Preface to the Portuguese translation of Vandana Shiva's Biopiracy

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PREFACE to the Portuguese translation of Vandana Shiva's Biopiracy

[Biopirataria, Petrópolis, RJ: Editora Vozes, 2001, pp. 7-22]
Hugh Lacey & Marcos Barbosa de Oliveira1

Biodiversity, protection of the environment, sustainable agriculture, agribusiness, and transgenic crops (genetically modified organisms) — these are the questions have become central to current controversies about how farming should be practiced throughout the world. Brazil is no exception, and there MST (Movimento de trabalhadores rurais Sem Terra - Movement of Landless Rural Workers) is among the social movements that emphasize them most clearly.2 Imbued with a strong ecological conscience since its foundation and keenly aware of the implications of this stance for agriculture and the agrarian question, MST has adopted, both in its guiding ideas and in its practice, strong positions that have many points of contact with the ideas defended in this book. This is one of the reasons why the publication in Brazil of Biopiracy, the first book of the Indian author Vandana Shiva to be published in Portuguese translation, is most welcome at this time.

Vandana Shiva, physicist turned environmentalist and feminist, philosopher of science, and popular political activist and organizer, is Director of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, in New Delhi, INDIA. At numerous international forums, including the UN conference on the environment and development in Rio de Janeiro (1992), she has been a leading critic of the "Green Revolution" (GR) and of the role that transgenic crops are beginning to assume in agriculture — as well as of the projects of "globalization" within which they have been developed. She has been a defender of biodiversity and of local's people's alternative farming practices and traditional forms of knowledge. In India she has led protests against the introduction of transgenic crops that have included such actions as burning transgenic grain taken from stocks of Monsanto Corporation;3 she is a leader of a Ghandi-inspired movement — the Seed Satygraha — to foster traditional and sustainable farming practices and to save and exchange farmer-selected seeds without recourse to the mechanisms of the market; and she has pressed for legal challenges to be made against patents granted to products based upon traditional Indian knowledge, in an effort to reverse some of the worst abuses of "Biopiracy",4 and filed suit in India's Supreme Court seeking to stop field trials of transgenic cotton on the ground that the safety of the trials has not been well established with available empirical data.5 She serves as an advisor on scientific and environmental issues to the Third World Network and is a leading figure in efforts to develop a legal framework for "Collective Property Rights" as an alternative to current regimes of "Intellectual Property Rights."6 She has also published many influential books and articles, a selection of which are listed at the end of this Preface.
In this Preface, we will locate the argument developed in this book within the broader context of Shiva's writings, by focussing on three themes that she has developed with originality and depth and that resonate with issues that have come to the fore in Brazil:7

1. The seed. The character of the seed is changed — from regenerative resource to commodity — with its insertion into capital-intensive agriculture.

2. Reductionist science. The knowledge that informs technological models in agriculture — whether of the GR or agro-biotechnology — instantiates just one type of scientific knowledge, that gained in "reductionist science".

3. Alternative "models" of agriculture. There are alternative models of agriculture informed by "non-reductionist" forms of scientific knowledge, specifically forms of knowledge that are in direct continuity with traditional, local forms of knowledge.

The seed

In the final paragraphs of this book Shiva writes:

The seed has become the site and symbol of freedom in this age of manipulation and monopoly of its diversity. … … The seed … is small. … … In the seed, cultural diversity converges with biological diversity. Ecological issues combine with social justice, peace, and democracy.
Seeds used in agriculture are, at one and the same time, many things always including:

(a) Biological entities: under appropriate conditions they will grow into mature plants from which (e.g.) grain will be harvested.

(b) Parts of various ecological systems.
(c) Entities that have been developed and produced by human practices - and so that have a role in human practices and institutions.
(d) Objects of human knowledge and empirical investigation — (i) As biological entities, they are subject to genetic, physiological, biochemical, cellular, developmental, etc analyses; (ii) As parts of ecological systems, to ecological analyses; and (iii) As products of human practices, to analyses of their roles and effects in socioeconomic (including agroecological) and cultural systems.
However, what seeds are concretely — the specific ways in which they are each of the above kinds of things and the specific possibilities that are open to them — varies systematically with the socioeconomic context of farming.

Seeds used in farming may be, and traditionally have usually been, biological entities that routinely reproduce themselves in the course of producing a crop. As such, they are renewable regenerative resources that are integral parts of sustainable ecosystems, that generate products that meet local needs while being compatible with local cultural values and social organization, that are part of the common heritage of humankind, and that have been selected by numerous farmers over the course of centuries with methods informed by local knowledge. Or, seeds may be commodities: objects bought and sold on the market, "property" whose users may not be their owners, whose use is integrally connected with the availability of other commodities (e.g., chemical inputs and machinery for cultivation and harvesting), and that (sometimes) can be patented and otherwise regulated in accord with intellectual property rights. Under these conditions, they are developed by scientists (in university, NGO and corporate laboratories) and produced (largely) by capital-intensive corporations. Then, they cannot be understood simply as the "natural" product of plants, simply (and sometimes not at all) as a part of the grain harvested, or as entities that regenerate themselves annually as a normal part of the crop.

Shiva has described the mechanisms of the transformation of the seed from regenerative resource more and more to commodity,8 that was initiated with the introduction of "technological models" into agriculture, i.e., those forms of agriculture based on mechanization and the need for chemical inputs - fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, etc. These models have been further developed by the use of monocultures, of hybrid seeds that do not reproduce themselves reliably and so must be bought annually from the seed company (which furthers the need for chemical fertilizers), and most recently by the rapidly expanding use of trasngenic seeds and the protections they have been granted under regimes of Intellectual Property Rights. In some countries the latter lead to contracts under which farmers, when they have grown crops from transgenic seeds bought from an agribusiness firm, are legally prohibited from separating out seeds from their crops for subsequent plantings. The commoditization of the seed, which depends on breaking the unity of seed (on the one hand) as source of a crop and (on the other hand) as reproducer of itself, is dialectically linked with the transformation of the social relations of farming in the direction of the growing dominance of agribusiness and large scale farming with export orientation. It serves transnational corporate interests; its proponents also maintain that it enables greater efficiency in agriculture and, above all, that the farming methods associated with it enable much greater production of the grains needed to feed the world's growing population.9

Shiva recognizes, of course, that - using the methods of the GR - the world's food production has increased dramatically over the past four decades, so much so that now enough food is produced to feed everyone in the world. Yet, massive hunger persists throughout the world. Simply producing adequate quantities of food is not sufficient to ensure that all of the poor are fed — in the words of José Maria Alves da Silva:

... in order to put an end to hunger, it is necessary above all to improve the distribution of income. Without furthering economic equality, without effective means to combat poverty, increasing agricultural production can only lead to an increase in the export of foodstuffs, something that is already occurring on a large scale in underdeveloped countries — a fact that is prudently omitted in the arguments of the defenders of transgenics.10
Shiva questions the necessity of the GR, and denounces its effects.11 According to her, it may not have been needed to produce the required food, since developments of traditional agricultural methods could have been adequate (see below); and its productive gains have been exaggerated since they concern only gains in a single crop and have been achieved at the expense of reductions in other products of traditional farms. She argues that, when the full range of products of traditional farms are considered, we can see that their methods are more efficient than those that deploy monocultures. Moreover, the implementation of the methods of the GR led to the displacement of traditional small-scale farming, causing social dislocation (and consequent violence) and hunger among the communities that sustained it, and also loss of the knowledge that informs that kind of farming. It also led to loss of biodiversity, unsustainable ecological conditions, and deepened dependence of third world conditions and possibilities on the movements of international capitalism. Here is her summary:

Instead of abundance, Punjab has been left with diseased soils, pest-infested crops, water-logged deserts, and indebted and discontented farmers ... conflict and violence. ... [E]cological and ethnic fragmentation and breakdown are intimately connected and are an intrinsic part of a policy of planned destruction of diversity in nature and culture to create the uniformity demanded by central management systems.12

Shiva anticipates that effects of these kinds will only be exacerbated with implementations of transgenic crops, and she has written extensively about risks to human health, biodiversity and the environment occasioned by these implementations.13 Her argument is developed against the background that there are, or can be, modes of farming that are highly productive, ecologically sustainable, protective of biodiversity, and compatible with social and cultural stability and diversity (see below). The seed is the key to what is possible. The alternative modes of farming depend on the seed as regenerative resource, and are incompatible with the seed as commodity. This explains the urgency in her writings (especially in this book) and activities to engage in the struggle against regimes of Intellectual Property Rights applied to living things (including seeds), for these further the process of commoditization; and against Biopiracy, the free appropriation (sanctioned by law) of the seeds and knowledge of tradition cultures for commercial exploitation that, in turn, contributes to undermine the continued maintenance of seeds as regenerative resources.

The seed, then, is a fundamental symbol in contemporary struggles. As commodity, it symbolizes the capability and power of the market — making use of technical innovations and legal mechanisms — to penetrate into realms that hitherto had resisted such penetration. As regenerative resource, it symbolizes the possibilities of local enhancement, agency, initiative and well-being, of everybody being well fed and nourished, of cultural and biological diversity, of ecological sustainability, of alternatives to the uniformity of neoliberal institutions - of genuine democracy.

Here in Brazil the introduction of transgenics has generated intense controversy that has acquired a high profile in the newspapers. Generally speaking, the Brazilian critics with most access to the press emphasize risks concerning health and the environment. The discussion of risks, as already mentioned, is present in Shiva's writings, but her criticism is more radical for she locates the introduction of transgenics, and the risks that they occasion, within the broader socio-economic context which includes also the commoditization of the seed and the deepening dependence of agriculture on market forces — and in a context that also takes into consideration the potential of alternative forms of agriculture. We find in MST resonances with these more radical themes. This is not well known, since the mainstream press prefers to portray MST only in the context of its occupations of fields and public buildings, of the violence with which police force and armed bands hired by the large land-owners attack members of MST, and of struggle for Land Reform. For MST, however, Land Reform involves not only gaining possession of land but also, and integrally, valuing the environment and biodiversity, in opposition to "technological models", to monocultures and to the commoditization of the seed. This is made clear in the document: "MST and the environment: Agrarian Reform is a way to take care of the environment."14 Consider the following passages:
The struggle for MST is also one for the preservation of life and of nature.
We understand that we have to work towards rural development in the areas won in the struggle of MST and transformed into settlements. … In this integral rural development we must develop economically and socially by eliminating the exploitation of workers, by the rational and sustainable utilization of the natural resources available in the areas of Agrarian Reform, and by stimulating the practice of cooperation in various forms. Our relationship with the environment must be conceived of as "social-environmental", where human beings are the center of nature and the principal element for its preservation and use. We must avoid practices that are destructive of natural resources (land, water, fauna and flora) and use techniques of conservation, combatting the use of agrotoxics, which threaten human life and the goods of nature, and developing and applying alternative methods for production and for the control of weeds and insect pests.
We will return below to some of the initiatives of MST that aim to put these principles into practice.

Reductionist science

The seed as regenerative resource, its developments and uses, and how farmers and others relate to it, is informed by a different kind of knowledge than that which informs the context of the seed as commodity. According to Shiva, the knowledge that informs the seed as commodity and, more generally, "technological models" in agriculture — whether of the GR or Agro-biotechnology — instantiates just one type of scientific knowledge. She calls it "reductionist science."15

It is characteristic of "reductionist science" to offer understanding of phenomena exclusively in terms of their underlying structures and their (molecular) components, their processes and interactions, and the laws that govern them — in abstraction from their relations with human life and experience, and with social and ecological relations; so that the objects of "reductionist science" are per se devoid of any value, "dead, inert, valueless". It thus effectively considers things as reducible to their underlying structures (with, today, an emphasis on the genetic structures of organisms); and attends, e.g., to the possibilities of seeds that may be realized by manipulations of their molecular components and their interactions with other objects of reductionist science (e.g., herbicides), without attending simultaneously to the effects on human health and the environment that may be caused by introducing such modified seeds into farming practices, and the social effects that may follow from the socioeconomic context of such introduction. "Reductionist science" also tends to treat phenomena in a fragmentary way, as a set of traits that can be investigated individually — a crop, e.g., is treated as a source of one product (grain) and investigated as such, leaving aside that crops may also be sources of fodder for cattle or thatch for roofs of houses, expressions of cultural values, means for nurturing biodiversity, etc. Finally, since it articulates understanding in abstraction from the social relations of phenomena, reducing the seed to its underlying structure, "reductionist science" helps to disguise the fundamental transformation of the seed that is involved with its commoditization

"Reductionist science", according to Shiva, is intimately connected with the logic of the expansion of the market, an instrument of neoliberal forms of globalization; its pursuit has no other rationale and it has no significance and no applicability outside of the logic of the market.16 On application, "reductionist science" generates what she calls a "four-fold violence."17

First, violence against the supposed beneficiaries of knowledge (e.g., poor farmers and their families). The conditions in which they can continue to practice their forms of farming are undermined, so that they cease to be producers of their own food, and become consumers who must buy food and who, often, following social dislocation are unable to gain access to sufficient nutritive food for themselves and their families.

Second, against the bearers of "non-reductionist" forms of knowledge. Granting “monopoly” to knowledge gained in reductionist science, and granting privileged protection of Intellectual Property Rights to products informed by it, devalues the knowledge of the bearers of other, traditional and agroecological, forms of understanding and the activities informed by them. It also poses no barriers to social and economic projects that freely exploit these forms of knowledge (biopiracy), or that diminish their practical relevance and thus the agency of their bearers .

Third, and directed connected with the second, "the plunder of knowledge, " or violence against "knowledge itself" when non-reductionist knowledge is held not to be knowledge at all — and, in the name of sound “scientific knowledge,” traditional knowledge is not only devalued but also exploited, suppressed, distorted, and not considered to be an appropriate object for further empirical investigation and improvement.

Fourth, "the plunder of nature," or violence against the "object of knowledge." Projects informed by reductionist science tend to “destroy the innate integrity of nature and therefore rob it of its regenerative capacity,” or to destroy the biodiversity and genetic heritage of a region. Consider:

Sustainable agriculture is based on the recycling of soil nutrients. This involves returning to the soil part of the nutrients that come from it and support plant growth The maintenance of the nutrient cycle, and through it the fertility of the soil, is based on the inviolable law of return that recognizes the earth as the source of fertility. The Green Revolution paradigm [and also models that deploy transgenics] substituted the regenerative nutrient cycle with linear flows of purchased inputs of chemical fertilizers from factories and marketed outputs of agricultural products. Fertility was no longer the property of soil, but of chemicals. The Green Revolution was essentially based on miracle seeds that needed chemical fertilizers and did not produce plant outputs for returning to the soil. … The activity lay in the miracle seeds, which transcended nature's fertility cycles.18

Shiva is a radical critic of the dominant "technological models" in agriculture, and of the knowledge that informs them: it is of the nature of "reductionist knowledge" that it leads to the forms of violence she diagnoses, not the particular uses of this knowledge — and she denies that, even under desirable socioeconomic conditions, this knowledge could be used to further projects that better embody social justice; reductionist knowledge necessarily serves the interests of capital-intensive agriculture. Observing not only the persistence of widespread hunger and malnutrition despite sufficient food being produced to feed everyone, but also the other consequences described above, Shiva suggests that the motivation of the GR (and now of the introduction of transgenics) has been not so much to address world hunger, aggravated by rapidly expanding populations, but to effect decisively the capitalist transformation of agriculture.19 Note that it is on the claim of "privilege" for" reductionist knowledge" that the conditions needed for furthering this transformation — the granting of Intellectual Property Rights to transgenic seeds but not to seeds as renewable resources, and the legitimation of "biopiracy" — are grounded.
Alternative forms of farming, and the kinds of knowledge that informs them

Shiva holds that reductionist science provides one kind of scientific knowledge. There are other kinds — associated with the seed as renewable resource, and these inform a range of farming methods, often grouped together under the label "agroecology." Agroecological investigation — while today it draws in countless ways upon knowledge of the underlying structures, chemistry and biochemistry of plants, soils and inputs into agricultural production — locates farming phenomena, and therefore the seed, integrally within their specific ecological and social situation, and poses questions that do not involve abstractions from it. It investigates relations and interactions between an organism and its environment, considered as a more or less self-regulating "whole" of which the organism is an integral part; thus enabling us to identify the possibilities that things (e.g., seeds) have in virtue of their place in agroecological systems. Unlike reductionist science, agroecology does not abstract from the social, human and ecological dimensions of things. Its focus is upon objects — productive and sustainable agroecosystems, and their constituents (seeds, plants, microorganisms, etc) — whose possibilities cannot be reduced to those identified with reductionist methods. Producing a crop is seen as a part of generating and sustaining productive and sustainable agroecosystems.20

Shiva emphasizes that in agroecology important understanding can often be gained from improvements (based in empirical research) of traditional farming practices and understanding, which themselves may be understood as part of agroecology, forms of investigation in which phenomena are not abstracted from the ecological and social relations that they exhibit. The empirical success of agroecology is an important ground on which the monopoly on knowledge, made in the name of "reductionist science," is challenged by Shiva. She points to the empirically vindicated strengths of local, traditional, people's knowledge which, because of its locality, assumes numerous, diverse forms. Informed by such knowledge, traditional farming has, in some cases, developed practices that are ecologically sound (maintaining, e.g., soil that has remained fertile for millennia, and pest and disease controls that function through appropriate arrangements and combinations of crops), selection processes that have generated a richly diverse gene stock, and modes of social organization in harmony with natural processes. Elsewhere, she has referred to the relevant traditional knowledge as dealing with "preserving and building on nature's processes and nature's patterns", with "repairing nature's cycles and working in partnership with nature's processes", and with "subtle balances within the plant and invisible relationships of the plant to its environment".21 Moreover, she points out, it is open to improvements (including those that derive from the input of knowledge of the underlying structure, processes, interactions and laws of agroecological systems) with research, in which local farmers as well as "specialist researchers" would be active participants. Clearly, over the centuries, indigenous seeds (obtaining from free pollination in open fields) have been improved as a result of the selection practices of local farmers. Their knowledge can become an object of systematic investigation in which it is articulated, systematized, empirically tested and further improved.

In Shiva's writings, agroecology is an alternative to "reductionist science" and the basis of sound agricultural practices of special interest to small farmers in third world countries, an essential part of their struggle to maintain and develop their cultural heritage as well as to meet their material needs. It also challenges the four-fold violence engendered by the methods informed by "reductionist science, and offers the hope of reversing this violence. Similar ideas are expressed by MST. Consider again the document, "MST and the environment":

Illiteracy, violence, deforestation, contamination of foods and waters, destruction of soils, intoxication of workers and a whole generation of landless persons are the marks that an agrochemical model has left and continues leaving in our country.

In various settlements of the Agrarian Reform organized by MST, however, this picture is changing. Following the guidelines of agroecology, seeds, agricultural inputs and food are being produced in a new way.

We can point to the intense effort of those in the settlements to produce seeds from their crops, retrieving varieties that had been previously utilized and that are well adapted to particular regions, but which were discarded by the firms that produced hybrid seeds. They are even producing (without using poisons and chemical fertilizers) seeds that are serving as the base for the totally organic and natural production of greens, vegetables and fruit. These seeds are marketed by one of the cooperatives of MST [Cooperal, in Rio Grande do Sul] under the brand "Bionatur".22
Consider also the following comments from the document "Globalization, ecology and small-scale agriculture",23 that speak of "the social function of the land" and "the multifunctionality of agriculture:"

It is necessary to affirm the social function of the land: to produce more, to respect the environment, and to have another model of agricultural social organization (Gilmar Mauro, MST leader).

What is the "multifunctionality of agriculture"? … agriculture cannot be seen only from the point of view of productivity and profit, as maintain the heralds of neoliberalism, and so cannot be seen as a product whose marketing is regulated by the WTO.24 Agriculture has additional multiple functions. First, as a factor that underlies the organization of people in determined places [such as the settlements of MST] … so that they can be united around an activity which gives pleasure and is a source of pride. [Second], to enable production to aim to serve primarily the consumption needs of immediately connected local groups, leaving export to be a subsidiary activity; and so it must be concerned with the quantity of products that will be consumed primarily by the farmers themselves and their families. [Third], to provide conditions to absorb a large number of people in complementary jobs, to multiply the circulation of goods and money in the region. [Fourth], to conserve the environment, the space in which the farmers themselves live; and this will motivate interest in the beauty of the rural landscape …. (Angela Mendes de Almeida).

Another document, "MST, environment and agroecological products," reports various other initiatives of this kind, including the production of organic rice in the settlement Santa Fé [in águas Claras, Rio Grande do Sul], of seeds of native corn in settlements in the far west of Santa Catarina, and of organic maté in Santa Maria do Oeste [Parana]. Even if these initiatives represent only a small proportion of all the MST settlements in the country, they point to important commitments of MST nationally. This document also describes a program of reforestation in the region of Pontal do Paranapanema, where cattle ranching has predominated for many years, which is attempting

… to create an "ecological corridor" connecting three areas of native forest (Mata Atlântica do Interior), respectively of 33,000, 400 and 300 hectares. … … There is a settlement of rural workers located between the areas of Mata Atlântica. The project consists of planting both native and foreign trees in the area belonging to the settlements, in order to make possible genetic exchanges among the diverse animal and plant species that can be found in the three areas, eventually forming a "corridor" for the movement of species (mainly birds and insects) so as to facilitate the transmission of genetic material of the native species that are constitutive of this ecosystem.
The richness of Shiva's analysis comes from her close contact with Indian small farmers and their movements, that challenge the hegemony of neoliberalism and the thorough-going incorporation of agriculture into the market, by insisting on the strengths, and possibilities for improvement, of their tested local methods of farming. The struggles and possibilities in Brazil, of course, are different — ecologically, culturally, socially, politically — from those in India. But, as we have seem they do share important features that suggest that exchanges between Brazilian and Indian experiences are likely to be fruitful. We may think of the worlds of Shiva and MST as two forests, and this book as a small trail that, we may hope, will give rise to a "corridor" of ideas contributing towards the enrichment of the cultural and biological diversity of the two countries.


"Reductionist science as epistemological violence”, in A. Nandy (ed.), Science, hegemony and violence: a requiem for modernity. Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1988.

Staying alive: women, ecology and development. London: Zed Books, 1989
The violence of the green revolution: third world agriculture, ecology and politics. London: Zed Books, 1991.
Ecology and the politics of survival: Conflicts over natural resources in India. New Delhi: Sage Publications, 1991.
Biodiversity: social and ecological perspectives. (Shiva & collaborators.) London: Zed Books, 1991.
Monocultures of the mind: perspectives on biodiversity and biotechnology. London: Zed Books, 1993.
Mies, M. & Shiva, V. (1993) Ecofeminism. (Edited by Shiva & M. Mies.) London: Zed Books, 1993.
Close to home: women reconnect ecology, health and development worldwide. (Edited by Shiva.) Philadelphia: New Society Publishers, 1994.
"Democratizing biology: reinventing biology from a feminist, ecological and Third World perspective," in L. Birke & R. Hubbard (eds), Reinventing biology: respect for life and the creation of knowledge. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995.
Biopolitics: a feminist and ecological reader on biotechnology. (Edited by Shiva & I. Moser.) London: Zed Books, 1995.
Biopiracy: the plunder of nature and knowledge. Boston: South End Press, 1997.
Stolen Harvest: the hijacking of the global food supply. Boston: South End Press, 1999.
Betting on Biodiversity: why genetic engineering will not feed the hungry or save the planet. New Delhi: Research Foundation for Science, Technology and Ecology, 1999.
"Penalizing the poor: GATT, WTO and the developing world," in G. Tansey & J. D'Silva (eds), The meat business: Devouring a hungry planet. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1999.

1Hugh Lacey is professor of philosophy at Swarthmore College (Pennsylvania, USA) and, at the time of writing, visiting professor of philosophy at Universidade de São Paulo; his contribution to this Preface received partial support from NSF (SES-9905945). Marcos Barbosa de Oliveira is professor of philosophy in the faculty of education, Universidade de São Paulo. [This translation includes a few passages and references that are not in the published Portuguese original.]

2Cf. the following words of Gilmar Mauro, an MST leader: "We emphasize the importance of discussing such questions as the environment, biodiversity, the importance of combating genetically modified organisms and of acting against the large agro-industrial monopolies in our country; and we continue to engage in acts of solidarity aimed at propagating a project of Agrarian Reform that will serve the whole of society" (interview in Correio Da Citadania, 19-26/8/2000).

3O Estado de São Paulo (November 8, 2000) reported that João Pedro Stédile (another MST leader) announced that MST "would burn all transgenic crops that it found, as well as impede the export of these products from Brazilian ports"; and also: " in yesterday's protest members of MST bombarded the principal entrance of the US Embassy with ears of transgenic corn." Then, a few months later, during the World Social Forum (Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul, Jan. 25-30 2001) Stédile, accompanied by the French activist Jose Bové organized the uprooting and subsequent burning of transgenic soybean (which Stédile claims to have been illegally grown) at a nearby Monsanto experimental farm — for information, see the website of the World Social Forum, .

4In the text Shiva discusses the case of "biopiracy" involving the neem tree, and patents being granted to some of its products. Legal challenge, made to the European Patent Office, succeeded in having patents to neem products, granted to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and multinational W.R. Grace Corporation, removed (see Shiva, "North-South conflicts in Intellectual Property Rights," Peace Review 12 (4), Dec 2000: 501-508.)

5See D. Normile, "Agrobiotechnology: Asia gets a taste of genetic food fights," Science (8/31/00).

6See S.Tilahun & S. Edwards (eds), The movement for collective intellectual rights. Addis Abada and London, The Gaia Foundation, 1996, especially the article by Brazilian sociologist Laymert Garcia dos Santos (with G. Muzio) "Collective intellectual rights and control of access to biological resources", and the one by Shiva.

7Another equally important and recurrent theme in Shiva's writings concerns the specific effects on women of the introduction of "technological models" in agriculture (and, e.g., in medicine), and the contributions of women's movements in the struggle over the seed and related matters (see, e.g., her works Staying Alive, Ecofeminism and "Democratizing biology".

8She draws upon J.R. Kloppenburg, Jr, First the Seed: the political economy of plant technology,1492-2000, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

9See H. Lacey, "Seeds and the knowledge they embody," Peace Review 12 (4), Dec 2000: 563-569; "As sementes e o conhecimento que elas incorporam," São Paulo em Perspectiva 14 (3), July 2000.

10J.M. Alves da Silva, "Os transgênicos e a sociedade rural," Folha de São Paulo, September 18, 2000: p. A3. [Alves da Silva is a professor at Universidade Federal de Viçosa, a predominantly agricultural University in the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil.]

11Shiva, The Violence of the Green Revolution (in references below). See also Shiva's reply to Norman Borlaug's, "Factual errors and misinformation," The Ecologist 27, 1997: 211-212.

12Shiva, The violence …, pp. 12, 24. Note that Punjab is an Indian state in which implementations of the GR are widely considered to have been exemplary. Cf. Gilmar Mauro, referring to "a north-american type model that was adopted in Brazil": "In the past ten years the number of small farmers has been reduced (by 95,000) and of rural workers (by 200,000). Accompanying this Brazil has become an importer of foods; and, as incredible as it may seem, today it even imports 'milho verde' [fresh corn]" (from web document, "Globalization, ecology and the small farmer," cited below.)

13These risks are discussed in this book. A more detailed and better documented analysis of them, however, can be found in Betting on diversity (references below). The risks, and issues about how they might be managed and regulated, are discussed in Marcelo Leite, Os alimentos transgênicos, São Paulo: PubliFolha, 2000; and in Rubens Nodari and Miguel Guerra [professors of agronomy at Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Florianópolis], "Biosegurança de plantas transgênicas," in S. A. Görgen (ed.) Riscos dos transgênicos," Petrópolis, Editora Vozes, 2000 (and in several other articles by these two authors).

14This document was written by a group of technicians and leaders under the direction of COCCRAB (Confereração das Cooperativas de Reforma Agrária do Brasil), a group which develops national policies about production for MST. Copies (in Portuguese) can be obtained from Elenar J. Ferreira, coordinator of the group, at ; we wish to thank her for making this (and another document, "MST, environment and agroecological products," that is cited below) available to us.

15For detailed discussion of how there can be different "forms" of scientific inquiry (including reduction science), and how these forms are related to their roles in applications in different kinds of social practices serving the interests of different value-outlooks, see H. Lacey, Is Science Value Free? Values and scientific understanding, London: Routledge, 1999. Also: “The dialectic of science and advanced technology: an alternative?” Democracy and Nature 4 (1), 1998: 34-53; "Incommensurability and 'multicultural science'," in P. Hoyningen-Huene & H. Sankey (eds), Incommensurability and Related Matters, Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2001; "The ways in which the sciences are and are not value free," in P. Gardenfors, K. Kijania-Placek & J. Wolenski (eds), Proceedings of the 11th International Congress of Logic, Methodology and Philosophy of Science, Dordrecht: Kluwer (forthcoming).

16Some of the controversies that may arise from this view are discussed in Lacey, "Seeds … ," op. cit. See also H. Lacey, “On cognitive and social values: a reply to my critics,” Science and Education 8, 1999: 89-103.

17Most clearly developed in "Reductionist science as epistemological violence” (references below).

18Ch. 3 of this book.

19See R.C. Lewontin, "The maturing of capitalist agriculture: farmer as proletarian," Monthly Review 50 (3), 1998: 72-84; and R.C. Lewontin & J.-P. Berlan, "The political economy of agricultural research: the case of hybrid corn," in C.R. Carroll, J.H. Vandemeer & P.M. Rosset (eds), Agroecology, New York: McGraw-Hill, 1990.

20For an introduction to agroecology, the strong empirical basis it builds upon, its appropriateness for meeting the needs of small farmers and rural communities, and how it is related to traditional farming methods and the knowledge that informs them, see Miguel Altieri, Agroecologia: a dinámica produtiva da agricultura sustentável, Porto Alegre: Editora da Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, 1998; Agroecology: The science of sustainable agriculture. 2nd ed. Boulder: Westview, 1995. (See also references in footnote 14.)

21Quotes from The violence…, pp. 26, 29, 97 respectively.

22See , and current issues of the magazine, Agroecologia Hoje (Botucatu, São Paulo).

23From the website of ATTAC-SP. ATTAC , a French-based social movement, works closely with MST.

24The Subcommission for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights of the Commission of Human Rights of the OUN (52nd session) wrote (Aug 17, 2000) that: "… there apparently exist conflicts between the regime of intellectual property rights incorporated into the TRIPS (Trade Related Intellectual Property Statutes) Accord of WTO, on the one hand, and international human rights law, on the other." The Subcommission is referring to the fundamental right to food (accepted in major human rights documents), and the danger that the agreements on Intellectual Property Rights in the TRIPS Accord may be used by agribusiness to gain greater control of the world's supply.

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