Marianne Williamson Speaks At March Against Monsanto In Venice, CA
Video by Barry Selby
May 25, 2013
(Video and Full Transcript)
Thank you so much for having me. First of all I want to acknowledge Tom Froehlich, because Tom acknowledged what Tammy did but it was Tom seeing that there was another march, Tom seeing what was available in other parts of the city as well as the world. So Tom is such a demonstration to us of what one person can do. The other group that I want to acknowledge here today, and really just brings such joy to my heart is all of you who are here with your babies and your children. Good on you!
The food movement has been an entry point for a lot of people. A lot of people who are very upset about what is happening with genetically modified food. But in many cases do not understand the larger context in which this is all occurring. And what this cannot be in order to really make a difference is just one march, one day, when everybody got all excited, and came to places like this, and had signs and you know, Yeah, yeah. We’re gonna do it and march around the city. I assure you, that of itself does not make Monsanto’s legal team scared.
So let’s talk a larger context because as in any non-violent movement some education is important, because in any situation really knowing on deep levels why you’re here and what the real problem is does everything to really make you effective. And also we’ll be talking about the things that if you do not understand these larger issues can make you in yourself so disconnected from what it’s all about that you wouldn’t sustain a movement anyway.
There is a larger problem than just Monsanto. We begin with that. Monsanto is only one. There’s Bayer, there’s DuPont, there’s Dow and other chemical companies who are involved here. And it’s a larger issue. Not only is it a larger issue than just Monsanto, it is a larger issue than just GMOs.
The large issue is a huge multi-national corporate matrix that has sucked the soul out of American capitalism, has turned the U.S. government into its own cash cow, and if allowed to continue does nothing short of threatening life on Earth.
Now for us to understand the hugeness of the issue is important, to understand that it’s about much larger than one industry, it’s much larger than one issue. Okay, but if you truly allow yourself as an American to recognize what I just said: huge multi-national, multi-billion dollar corporate matrix. Okay, you got that. Has sucked the soul out of American capitalism. What do I mean by that?
Well, before the 1970s, there was a general consensus, that capitalism was based on a basically ethical social contract, that value was created, value was created for the customer, and that there was an ethical responsibility to create value for the customer, and also some ethical responsibility to the workers in the corporation.
As of the 1970s, there came to be this economic revolution of sorts where the consensus shifted, and the consensus shifted to the notion that the only responsibility of the corporation is to create a profit, it’s own bottom line for its own shareholders. Period. And that became a new corporate ethic, or a new corporate non-ethic because it took American capitalism and completely disconnected it from any ethical center.
And by the way this is not inherent in capitalism. If one creates value, I’m a writer, I write a book, I poured whatever creativity I have into that book and you feel that it’s of value to you and you pay me a dollar, then we both leave in a win-win. But if I see you only as how can I make a buck from you, how can I make a buck from you, then it puts me in a completely different psychology. Really, how can I manipulate you? How can I screw you? How can I do anything just to make the dollar?
Okay. Then you add to that the fact that in the beginning of the 1980s, with a president who thought deregulation of corporations was the answer to all of our problems. So you had this huge deregulation, this explosion of deregulation that began in the 80s. And that has in its own way continued unabated, no matter who’s been president in its own way. So this is form, this is what you have in the movie Avatar, where in Avatar it was a magnificent cartoon characterization of what’s going down on this planet, where the government was basically in service to the corporations in their search for, as they put it in Avatar, Unobtainium.
Okay? And so what has happened is that as we have completely got a situation now in which the government which has from its beginning been about balancing the needs of the people with the economic freedom, instead of being there as the kind of watch dog to make sure corporations do not exert undo influence. Instead, because of the complete lack of public financing of our political campaigns, and now particularly with Citizens United decision, we now have a situation where, in order to get into office and to stay into office, both main political parties need the money of these corporations. This is more than a toxic brew. And it’s more than the chemical companies with our food. It’s the oil companies and their determining their influence on our environmental policies. It’s military contractors and their influence on our military policies. It’s prison builders and their influence on our incarceration rate.
So this is a much bigger issue than just Monsanto, and it’s a much bigger issue than just food. And if we meet it as people, and anything less than the realization of the huge issue, then we will not be effective in the ways we desire to be effective.
Okay. Now where do you go with that? So you say, so you allow yourself as a human being, and as an American to take in all that, and to go, huge multi-national corporate matrix that makes billions of dollars sucked the soul out of American capitalism, now uses the American government as its cash cow, and which, if unabated, will continue to cause extraordinary amounts of unnecessary suffering on the planet and possibly destroy the whole thing within the next 200 years.
So you allow yourself to take that in. And it’s hard to take that in. It’s hard to take that in, because if you go, then you go, if that is true, if it is that big . . . Whoa! Whoa! And this is why a non-violent movement is holistic. It takes every aspect of who we are to deal with this. Because if it’s any less than the totality of our humanity, we will go into fear, we will go into cynicism, we will go into denial, we will go into anger, and then they’ve got us. Because the only power which is great enough to triumph over a situation that is truly this dire, is an awakening among whole people.
Now Gandhi and King talked about this. This is what the philosophy of non-violence is about. As Gandhi called it Satyagraha, he called it Soul Force. But it can’t just be intellect force. It can’t just be a few marches force. It must be Soul Force.
Now I’d like to take for a moment a little bit of historical context why women particularly, our issue related to GMOs. Before the advent of early Christendom in Europe, Pagan culture prevailed. And Pagan culture was one in which there was recognized a divine partnership between humanity and nature. And women particularly what would later be called the witches, the wise women, except there was nothing funny about what was done to those women. They held aloft the rituals in their communities that kept people in a sense of divine sacred partnership with the Earth and with the sky and with the rocks and with the trees and with the rivers and the lakes and the oceans. Those rituals were significant. They aligned all of us, meaning all of who we are with that sense of sacred partnership.
With the advent of early Ecclesiastic Christendom at that time, there was, among other things, inaugurated this huge dispensation which held that humanity was given nature as a gift by God to do with whatever it wanted. And so this twist of divine perception, this maladaptive perspective that we can manipulate nature, we can use nature, it’s okay to dominate nature. Now the best that that perspective can come up with is that we are to be like stewards of nature.
That’s important because once again what this conversation is about is our being effective. If we do argue the Biblical injunction that humanity should be proper stewards of nature, that will get you your right-wing Christians and Biblical crowd. If you really want to get something done, make sure that that’s an opening in your mind and in your heart. Not just to talk to people who agree with you, that’s not how you build a movement. Martin Luther King said, “You have very little morally persuasive power with people who can feel your underlying contempt.” And Gandhi said, “The end is inherent in the means.” Only if we are doing are own work, will we be able to rise collectively to a place where this can occur.
Number 1. When those quote unquote witches were destroyed, when Pagan culture was thrown over, all of the women, all of the Pagan cultural perspective, which held divine partnership in Nature, was destroyed, was hidden for many, many years.
So I just want to say that for those of us who are women, we do have a particular cellular memory of a time on the planet in Western civilization where our taking a stand, not for the domination and the manipulation and the abuse of Nature, but for divine partnership and proper care and love and emotional sacred connection with Nature. This is one of the reasons we were born, this is one of the reasons we were born before when we understood it, and it’s one of the reasons we are here today. And so today must be just the beginning. And that is what we want to recognize within ourselves.
Progressives tend to love a good party. We tend to show up for the sexy times. We tend to show up for the presidential elections, but we don’t care so much about the quote unquote lesser important. Let us remember, ladies and gentlemen, there are scores of corporate lobbyists, including the lobbyists for people like GMO, and let’s face the fact here, the true fact is that President Obama is even worse on this issue than George Bush was. Monsanto executives are high in the FDA, Tom Vilsack is from biotrade.
One of the most important things that you can do, but none of this would have happened if the American people had not gone to sleep. So let us all be really clear, let us all be really clear, after the Constitutional Convention when a woman asked Ben Franklin, “Do we have a republic, Sir?” He said, “Yes, if you can keep it.” Which means that every generation, you know in the Jewish religion it says that every generation must rediscover God for itself. And every generation of Americans must rediscover what the American government means, what it’s about. And if you don’t know what it’s about, and if you do not stand on the belief that when it’s good, it is a blessing.
You know, I had a friend who lives in Dubai in town with her little girl. And there was a gay pride parade. It was last year, and we went to some event connected to the gay pride event down in San Diego. And this little girl, she wasn’t so little, she was about thirteen, her mouth was just like this the whole time like, because even though she’s American, she’s raised in Dubai, never in a million years could gay people in public having an event celebrating gay pride.
It’s very, very important with a nation, just like with an individual, it’s really important when you’re looking at your mistakes and you’re looking at your problems, it’s important to remember you don’t do everything wrong. Just as it’s important when you’re looking at what you do that is right, for somebody to be there to remind you, yeah, you don’t do everything right either.
The United States was born in a contradiction. The main signers of the Declaration of Independence themselves were slaveholders. So we have always been a contradiction. We have always been a contradiction between these extraordinary principles of life and liberty which are no small thing which enable us to even be here today, which enable you to do basically whatever you want as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.
We were born out of the contradiction between that and the fact that from the beginning, the genocide of Native Americans, the slavery of Africans, of refusing women the right to vote, the lack of civil rights for Black people in the south before the 1960s. But it has always been the narrative of American politics. It has always been the narrative that there have been those who have wanted to expand the embodiment and the manifestation of our principles and there have been those who wanted to withdraw our commitment, our national resources. Twas always thus.
But you know what, let’s not forget this: In the longer historical arc of the United States, this is not the first time we have deviated from our ethical center. This is not the first time that we have deviated from the principles on which we purport to stand. But let’s not forget, our tendency historically has been to self-correct.
The great American dream started with those who, in the founding of this country, threw the tea off the boat and said to King George, “Hell no!” There has always been that great characterological strain in Americans.
We saw slavery, yeah, but we abolished it. We did not give women the right to vote, but then we did give them the right to vote. We did not have civil rights, and then we passed civil rights legislation. This is not to say we’re perfect now. It is to say this however: What is happening now has happened before. And I will say this also: This is worse than ever!
This is huge. Because when you have corporations, huge multi-billion dollar corporate conglomerates who don’t care, whether it’s oil or prison building or chemical companies or whatever it is that sees sucking, sucking money and profit out of whatever situation at the expense of any ethical consideration, and you have that in this toxic combination with a government who basically is in their pocket.
This is number one a big deal, but number two there is no order of difficulty in miracles and it is no big deal in the face and in the presence of an awakened people, awakened in our minds, awakened in our hearts, awakened in our guts, who have recognized, you know, yeah, the legal team of Monsanto is not afraid of us. They’re not afraid of this march. They’re not even afraid of the march around the city or around this country. They will only recognize they might have a problem on their hands if to everybody who participates here, “Oh baby, this is just the beginning!”
Because I know for instance, and everybody should have this memorized and you should have this on your refrigerator. 202-224-3121. That is the number of the capital of the United States of America. Barbara Boxer. Celebrate Barbara Boxer. Barbara Boxer, Senator from California is good on the food movement issues. Senator Feinstein is up and down. How your congress people are, you have to look it up yourself. That’s the value of the Internet. They should get to know you. These people should hear from you, “Hi, I’m Gloria Conners and this is a constituent call. Okay. I would just like to say that I really was not that pleased with what Senator Feinstein did the other day.” Okay, the guy will say, and you will explain yourself and the man will say, Okay, I will tell the Senator. Now, hell he’ll tell the Senator. But if ten of your friends also made that call, he actually will mention it to the senator at the end of the day. Do not kid yourself.
So if you’re just here for the party, that’s nice. But those of you who might just be here for the party, this is not going to make it. What’s going to make it is an awakening on every aspect of our being that is sustained, that you recognize what’s going on, that you educate yourself about what capitalism is supposed to be, you educate yourself on what the government is supposed to be, that you educate yourself about what American history, that you educate yourself, you read the paper, you see what’s going on, you call your congressman, you call your, you call your, you write your president, you write your senators, you talk to your friends, you use your social media, and you recognize that this is just one more era in the narrative of a magnificent unfolding which is the possibilities of the United States of America.
When Lord Mountbatten looked at Gandhi, he said to Mahatma Gandhi, “Little man, do you think we’re going to just give you India?” And Gandhi responded, “Yes.”
You know what? Some of these people go, What? You think we’re just going to give you the fruits away, we’re going to give you the right to do with the environmental policies whatever you want, just because you’re a democracy? You think we’re just going to give you the military policies just because you’re a democracy? You think we’re going to give you the justice system just because you’re a democracy?
They’re expecting us to not notice that we have the highest incarceration rate in the world. They’re expecting us to not notice that since the 1970s we had 300,000 people in prison. Today we have 2.4 million. They’re expecting us to not notice that an African American man in the United States today has a one in three lifetime probability of incarceration. That is morally unacceptable. They’re expecting us to just not notice. But you know what? In a democracy people do notice and that is why we’re here.
And as I said before, we’re not just here to have a party today. We’re here to just start something today. We’re gonna kick ass. And when they ask, “What do you think we’re going to do? Just give you back your democracy?” We’ll say, “Oh yeah, baby! Oh yeah!”