country. Farmers' leaders from the states of Maharastra, Gujarat and
Madhya Pradesh (states where Monsanto is also conducting field trials) 
were yesterday in Bangalore to prepare the campaign. 

The campaign will run under the following slogans: 

STOP GENETIC ENGINEERING 

NO PATENTS ON LIFE 

CREMATE MONSANTO 

BURY THE WTO

along with a more specific message for all those who have invested on
Monsanto:

YOU SHOULD RATHER TAKE YOUR MONEY OUT BEFORE WE REDUCE IT TO ASHES.

We know that stopping biotechnology in India will not be of much help to
us if it continues in other countries, since the threats that it poses do
not stop at the borders. We also think that the kind of actions that will
be going on in India have the potential not only to kick those corporate
killers out of our country: if we play our cards right at global level and
coordinate our work, these actions can also pose a major challenge to the
survival of these corporations in the stock markets. Who wants to invest
in a mountain of ashes, in offices that are constantly being squatted (and
if necessary even destroyed) by activists? 

For these reasons, we are making an international call for direct action
against Monsanto and the rest of the biotech gang. This call for action
will hopefully inspire all the people who are already doing a brilliant
work against biotech, and many others who so far have not been very active
on the issue, to join hands in a quick, effective worldwide effort. 

This is a very good moment to target Monsanto, since it has run out of
cash in its megalomaniac attempt to monopolise the life industry in record
time. It is going now through a hard time of layoffs and restructuration
in a desperate effort to survive, since it cannot pay its bills. It is
also a good time because several recent scandals (like the pulping of the
Monsanto edition of The Ecologist, the whole "Terminator Technology" 
affaire, the illegal introduction of Bt Cotton in Zimbabwe, etc) have
contributed to its profile as corporate killer, which, being the creators
of Vietnam War's Agent Orange and rBHG, was already good enough, anyhow.

We are hence making a call to: 

 * Take direct actions against biotech TNCs, particularly Monsanto (be it
squatting or burning their fields, squatting or destroying their offices,
etc) 
 * Maintain the local or/and national press informed about all the actions
going on around the world
 * Take direct actions at stock exchanges targeting Monsanto, to draw
attention on its state of bankruptcy

We are making this call for action on the line of Peoples' Global Action
(PGA), a worldwide network of peoples' movements, in order to emphasize
the political analysis beyond our opposition to biotechnology. This
analysis does not only take environmental concerns into account, and is
not limited to the defense of food security - it attacks neoliberal
globalisation as a whole, the WTO regime as its most important tool, and
the global power structures (G8, NATO, etc) as the root of all these
problems. You will find the complete political analysis on the manifesto
of the PGA, which you will find in the web page
<http://www.agp.org/>www.agp.org

The fact that this call for action takes place on line with PGA also has
other implications: 

 * We are calling ONLY for non-violent direct actions. Non-violence in
this context means that we should respect all (non-genetically modified) 
living beings, including policemen and the people who work for these TNCs
 * The campaign will take place in a decentralised manner, and nobody
should speak on behalf of other people involved in the campaign without
their consent (also not on behalf of PGA, of course); however, people are
welcome to report about the actions of others without pretending to
represent them. 

If you want to be informed of what is going on around the world on this
matter, please send a message to listproc@gn.apc.org with the message
<subscribe pga-ge> on the text body. This way you will be informed about
what is going on in India and in other countries. (The list will be active
a few hours after we send this message).

Please, try not write back to this address, since we will be madly busy in
the next days with the mobilisations. However, if you have good contacts
with international media (CNN, BBC, TV5, etc) and want to help us to get
them here to cover the bonfire at Monsanto's field please let us know as
soon as possible.

Friendly greetings,

Prof. Nanjundaswamy
President, Karnataka State Farmers Association

********************

Appendix 1: "Police Protection to all American Companies in Bangalore
City", article appeared in "Samykta Karnataka", November 25th

Police Protection to all American Companies in Bangalore City

Bangalore Nov. 25th

It has come to light that the American Ambassador in Dehli has written to
the Government of the State of Karnataka asking to provide a strong police
protection to all American companies in the city.

Pointing out the previous repeated attacks on American companies by
'miscreants', the Ambassador has requested the State Government to create
an atmosphere without fear and anxiety for them to work. 

He has stressed the need for a special security for companies related to
science and technology and also the their hundreds of foreign companies in
the city. 

Tight Security for Monsanto

Anticipating attack on the offices of Monsanto in Bangalore, tight
security has been provided from today, top police sources confirmed. 

Police have said in their note that they are providing security for the
company owning the Terminator Technology and having the right to sell
seeds which do not germinate for the second time. In a city where most of
the TNCs are based, the present developments have made them to work with
fear and anxiety. 

(Translated from Kannada) 

*********************

Appendix 2: Monsanto under siege in India, message sent on 23rd November
1998

   **please distribute as widely as possible**

Dear friends,

On Monday the 16th the public was informed by Indian newspapers that
Monsanto (well known in India for the Terminator Technology) has been
conducting 40 field trials with genetically manipulated cotton across five
Indian states for the last three months. Monsanto is testing a hybrid
cotton seed that has been genetically engineered to produce the Bacillus
thuringiensis (Bt) enzyme. The permission granted by the federal
government in Delhi pertains the states of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andrah
Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh. Now that peoples'
movements are starting to mobilise on this matter, the same central
government that granted the permission is inviting Monsanto to leave the
country. 

Monsanto has formed a joint venture with Mahyco (a 30 years old seed
company) to carry out these field trials. According to the media, Monsanto
now owns 26 percent of Mahyco. 

In the rest of the message I include some excerpts of the newspaper
coverage of this affaire. We will keep you informed of the developments in
this part of the world, which will most probably include a number of
nonviolent direct actions to burn down the genetically modified crops and
kick Monsanto physically out of the country. We encourage you to do
similar actions all over the world maybe we can make Monsanto's
shareholders feel our pressure reflected on the value of their stocks. 

Friendly greetings,

Prof. Nanjundaswamy President, Karnataka State Farmers Association
swamy.krrs@aworld.net

'Curiously though agriculture is a state subject, Karnataka Government
seems unaware of the trials going on in the State. Agriculture Minister C. 
Byre Gowda admitted that he had been informend of the ongoing trials but
was unaware of where they were being undertaken in Karnataka or in
Maharashtra.'
 (The Indian Express, Bangalore edition, cover page, 16th
November) 

The trials started three months ago although the 'Ministry of Science and
Technology has admitted that it does not have the requisite regulatoy
regimen to assess the risk of dealing with such transgenic material for
which biosafty guidelines have only now been issued.'
 (The Indian Express, Bangalore edition, cover page, 18th November).

In that sense, the
University of Agriculture Science (UAS) Bangalore warned that 'The genetic
modification involved in geneticlly engineered hybrid seeds is a concealed
one that cannot be ascertaiened with existing regulations of the seed act
and quarantine.' (ibid.) B.R. Hedge, Director of Research at UAS, affirmed
that 'The Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) was only now
starting to look at ways which regulatory mechnisms should be put in place
to check the clandestine import of such genetic material. Nevertheless,
for the moment we have nothing ready'
 (The Indian Express, Bangalore edition, page 9, 18th November)
 
The KRRS has issued a deadline to the State Government and Monsanto to
disclose the places where the trials are being conducted and the exact
description of the seeds that are being tested. '"Monsanto should reveal
immediately where the trials are being conducted" failing which "direct
action would follow on the company's office in Malleswaram" he [Prof.
Nanjundaswamy] threatened. "The government can foist 100 cases of attempt
to murder [against us], but we will throw it [Monsanto] out... first from
Karnataka, next from Maharashtra" ... The former professor of law wondered
how the State's Agriculture Minister could be unaware of the trials. "The
Government cannot continue for three minutes" considering its
irresponsible behaviour, he said'. (The Indian Express, Bangalore edition,
page 4, 20th November) 'Monsanto will have to leave the country within a
week. Otherwise we will be forced to throw them out. We have given a day's
ultimatum to the company to furnish details about the seed trials
undertaken in the state and the country.'
 (Prof. Nanjundasway in The Times of India, Bangalore edition, page 5 20th
November). 

Although the field trials are testing BT cotton, the Indian press and
politiciancs seem to be rather confused and are mixing up this issue with
the terminator technology, which has been used by opponents of Monsanto as
an example of the destructive potential of this corporation. However, this
confusion is making it easier for Monsanto to reject any accusation by
denying the use of this technology. Here are some statements about this
issue taken from the last days press.

'Second and Third World markets are the main targets for the terminator
seed.'
 William Phelps, Spokesman, Department of Agriculture, USA (quoted in The
Indian Express, Bangalore edition, cover page, 18 November)

'It is not merly the economic factors that threaten the poor farmers of
the world, but it is nature of the Terminator gene itself, since the
pollen from the crops carrying the Terminator will infect the fields of
farmers who either reject, or cannot afford the technology.'
 (UAS, quoted in The Indian Express, Bangalore edition, cover page, 18
November) 

'This is a terminator of biodiversity, terminator of food security. It is
a damaging technology because pollination pollution can render all
indigenous varieties sterile. This gene will slowly remove all
characteristics of germination from seeds. This means the harvest seeds
cannot be used for sowing during the next seseason. It will also force
seed dependency on farmers who cannot afford to buy seeds. Monoculture was
introduced in the country in 1965 with an aim to provide food security.
When Green Revolution Technology introduced monoculture it was thought the
method would be very effective. Terminatorgene is being dubbed as a second
Green Revolution Technology. This, too, will prove ineffective.
Genetically modified seeds are polluting the local species. It will not
solve the food problem, in fact it will terminate food security along with
biodiversity.'
 (Prof. Nanjundaswamy, quoted in The Times of India, Bangalore edition,
page 5, 20th November) 

The sincerity of Monsanto can be easily assessed by the usual roguish
reply it gave to the critics: 'Monsanto will only bring to India, products
and technologies which are consistent with what India wants and its laws
aprove.... Monsanto has not, and will not, bring to India any technology
that will adversely affect the environment, current agricuture practices
and force farmers to use any technology it provides.'
 (Monsanto statement quoted in Deccan Herald, Bangalore edition, page 9,
21th November) 

Yesterday the Union Minister for Rural Development, Babagouda Patil,
declared that 'Monsanto wil be asked to leave India'
 (headline, The Times of India, Bangalore edition, page 5, 23 November). 

'He said that he recieved Information that Monsanto is developing and
conducting field trials on the "terminator gene" seeds at a private farm
in Ranebennur taluk of Haveri district. "I have informed the Prime
Minister and Union Agriculture Minister", he said. He said he knew the
complications arising out of the issue due to WTO stipulations. "But the
government will not compromise on this issue as crores of farmers' lives
will be in danger. The terminator gene seed will pose a serious threat to
Indian agriculture." The Union cabinet is expected to deliberate on the
issue besides initiating measures to close Monsanto's buisness operations
in the country... He said that the Center would not hesitate to withdraw
from WTO if its provisions threaten our very existence.'
 (The Times of India, Bangalore edition, page 5 23rd November)