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Public discourse on nonviolent economy- Part 3

What We Can Do Together

By Subhash Chandra

Members of National Land Rights Forum in Dardiya, Nepal are doing communal agricultural farming to raise funds for their movement

If we look at the history of Taiwan, Japan and South Korea, we see that land reform sets a solid foundation towards economic reform. When you strengthen the micro economy, it becomes easier to improve the macro economy. But, in countries like India and Nepal, attention is given only to the macro economy while the micro economy is being destroyed. In this way we are building a sand palace which can collapse at any time. There are few things we can do to move towards nonviolent economy. 

First, we need to observe, analyze and understand the nature and dimensions of this economic system. For example, big companies in Nepal and India are buying huge areas of fertile lands in rural locations for commercial agriculture that displaces traditional subsistence farmers and local agricultural systems. The company produced grain and vegetable seeds are wiping out traditional local and home grown seeds, and those company produced seeds are productive only if the factory produced pesticides and chemical fertilizers are used.

Second, it is important to explore, share and discuss where and how communities around the world are creating and practicing nonviolent economic models. For example, realizing that the fuel-based economy is violent and cannot go on, many cities in Europe are using bicycles instead of cars. Communities are coming together to purchase or lease agricultural lands to develop community-centered agriculture. Practices of ethical banking are also increasing; people are going to those banks and saying, “Keep our money safe, but don’t give it to the violence manufacturing companies like Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola or gun manufacturers. Use our money to advance only the green economy.” 

Members of Manjari women Small Farmers Agricultural Cooperative in Dang district of Nepal 

Third, we need to network such successful models locally as well as globally to learn from each other, to discuss the subject matter in public and invite people’s attention not only to the situation but also to the alternative initiatives. This work is something yet to take shape and form. Ekta Parishad and Jai Jagat movement in India are taking initiatives at national, regional and international level to bring together like minded individuals and organizations towards this. In October, several international public discourses were organized virtually as part of that initiative including one in Nepal. This violent greed based economy may look too strong and big to transform or replace, and nonviolent alternatives may seem tiny and weak. Therefore, it is important for us to explore, share and discuss those initiatives; bring them together in network(s) and scale them up. 

Fourth, local communities should take initiatives to protect themselves from the negative influences and encroachment of companies and advertisements. For example, some Indian villages have started prevention and promotion movements. Prevention includes stopping the harmful things like alcohol, Coca Cola and chemical fertilizer from entering into the village. Promotion includes developing cooperative farms and organic farming techniques, and establishing community funds and so on. The nonviolent economy will not come just by wishful thinking. For this, we have to wake up groups and villages. In case you want to know the dark side of the Coca Cola

Fifth, we need to be aware of how and what we are consuming in our daily lives. We should ask several questions to ourselves: who is benefiting from my economic activities- already super rich multinational companies or small local producers? What is the carbon footprint of our consumption? Where is the source/origin of those products? Am I purchasing something because I need that or because my mind is washed for that by the advertisements I see everyday, everywhere? 

peace and social activists want to reinvigorate the ideal and the practice of simple, self-reliant and dignified living among people to help communities begin to move towards a nonviolent economy. Self-reliance means learning to live a dignified and fulfilling life with the minimum possible means; it does not mean living a lavish life.

To read part one and two of the public discourse on nonviolent economy, click here: Part 1  / Part 2