The following is an excerpt from Antonia's interview with Dr. Vandana Shiva. The full interview can be accessed through LiP magazine's website.
LiP: Let me bring this to the issue of propaganda, then: how corporations in particular, in partnership with the media, change the dialogue within which we're able to function—how they have made it palatable that water should be considered a commodity, that air and rain and land, things that should be considered communal, are now considered private property.
Dr. Shiva: The main way in which propaganda has been used to try and dull people's thinking about what water is, what food is, what the land is, is by first and foremost redefining everything that we get from the earth as purely raw materials and commodities. In the case of biodiversity, life forms are transformed into information, and that information in the genetic code is treated as property by the company that can read the genetic code with a silly little machine. They didn't even use their minds, but it becomes their intellectual property. And it is by taking living organisms out of their life context and turning them into a fragment of expression, only genetic information, that they're able to change the discourse from thinking about life as a cow, as a pig, as a neem tree, as a basmati plant, into a transfer of information—and commodification of information should not really trouble anybody. In this way, society, through propaganda, is cut off from the consequences of their actions.
I can give you a very clear example of how this would work, in the case of the privatization of Delhi's water supply, which was going to be based on the commodification of the Ganges. They were starting to call the water that comes from the Ganga "raw water." And the water at the other end of the pipe, where they would be selling that water, would be a product. It's by this mutation that they change the status of what you're dealing with, so water as a living resource, plants as a living resource, disappear. And with them disappear the relationships of people with living plants and living rivers. One of the big changes in perception, and I think it was so obvious in the whole G8 summit, is to make people appear like pathetic creatures who can't do anything for themselves. "Third World" societies, helpless little beings: just waiting for that dollar to drop, the food aid to drop into their land. It's this denial of the capacity of human beings, of living resources, of equal systems, which is at the heart of the corporate propaganda that enables privatization, that enables takeover and the creation of property in that which should never be private property, that which should always belong to the commons.