The Monsanto Hearings are public tribunals where people and communities present testimony regarding the harmful impact that the Monsanto corporation has on our food, farms, communities, and ecosystems. This archive of testimonies brings together testimonies from four different hearings and will continue to expand. The reflections of individuals and communities collected here point to the possibility of bringing together a movement of resistance that is fractionalized by the diversity of ways Monsanto is implicated. Evidence from the way legacy technologies poisoned disconnected or disempowered communities to Monsanto’s concealed connivance between business and government, to the ongoing and seemingly limitless technological expansions into every realm of life all demonstrate the mutuality of need to bring their reign to an end.
We use the court as a theater to build public understanding. A trial is a familiar vehicle for evaluating harms, assigning responsibility, and making restitution. Existing law, however, has strict limits on who has ‘standing’– the right to make claims and be heard — and insists that damages be measurable in dollar value. In these hearings all living beings are potential plaintiffs, including writers, teachers, artists, researchers, farmers as well as any entities we might chose to represent. What, for example, what might bacteria in our soil have to say about the pesticide Round Up? Is there a connection between Monsanto and the collapse of bee colonies? How can we address the problem that law separates us ontologically from each other? The hearing therefore presents creative or artistic testimonies alongside more traditional forms of witness.
To date we have, with many other community activists, intellectuals, and artists organized four Monsanto Hearings in Carbondale, IL; Iowa City, IA; St. Louis, MO; and Yellow Springs, OH. In addition to acting as an archive of events that document a wealth of knowledge regarding Monsanto’s violent practices as well as oral histories of struggles against Monsanto, both human and non-human, we also hope this site will function as a tool-kit for future organizers. While working on this project we’ve developed many resources we want to share, so have a look around and please reach out if you are interested in connecting and organizing your own hearing!
Be in touch: monsanto [dot] hearings [at] gmail [dot] com.
Best Wishes, Compass!