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April 18, 2014

GMO News Summary April 18th, 2014

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*Vermont’s Senate voted 26-2 to pass a state GMO labeling policy which will go into effect in July 2016. The bill will have to be voted again in the House (where it’s already passed). The governor has said he’ll sign it.
 
*The Grocery Manufacturers Association’s preemption bill against GMO labeling has been introduced in Congress. I wrote a full analysis here. This federal preemption policy would enlist the FDA to ban the states from enacting any kind of truth-in-labeling laws. Instead the FDA would be given new propaganda tools to continue its fraudulent pretense that it undertakes any “regulation” of GMOs whatsoever.
 
That the FDA does anything at all to assess the safety of GMOs and other agricultural poisons is one of the core lies of the GMO hacks. In truth the FDA has never once performed or required a single test. But it has always implicitly endorsed the lie that it does do such testing. The GMA bill is designed to intensify this campaign of lies.
 
*Testbiotech has released a thorough assessment of how all alleged “study” considered by the EFSA on the GM maize variety 1507 has been controlled by the cartel, either directly or through revolving door personnel posing fraudulently as “independent” researchers. 1507 may be approved in May in spite of the lack of any safety testing at all, as well as its rejection in votes by the European Parliament and European Council.
 
*As I’ve predicted several times before, the EC is moving to constrain and render impracticeable its “subsidiarity” policy (cf. especially p. 6 and 10-11 of the PDF) under which EU member states can institute state-level bans on the cultivation of a GM crop approved at the EU level by the Commission. Currently only the MON810 maize variety is approved for cultivation in the EU. It has been banned by ten countries, and is widely grown only in Spain.
 
But under the proposed policy change, each country would be required to make a special bureaucratic request of the applying corporation for each individual application, a priori, asking that its own territory be excluded from the scope of the application. Only if the applicant refuses will the member state then be allowed to enact its own ban. The technical criteria for such a ban to be valid in the bureaucratic courts would also be tightened. The policy proposal would further erode the Precautionary Principle and further exalt the preemptive power of EFSA assessments. The revolving door EFSA is little more than a Monsanto division.
 
Obviously this is meant to be cumbersome to the point of impossibility. Instead of taking cultivation approvals on a case by case basis, a national government is supposed to track down every pending application, assess its approval in a hypothetical way, make a future-oriented decision, and formulate a request. And who is supposed to do this – a bureaucracy which is naturally more likely to support the corporate project than a legislature which is more likely to be responsive to the public good. And then there’s the fact that the government of a day is to be able to tie the hands of its successors in perpetuity. Once again we see the fundamental hostility of the EC to democracy and to politics as such.
 
*GeneWatch UK is filing Freedom of Information requests, and now a complaint with the Information Commissioner, demanding access to withheld and redacted parts of communications between the government’s Department of the Environment, Farms, and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the GMO cartel’s lobby group the Agricultural Biotechnology Council (ABC). The information already released details coordinated media strategies and how the government keeps the lobby informed about upcoming minister speeches and policy proposals. It’s clear that little will be needed from TTIP “regulatory coherence” to increase the intensity of government/corporate bureaucratic Gleichschaltung in the UK. 
 
*A detailed account of the politics of how over 200 GM field trials were okayed in India earlier this year.
 
*I’m sure we’re all very sorry about the news that parasite commodity traders have “lost” as much $427 million in reduced US maize exports to China, because the US commodification system is incompetent to provide the uncontaminated products the buyer requests. This is a severe indictment of the entrepreneurial abilities of US commodifiers. Now the traders are squabbling with the GMO cartel about why it’s not possible to segregate the particular variety China has been rejecting, Syngenta’s MIR162 line.
 
The answer, of course, is that the commodification system is unsuited to provide versatility and diversity because it’s designed to supply the opposite, an undifferentiated monoculture commodity flow. Even more importantly, this proves contamination by unwelcome GMOs at every point of the growth and supply chain is inevitable. Over the long run segregation is impossible, just as “coexistence” in general is impossible. In some cases like this one, it’s evidently impossible even in the immediate run.

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March 7, 2014

GMO News Summary March 7 2014

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*Fresh off its success in pressuring General Mills to return to its non-GMO formulation for Cheerios, GMOInside is launching a new campaign to pressure Starbucks to use only non-GMO organic milk. Other chains have already demonstrated this can be economically successful, as has Starbucks itself since it committed to using only milk without bovine growth hormone (BGH).
 
From the abolitionist point of view, the main points of campaigns like these are:
 
1. To help build a customer base for non-GM production, which will grow and become more economical as this customer base grows.
 
2. To counteract the propaganda which depicts GMOs as an unstoppable juggernaut with our own growing publicity campaign which ever more frequently shows people how GMOs are not only harmful but are easily stoppable, that there are alternatives to them.
 
For more on retailer pressure campaigns, see here and here.
 
(Along similar lines, the Smart Balance line of spreads has claimed it’s going GM-free over the next 90 days.)
 
*Legal controversy continues in New Zealand over the authority of regional councils to regulate GMOs under the precautionary principle. The latest ruling by an Environment Court judge affirms that the Bay of Plenty Regional Council can explicitly consider GMOs in its management directives under the Resource Management Act (which itself does not explicitly mention them), and therefore rejected the government’s attempt to preemptively suppress such analysis from the Council’s regional policy statement.
 
This kind of struggle, over the very concept of GMOs as a special kind of product which needs special policy consideration, is becoming more prominent as the cartel seeks to remove GMOs completely from even the meager regulatory oversight they currently have. In particular, the cartel hopes that the impending TTIP globalization accord will provide the mechanism for the total deregulation of GMOs, and the eradication of “GMO” as any kind of category at all. 
 
While American power hierarchy currently has little in common with that of New Zealand, we can still look to this as an example of an alternative arrangement to our own status quo. The movement to achieve and enforce county-level GMO bans is one attempt to bring an alternative into being.
 
*BRIC disunity? While Russia and China are definitely planning to prevent their agriculture from coming under US/Monsanto domination, and Brazil seems also to be taking measures to preserve its agricultural independence, India’s central government is a determined US flunkey. (And not just on GMOs.)
 
The latest move is the new Environment Minister’s approval of hundreds of new GMO field trials. As Vandana Shiva explains in this piece, field trials have little practical purpose, but are primarily political exercises. I’ve made the same point myself several times.
 
*But Brazil’s also still pondering breaking the global moratorium on Terminator seeds. A legislative attempt was allowed to die on the vine in 2013, but the new Judicial Commission and Congress may try again to push through a bill which would supposedly allow for a “limited” use of such seeds. In a typical example of regulator corporatism, Brazil’s agricultural research agency Embrapa has pushed the propaganda line that the Terminator’s purpose isn’t to enforce monopoly, but merely to prevent genetic contamination. Allegedly the approval would be limited to just a few kinds of trees (their plantations accelerating deforestation). But clearly this would be just the prelude to their general commercialization across all GM crop types, the camel’s nose in the tent.
 
*A new study provides evidence that the global epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Origin (CKDu) among agricultural workers is caused by a combination of glyphosate and heavy water. This is an example of the combined effects of poisons and other environmental factors.
 
The disease, manifesting the same symptoms, occurs in separate agricultural regions around the world – Sri Lanka, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and elsewhere. This rules out any kind of local cause.
 
This is just one example of a highly toxic combined effect of an agricultural poison and a second factor. Such combinations are never considered or tested for in the regulatory process, and are ideologically denied by cartel and regulators alike.
 
That in turn is just one of the several ways in which we have proof that the regulatory process is inimical to the health of the people and environment. The impending TTIP/TPP intend to coordinate these regulators for far more aggressive action against us.
 
They’re systematically and intentionally poisoning humanity and the earth. Will we do anything about it?
 
*The protest of scientists against the politically motivated censorship by Food and Chemical Toxicology of the only fully comprehensive safety study of a GMO, the 2012 Seralini study, continues to build.
 
*A Seattle law firm is seeking wheat farmers to participate in a class action lawsuit against Monsanto for economic losses to Oregon wheat farmers in 2013 caused by the discovery of genetically contaminated wheat in Oregon. According to the announcement today (March 7) is the deadline for farmers to apply to join the class.
 
*Although establishment NGOs often do excellent journalistic work, and although abolitionists and fighters for freedom and democracy may often make tactical alliances with them, we must always be aware that in the end they’re part of the same corporatist system complex as Monsanto and the FDA, and identify with these far more than they do with the people or with the rising Community Food movement which constitutes the alternative to corporate agriculture. It’s our movement which is targeted for destruction by the FDA under the Food Control Act.
 
Where it comes specifically to GMOs, we can assume that NGOs will never fight for anything more severe than labeling, that they all want the FDA to be in charge, and that even the few who have expressed concern over FDA preemption will acquiesce in this as well.
 
But labeling, taken as any kind of sufficient end goal, is still part of “coexistence”. But we know coexistence cannot work, and that the abolition of GMOs is necessary.

 
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March 3, 2014

The TTIP and Globalization’s Corporate “Coordination” Master Plan (1 of 3)

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In October 2012 the US Chamber of Commerce and BusinessEurope issued a joint manifesto on “Regulatory Cooperation in the EU-US Economic Agreement”. This was designed to provide the basic ideological framework for the upcoming TTIP/TAFTA negotiations, as well as the specific plan for what is variously being called regulatory cooperation or regulatory coherence. To best put it in historical context, I call it “coordination”, following the German term for this kind of ideological and organizational/strategic/tactical doctrine, Gleichschaltung. The basic idea is to fully formalize and rationalize the subservience of government regulatory bureaucracies to corporate bureaucracies, and to render the service of regulators on behalf of corporations systematically aggressive and proactive.
 
To start with some definitions, as the terms are used in this and a few other documents I’ll be discussing. This is also what these terms mean for globalization and corporatism in general, and what they mean when used in the corporate media.
 
*”Trade”, “investment”, “investor”: Corporate imperative, corporate prerogative (including the right to any conceivable profit, to be enforced and/or directly paid by the government itself, as we’ll see in the case of “investor dispute settlement”), corporate power, a command economy based on maximizing these.
 
*”Stakeholder”: Corporate oligopoly sectors. The corporate persons who populate these sectors are the only recognized citizens of the globalization commonwealth, and therefore the only ones who are considered to have a legitimate stake in anything government does. Government’s proper job is to serve these corporate citizens and only these corporate citizens. This is the totalitarian principle of corporatism and the globalization command economy.
 
*”Equivalence”: The race to the bottom, for all regulation which would impose any restriction whatsoever on corporate actions. Also in some cases a race to the top for corporate welfare conveyances and regulator aggression against economic rivals of corporate oligopolies.
 
*”Cooperation”, “coherence”: Coordination (Gleichschaltung) of government bureaucracy under the control of corporate bureaucracy. The plan for corporate bureaucratic rule, still mediated mostly through the nominal control of government bureaucracy and the nominal rule of neoliberal pseudo-democracy. But it’s a significant step forward in formalizing and rationalizing actual corporate control.
 
*”Regulation”, “legislation”, “non-legislative acts”: Weapons on behalf of the corporate imperative, where possible. But can also mean atavistic (i.e. political) manifestations of democracy, which are to be fought and suppressed. These documents lay out a battle plan for the coordination of the offensive weaponry and defensive suppression measures. Under corporate leadership, government regulators are to systematically organize and act upon their inherent hostility to democracy and politics as such.
 
This is why we must reject in thoughts and words any concession to the Big Lie that globalization has anything to do with legitimate trade. Real trade is demand-based and develops naturally and organically from human economies. Globalization, so-called “free trade”, is a top-down planned economy based on intentional overproduction and the subsequent forced creation of “markets” for this overproduction. To be anti-globalization is therefore to be pro-trade in the real economic sense, and vice versa.
 
This corporate document is a perfect example of the economic planning involved in globalization. It may be taken as a general statement of what all the corporate sectors want. Following this I’ll do a similar discussion for the plans written by the GMO sector. That’ll be part two. In these corporate plans everything is always to be understood in terms of supply-based corporate imperatives (profit and control). Throughout, it’s taken for granted that the goal of the TTIP and of all globalization policy (and government policy as such) is “market liberalization”, i.e. a command economy based on overproduction, corporate welfare, dumping, coerced markets, and the total gutting of all public interest regulation. Note well that only public interest regulation and demand-side policy like local buying requirements are targeted for “equivalence” and “coordination”. Corporate welfare, such as Big Ag crop insurance, is not considered a “regulation” which needs to be “equalized” among the parties to the compact.
 
The US CoC and BE start out proclaiming that the a US/EU globalization compact has both domestic and international coordination goals. Domestically, the goal is to “enhance regulators’ efficiency and thus effectiveness in fulfilling their domestic regulatory mandates” (p.1). In other words the coordination provisions encoded here are also to control domestic regulatory policy. Globally, the goal is to “establish a clear goal” of “equivalent regulatory outcomes” for all US and EU regulators, and to “provide new tools and a governing process to guide regulatory cooperation on both a cross-cutting and sector-specific basis”.
 
There’s the race to the bottom and the plan for total coordination. “Cross-cutting” refers to the permanent and constantly expanding generic plan for regulatory coordination. “Sector-specific” refers to whatever pro-corporate floors and ceilings the TTIP specifically sets for a given sector. But since some of the corporate demands, such as completely eradicating EU GMO regulations and labeling, are so politically inflammatory that their de jure enshrinement in the compact could endanger its ratification by the parliament, the coordination plan leaves lots of things vague and intended to be settled bureaucratically at some unspecified future time, once the democratic part of the process is safely over.
 
In general, the coordination plan is meant to shift all real power and control in space and time to future bureaucratic consultations, and away from anything even pretending to be accountable or democratic.
 
This goes along with the more specific “strong and binding technical barriers to trade (TBT) and sanitary/phyto-sanitary provisions”.
 
“Obviously, a determination that specific regulatory approaches are compatible can come only after intensive study and establishment of full trust and confidence between counterpart regulators.” Regulation is to be subjected to a coordination assessment between collaborating government bureaucrats (US and EU, under the supervision of corporate bureaucrats). The paragraph goes on to describe how this assessment is to be permanent, ongoing (“evergreen”), flexible, and involve the exchange of information and the setting up of one-size-fits-all sham procedures for regulatory applications for approval, safety assessment, testing.
 
The manifesto is then divided into six sections. The Preamble (p.2) lays out the propaganda goals. These are cast primarily as meant to indoctrinate regulators themselves with a “unified vision”, in the US and EU as well as in “third countries”. It’s also meant to “give US and European citizens greater confidence in traded products and services even as it helps regulators ensure optimal allocation of their scarce resources”. This euphemism for lying while robbing means that the people are to be subject to an intensified campaign of promises and intimidation. But the term “scarce resources” indicates that more and more the propaganda is meant to instill fear and resignation rather than hope. The propaganda is also to include a heavy element of sham solicitude for “small and medium sized businesses”. In practice this means corporate contractors who are nominally independent but really indentured entities. Actual, entrepreneurial small businesses will be excluded from all these benefits, at best. And they’ll often be the targets of aggressive regulator coordination.
 
The second part describes the “Regulatory Principles” (p.2). These are said to have already been well-enshrined in earlier US-EU joint statements. The new emphasis is “to make the regulatory component of the overall agreement comprehensive”, to set a new standard for “regulatory best practices” in all subsequent globalization compacts, and most of all to enshrine the principle that governments and regulators are always to “go beyond” wherever they are at the moment, toward more intensely realizing the “market liberalization” goal, i.e. the goal of total corporate domination. The manifesto stresses that the whole coordination process is to be “evergreen”, meaning that everything in it is to be always in motion. No matter how total corporate control and domination is at any given time, regulators are to consider the project to be just beginning and to look for ways to keep it moving. This is the essence of the totalitarian mindset and mode of action.
 
The “Regulatory Outcomes” section (p.3) lays out a basic strategy for permanent action. The paper emphasizes that while full regulatory equivalence is always the ultimate goal, the immediate goal to attain at least full information sharing and a coordination framework among all government bureaucrats under corporate discipline. In other words even if the bureaucracy as a whole can’t immediately achieve total victory over politics and democracy, it’s at least building the ideology and practicing the coordination work for a world of total corporate domination. Even if full equivalence is ever attained, the concept of equivalence in itself is never to be stable, but always in motion, since in principle there is no floor which is low enough for corporate freedom, and no ceiling high enough for the burdens to be imposed on alternative, rival sectors, as well as upon political and legal concepts of democracy, citizenship, legal standing, etc., wherever these could work in favor of human beings.
 
“This process should be oriented to allow stakeholders as well as regulators to identify entire sectors and regulations within sectors which are ripe for an equivalence evaluation. Such a regulatory cooperation component will add a proactive requirement directing and empowering regulators to seek mutual recognition, as well as a process by which regulators would be required to respond to stakeholder-identified opportunities to examine equivalence – neither of which currently exist in the EU or the US.” 
 
Bureaucrats are also to see their job as to undermine existing legislative policy wherever this is counter to the corporate prerogative. The compact is to override “any statutory barriers to cooperation”. They’re to craft and enforce regulations according to corporate specifications. Lower-level bureaucrats as well as higher officials are to have an open-door policy for corporate lobbyists. They’re to be “required to respond” to corporate demands. They’re to conduct pro-corporate assessments and keep the corporations informed of everything they know and do. This is all to apply not just in “trade” contexts but in purely domestic affairs as well. It’s a blueprint for the total corporatization of nominally public bureaucracies under an ideological and disciplinary regime more comprehensive and systematic than hitherto.
 
Corporations are to be closely involved in all regulatory assessments and consultations, adding input as they see fit. But regulators are to have a “proactive requirement” to always be looking for action opportunities on their own. This is a key part of the “evergreen” concept, how everything must constantly be in motion. In the same way a Stalinist was always looking for opportunities to inform and cause arrests, while insufficient activity on this score would become a cause for oneself to be arrested, so the mark of a good regulator is always to be on the lookout for ways to render regulation ever more pro-corporate. He’s to be proactive in evading, gutting, or being aggressive, always creatively interpreting and doing, in service to the corporate imperative. 
 
The most specific attack is on the EU’s precautionary principle. The goal is to replace this in the EU with US-style “ex-post assessments”, meaning that corporations are to be allowed to do whatever they want with no restraints, and then regulators will pretend to assess the effects afterward. As we’ve seen with GMOs, this is state-of-the-art corporatist regulatory doctrine, the radical opposite of the precautionary principle.
 
1. The presumption is to let corporations do whatever they want. This is the way GMOs are “regulated” in the US. The USDA does only a superficial technical assessment, the EPA punts, and the FDA fabricates the ideological lie of “substantial equivalence” to justify its own complete lack of action and the general sham character of US regulation.
 
2. Pretend that the government will assess the result. If there are bad effects, government will impose necessary regulation later. With GMOs this would require labeling (so everyone could easily trace GMOs in the food supply) and epidemiological studies.
 
3. In practice, this assessment will never take place. In practice the US government requires neither labeling nor epidemiological studies. Yet it happily tells the lie that GMOs have been assessed in practice and found to be safe. Since no such assessment is possible without studies, and since the government never performed or required the studies, it’s impossible to know if GMOs aren’t already causing chronic health detriments. This is one of the core Big Lies of cartel and government hacks, that GMOs have been proven safe in practice. In truth there’s zero evidence for this, while the independent studies which have been done have found significant evidence against it. To repeat, government has NEVER tested at all, “ex post” or otherwise. This example, which is typical, proves that the whole notion of replacing the precautionary principle with ex post assessments is a lie. In practice it means gutting the precautionary principle and replacing it with nothing.
 
4. In practice no bad result, if independently discovered, will ever be recognized. Thus the FDA and EFSA have always seen part of their job as to run interference for GMOs against all the independent evidence of their dangers which has been compiled.
 
5. It boils down to getting the corporate action in place. Then as an accomplished fact it can never be dislodged. This is in accord with standard bureaucratic practice - once something exists, it can never be dismantled. The ideology of the “accomplished fact” is also explicit. For example a corollary lie to the canned lie about a fraudulent “scientific consensus” in favor of GMO safety (these days often rebranded, “scientific majority”) is the explicit assertion that there should be a much higher burden of proof on evidence which challenges the dominant ideology. This is fraudulently called “scientific”, but it’s self-evidently nothing but an assertion of Might Makes Right. Actual science, on the contrary, weighs all evidence in the exact same unbiased way, whether it supports or contradicts a popular theory.
 
6. That sums up the basic lie of the whole concept, whose only meaning is to remove ALL regulatory barriers. To put it another way, the goal is to completely dissolve government as such*, other than as the facilitator of the corporate prerogative and political fig leaf for corporate rule.
 
[*In which case we'd be better off without centralized government. Especially under the corporatist framework, statism is stupid from any point of view other than that of the 1%.]
 
All this is more proof that it’s in vain to look to central government regulators for public interest action. For example, the FDA never actually could meaningfully regulate GMOs, including labeling them, since this is not its function in the first place. On the contrary, its function is intrinsically pro-corporate, and this corporatist function is slated to be escalated under these globalization compacts.
 
I dwelt on this goal of gutting the EU’s precautionary principle because:
 
1. This is the #1 specific goal of the US for the TTIP.
 
2. It’s the best example of how the general goal of globalization compacts is to gut even the most threadbare public interest regulation (in practice the EC and EFSA do all they can to evade and subvert the precautionary principle; only strong pressure from the European people forces them to adhere to it to any extent; but EU regulation of GMOs, which much stronger than that of the US, is still badly inadequate) and replace it with sham principles and total freedom of action for these criminal organizations.
 
Section 4 is on “Transatlantic Regulatory Tools” (p.4). This is primarily about enshrining the formal mechanisms of Gleichschaltung. It lists some “possible factors that might trigger the formal consultative role”, including any proposed new regulation or legislation which could affect an existing sector or in an “emerging policy area or developing sector”. So regulators are supposed to call meetings to formulate pro-corporate strategy to deal with any political threat or economic opportunity, as these come up.
 
But the core provision is the ongoing “Regulatory Compatibility Analysis” (RCA) and the permanent overall coordination committee (often called a “Regulatory Council”). This is a formal mechanism to systematize the way US and EU regulators come together to coordinate all their actions, all the while receiving “meaningful input” from the corporations. The goal of it all is to “put stakeholders at the table with regulators to essentially co-write regulation”. The manifesto lists seven questions as a “starting point” for the evergreen “consultation with regulators and stakeholders” (p. 5). These all involve assessing any and all government action from the point of view of costs and savings to the corporations, how much something will “increase transatlantic trade”, whether full equivalence is or isn’t desirable in a particular case, whether or not it’s better to promulgate a regulation within the one-world bureaucracy rather than domestically, and whether or not whole realms of regulation can be dispensed with completely.
 
All of these are to be approached with tactical flexibility. The only constant principle is that every action is to be toward increasing corporate power. Everything else is always in flux, though things like seeking equivalence or completely getting rid of regulation are general principles.
 
There’s a tentative paragraph about how to square coordinated information sharing with “business sensitive” information. The only thing they’re sure about is “harsh penalties for the release of confidential business information outside of a regulator-to-regulator context”. So the compact is to standardize the persecution of whistleblowers and real journalists at a harsh extreme. (This part also gives the lie to the notion that “small and medium businesses” can be part of all this. Are they also to have access to this information sharing? Their own information will be given to the big corporations, of course.)
 
Section 5 lists the “Institutional Provisions” for the overall coordination committee or regulatory council (p. 6). This council is to coordinate communications and timetables, measure progress, propose action of its own, harmonize the actions of coordinated regulators vis “mismatched authorities” like EU member states, US states, attack “failures of regulatory compliance”, and of course “work with stakeholders” throughout.
 
So the regulators and their coordination committee, taxpayer-funded bureaucracies nominally functioning in the public interest, are really supposed to perform cost/savings analysis for the corporations, craft and enforce regulation in the public interest, and then fraudulently tell we the people how they’re really serving us. In this manifesto we have the corporations themselves telling us how what I call regulatory triangulation really works. All this means further collusion, the further binding of corporation and state into the corporate state.
 
There’s a final fig leaf on “Preserving regulator decision-making authority”, which is just a sop to the neoliberal facade. In principle regulators retain a “veto” right to declare particular products outside the scope of the coordination. Of course at this point the “investor dispute settlement” provision would kick in. As we’ll see, regulators are also supposed to give consultations and assessments of regulatory action which help ensure victory at these tribunals.
 
To sum up, the plan is to be vague and flexible wherever necessary during the negotiation of the formal provisions of the globalization compacts (the TPP has its own version of everything here), postponing the most politically inflammatory assaults for the coordination process to follow on a permanent “evergreen” basis.
 
The manifesto I analyzed here was issued by the US Chamber of Commerce and BusinessEurope. Its provisions are typical of the consensus among all corporate “trade” groups and the various sector and industry groups.
 

The proposal is clearly not just any proposal.  On both sides, many other cross-sector business groups explicitly support the proposal or suggest a similar approach in their contributions to the official consultations on TTIP, including BDI (German Industry Association), Confederation of British Industry, Coalitions of Services Industries, British American Business, National Foreign Trade Council, Roundtable on Trade and Competition, Transatlantic Business Council, National Association of Manufacturers, Eurometaux and the United States Council for International Business. Some, notably the Competitive Enterprise Institute, take a step further and demand that businesses are able to choose freely which set of standards and regulations they will apply.

On top of this, 30 business associations, including most of the aforementioned, have written a common letter to the US Trade Representative and to Commissioner de Gucht’s department to stress the importance of a system of “regulatory cooperation”. They include sectoral lobby groups from the chemicals industry, car industry, the financial sector, biotechnology, pharmaceutical industry and many more. They point to the existing structures on regulatory dialogue, the High Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum, and assert that they “can be made much more effective and should include enhanced opportunities for dialogue with stakeholders”.

 
This is explicit confirmation from the corporations themselves that their goal is total economic control and domination, to be leveraged into total political control and domination. This confirms everything I’ve written about corporate totalitarianism and that humanity’s great need is to completely abolish the de jure corporate mode of organization. We have to abolish the corporations completely.
 
In part two I’ll give a similar analysis of the specific demands of the GMO cartel, then in part three the EC’s ardent response to all this.

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February 12, 2014

It’s Official: Monsanto Wants FDA Preemption on GMO Labeling

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The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA), Monsanto’s main front group which coordinates propaganda among corporate manufacturers and retailers (who are all under the thumb of the GMO cartel), has put together a coalition of corporate groups calling for FDA preemption of state-level GMO labeling policy.
 
The press release hits all the points, calling upon the FDA to label, to perform “safety reviews”, to define the term “natural” in food labeling, to impose its own regulation on voluntary non-GMO labeling, and to preempt stronger state-level policy. This is the development I’ve been discussing since my November post on preemption. It tells us three things: It further demonstrates the totalitarian, anti-democracy goal of the GMO cartel and of food corporatism in general. It tells us that the state-level fight, in spite of setbacks, is working; it is striking fear in the corporations. And it tells us that Monsanto is confident that the FDA shall do its pro-GMO duty.
 
This also puts in perspective the propaganda of Just Label It and other ostensibly anti-GMO groups who also call for an FDA solution. Aren’t the GMA and JLI talking about the same FDA? Does JLI repose its hopes in the same place Monsanto does? Or do these labeling groups and commenters think there’s two different FDAs?
 
The fact is that there’s only one FDA, and it is pro-corporate by its nature as well as by the conscious intent of its cadres. As I explained in my preemption post (also in this post), a bourgeois bureaucracy is designed in the first place to seek pro-corporate outcomes. So the FDA will be like a fish in water if legislatively mandated along the lines Monsanto and the GMA want.
 
By contrast, if by some miracle Congress told the FDA to really label and regulate GMOs, the FDA would be hostile, obstructionist, and just plain befuddled. The result would be poor at best.
 
As I’ll be writing about at greater length, the impending “regulatory coherence” Gleichschaltung provisions in the TPP and TTIP, if these globalization compacts are ratified and go into force, will further intensify this corporation/regulator affinity.

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November 21, 2013

GMO Labeling and Movement Strategy 4 of 6: The Organizations We Need

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Parts one, two, three.
 
I’ve been saying we need to form permanent grassroots anti-GMO organizations, wherever we are or (for starters) to run parallel to GMO labeling campaigns. Here’s a basic rundown on why we need these.
 
In the context of the labeling effort, we must always keep in mind two facts which are proven by history.
 
1. Concentrated power always inertially encroaches on liberty and democracy, and often aggressively seeks to destroy them. This was one of the basic elements of the political philosophy of the American Revolution. The only solution, short of not allowing power to concentrate in the first place, is vigilance on the part of an active, responsible citizenry.
 
2. Wherever corporatism runs up against regulatory limits (the few that still exist), it will relentlessly, at every moment, seek to destroy them. The war of attrition is a constant wherever corporations exist, and wherever they find any limit whatsoever to the infinitude of their aggressive prerogatives. Corporatism is totalitarian.
 
Assuming that a labeling initiative is voted up, or a labeling bill passed, it will next need to be instituted and enforced by a government which is probably hostile to the policy. Whatever this government tries to do will face the constant hostility and counteraction of the corporations with which the government naturally identifies and sides.
 
(Here I’m talking about state governments. The FDA, of course, is aggressively pro-GMO in principle, and will never try to undertake any policy other than with the approval of the GM cartel. Any FDA labeling policy would focus primarily on preempting lower-level, stronger measures. For these reasons, it’s stupid and malign to want the FDA to take any part in this. No, anyone who truly wants GMO labeling seeks it only at the state and local levels, and completely rejects the notion of putting the FDA in charge.)
 
We can never trust any government on its own to do the right thing by the people. Similarly, we can’t trust system NGOs. These have a long history of collaborating with corporations, seeking top-down central government intervention, selling out democracy, wanting only to look to their own funding and insider influence. Sure enough, many of the outfits involved in the labeling movement openly say they want the FDA to take over from us. Others advertise their goal of finding a “solution” acceptable to the big corporations. Almost all of the “food safety” and “consumer advocate” groups have already worshipped at the feet of Monsanto and the FDA, as they supported the Food Control Act, supported increasing the FDA’s power to assault the community food sector and small farms on behalf of its Big Ag clients, and even pressured the FDA to move faster in imposing its “rules” when it was procrastinating.
 
We know what we can expect from NGO types once an initiative passes. They’ll say, “We won! Now we professionals will hold a conclave with the other stakeholders, government and corporate, and work out the details and look after the deployment. You peasants can go back to sleep. You’ve completed your role. We’ll keep you informed on behalf of the system.” Their agenda is clearly not to help we the people Take Back Our Food. We’re supposed to remain basically passive “consumers”. We’re just supposed to be a little better educated about it.
 
The first purpose of forming permanent grassroots organizations is to ensure that we the people don’t go back to sleep, and that we don’t leave oversight and reporting to “professionals”, but that we continue the job we started. Anything short of this degrades the labeling movement to a temporary interruption of the usual passive consumerist pattern instead of the beginning of active participatory democracy it needs to be.
 
A democratic movement needs its own democratic organizations. If in the course of the labeling movement we build these, we’ll come out stronger even if we lose at the ballot box. The real work toward the real goals of the future will have begun.
 
Forming a permanent organization means permanent action beyond the initial electoral or legislative campaign. In the first place, if the initiative or bill passes we must continue the campaign by turning it into a vigilance campaign. The people’s organization must monitor the rule-making, deployment, and enforcement. It must pressure the government where the government is dragging its feet or being derelict. It must keep its constituency informed and organize the direct pressure of the people on the system to ensure that our right to know is honored and we get our rightful information from the system.
 
But the nature of these organizations as vigilance/pressure groups is only their proximate action. The real goal is the abolition of GMOs. These organizations must explain the need for abolition and propagate the abolitionist idea in reformist contexts. The three basics: Reforms are not sufficient, co-existence is impossible, total abolition is the necessary end goal. In this way the grassroots organizations will serve as a bridge from reformism to fully developed abolitionism.
 
For starters, these organizations can be formed in parallel with various reform campaigns, campaigns led by system NGOs, etc. We can collaborate, join these reform groups and their campaigns, help win the reforms, all the while maintaining the integrity of our own groups, propagating the abolition idea, encouraging reformers to become abolitionists. 
 
(Many such groups won’t fully exemplify all these ideas from the outset. But as events develop, and as we see how the cartel counterattacks, how flimsy system institutions of “democracy” are, how impossible it is to co-exist (politically or physically) with GMOs or the corporations which force them upon us, how there’s no alternative to total abolition, the real fighters for freedom and democracy will become abolitionists, and the real groups will evolve to this position.)
 
What will these abolition organizations do? They’ll need to sustain themselves, and recruit writers/analysts, organizers, speakers, activists. The first task is to publicize the abolition idea relentlessly, in a focused, disciplined way, as broadly as possible so that this idea becomes part of the public consciousness.
 
1. So that GMOs are known for all their evils. In particular, that they’re recognized as a tremendous economic bottleneck, and as poisons.
 
2. Their abolition is linked with every kind of health, economic, political, social goal. They’re at the core of the general anti-poison and anti-corporatist movement.
 
3. The cartel’s position is weak, it can be toppled, GMOs can be abolished.
 
At first, this doesn’t have to mean convincing the public. The first task is to make the abolition idea something people think of on a regular basis, an idea that’s available, doable, worthwhile for all sorts of reasons.
 
Why wait for the corporate state to label the corporate product? We can label the whole system ourselves. We can label the brands, we can label the retailers, we can label the manufacturers, we can label the government bureaucracies (FDA and USDA) which serve as pro-GMO propagandists and thugs, we can label the NGOs who run interference for Monsanto, we can label GMOs in general, we can label corporate and industrial ag as a whole.
 
We can label these as unwanted, worthless, pointless, inefficient, anti-innovation, uneconomic, bad for our health, bad for our crops, bad for our food, bad for our water, bad for our soil, bad for our environment, bad for our politics, bad for our economies, bad for our societies, impossible to sustain in their fossil fuel use, impossible to sustain in their water use, impossible to sustain in their destruction of the soil, guaranteed to lead to famine and debt indenture for us all.
 
So the organization will provide day-to-day reportage, synthetic reports, analysis, philosophy. It will encourage consumers to shun GMO products, individuals to purge them from their diets, and for citizens to then spread the word about how they did this, that it wasn’t so difficult, and all the benefits that ensued. We’ll spread the word about GMOs on a personal level, foster public discussions, and undertake public presentations about them. The organizations will provide guidance on doing this and on how to get community discussion groups going.
 
Beyond this we’ll undertake whatever actions are promising, for their own sakes and to further the goals of recruitment and publicity. I’ll write more about these in Part Five. For now I’ll just say that although I’ve been writing about these permanent grassroots organizations as forming amid the context of the labeling movement, as the main form of anti-GMO activism right now, and to some extent in response to the need for vigilance/pressure groups which this movement generates, labeling is in fact just one of an array of anti-GMO actions and campaigns. It should be undertaken, not exclusively, but as one part of a broad strategy.
 
We must place all this in the context of a general critique of corporate industrial agriculture as agronomically and environmentally destructive, politically and economically inefficient, anti-innovation, stifling, and malign, unsustainable on a practical level, unable to cope with any of humanity’s needs, from providing food to providing prosperity, self-fulfillment, and happiness.
 
The war of ideas must contrast this malign system with the great affirmative solution, decentralized organic farming and agroecology as the basic agricultural solution, Food Sovereignty as the basic political and socioeconomic form of society.
 
These ideas, too, must be developed and systematically, relentlessly publicized through writing, public speaking, and interpersonal discussion.
 
Meanwhile the ground is ready for a true Community Food movement to cohere, and this political/social movement is already being built, parallel to its spontaneous rise as a new and distinct economic sector. The GMO abolitionist movement, as a vector of anti-corporate, pro-democracy ideas, is separate from but complements this Community Food movement.
 
All this is in the best participatory spirit and practice. The point is to be our own activists and have our own organization. As Lawrence Goodwyn analyzed in his great book on the 19th century Populist movement, its triumphs and the reasons for its eventual failure, this kind of movement building is the way to build the necessary individual self-respect and political self-confidence which make organization so potent. We must build the will to organize, to act cooperatively, have the fortitude and patience to build a true movement, which is the only possible foundation of all democratic politics and economic practice.
 
(As I’ll write about in Part Six, one of the problems with labeling campaigns as they’ve existed so far is that they’re typical examples of putting the political cart before the movement horse. That’s part of why so far the initiatives have been failing.)

 
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November 17, 2013

The GMO Soy Project Faltering? It’s the FDA To the Rescue!

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It’s a typical dynamic of corporatism. Corporate aggression and government nanny-statism work hand in glove.
 
In this case it’s the FDA’s proposed ban on trans fats. Trans fats are an artificially generated problem of corporate food and of the industrial soybean project in particular.
 
Soybeans, like corn, are the subjects of a US government planned economy based on maximizing production without regard to any actual demand, and then forcing the overproduction into the marketplace by any means possible. Thus processed food was reinvented to buy up as much soy as possible.
 
But soybean oil doesn’t work very well for industrial food. It quickly turns rancid. In order to give it a tenable shelf life, it has to be hydrogenated. And this fills it with trans fats. The answer is to use other oils, not to hydrogenate this one. But that would hinder the corporate soy project. So the Tower of Babel must be built higher.
 
(Meanwhile there are health risks from the industrial soy diet in general. In Asian cuisine soy is eaten in a particular way – limited amounts, mostly as a condiment, with nutritionally complementary foods. But the way unfermented soy is crammed down the Western maw generates hormonal problems, thyroid problems, and may contribute to some cancers. The answer is to eat less soy period, and to eat it the way Asians do.)
 
On account of the trans fat problem, restaurants and manufacturers have switched on a large scale to other oils. This has indeed hindered the corporate soy project. In particular, shiny new Monsanto and DuPont GMO varieties, allegedly engineered to produce a lower-rancidity fat, all USDA-approved and dressed up for the ball, are languishing with few customers and few plantings. Poor little dears. What shall become of them?
 
THIS is a job for the FDA! And for the NYT, never backward in shilling for Monsanto. According to the piece, Monsanto and DuPont have high hopes that an effective ban on partially hydrogenated oils (which the FDA proposal would achieve) would open up a big market opportunity to reclaim lost soybean oil share.
 
The goal: Build the Tower of Babel yet higher!
 
No legitimate profit opportunity? Get the government to construct a planned economy of soy productionism! No market for it? Get the food industry to massively use soy oil! Soy oil doesn’t work, because it turns rancid? Hydrogenate it! Hydrogenation makes the food so unhealthy that even the FDA has to acknowledge it? Replace the regular (Roundup Ready GMO) soy with specially gene-silenced RR soy!
 
And what to do about the even worse problems this will lead to? Never fear – when psychopathy combines with power, no problem can’t be transcended by making it even worse. 
 
The piece is laden with standard corporate media lies: That this product would benefit consumers (replacing just one of the many poisons in a product with an even worse one is not a benefit); that existing GMOs benefit farmers (as the NYT hack knows, existing GMOs cost farmers more in input costs, and further indenture them economically); that GMOs were meant to help control weeds and insects (they were meant to escalate corporate profit, enclosure, control, power, domination; meanwhile the cartel knew that weed and insect control would quickly be subject to an ever-accelerating process of planned obsolescence as the RR and Bt-expressing crops dialectically generated superweeds and superbugs against themselves; this was part of Monsanto’s business plan); that the two new varieties were safety reviewed by the FDA (a “voluntary” review, no less!). As the NYT hack knows, the FDA doesn’t require any safety tests for ANY GMO. The voluntary process goes like this: Monsanto sends a letter to the FDA saying “this product is safe”. The FDA writes back saying “we understand that you say this product is safe”. That’s it. That’s the whole thing. Monsanto goes ahead and says the FDA signed off on the product’s safety, the FDA endorses this lie, and the corporate media starting with the NYT propagates the lie.
 
(There’s also an appearance by Michael Jacobson of the CSPI, which is rapidly becoming one of the most prominent of Monsanto front groups, and Jacobson himself one of the most vile shills.)
 
Meanwhile, the double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) genetic engineering process used in these soybeans presents special health hazards in addition to all the usual ones for which the federal government never requires safety testing. Not did it require testing in this case, in spite of the fact that this technology presents such health risks that even researchers within the USDA itself called for testing.
 
As the piece ruefully admits, this may be too little too late. Most restaurants and manufacturers have moved on to other oils. (Not that these are much better – GMO canola and palm oil, just as environmentally and socioeconomically ravaging as any GMO. The point is that corporate industrial agriculture and its food system as such is a poisonous, destructive, unhealthy system that produces toxic, expensive, poor-quality food.) Soybean oil has lost significant market share since 2005. An anonymous cadre from “one of the country’s largest food companies” said his company had already largely completed the switch to canola, “so I’m not sure why we would need to switch to these other products.”
 
But the soy-industrial complex is expressing optimism, and who knows what kind of government subsidies and other corporate welfare may be deployed to drive down the wholesale price of soybeans and soy oil so that it can regain that lost market share? The only thing we can be sure of is that the farmers themselves won’t see a cent of the “benefit” the corporate media trumpets.
 
Meanwhile, as usual there’s a perfectly good alternative within the soy complex itself. “Monsanto and Dow [sic; probably a typo for DuPont] could also face competition from a high-oleic soybean developed through conventional breeding, not genetic engineering, by researchers at the University of Missouri and the Agriculture Department.”
 
This kind of caveat can almost always be added to any media puff piece touting the latest greatest GMO. Indeed, the GM varieties have almost always merely pirated such conventionally bred varieties, merely injecting them with glyphosate tolerance so more poison can be sprayed upon them, rendering them toxic and nutritionally worthless.
 
So there you have it. This product merely builds upon an already tottering structure of failure and unhealthiness, and if you insist on continuing to build, lower cost and safer material exists.
 
But the US government is never interested in pushing the conventional alternative, since this isn’t profitable for its master Monsanto, it doesn’t contribute to the totalitarian enclosure of agriculture and food the way a proprietary GMO does, and it doesn’t contribute to the overarching corporatist role of GMOs in propping up corporatism as a whole.
 
Meanwhile the true alternative, for productive agriculture and healthy, delicious food, is decentralized agroecology. 
 

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November 14, 2013

FDA Against Direct Retail Farms, Rules Under Food Control Act Being Finalized

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Even as millions of Americans are learning about the critical need to rebuild our local food infrastructure, and as the community food sector continues its exponential growth, Big Ag and its adjunct FDA are trying to smother this movement by imposing inappropriate and strangling requirements on small direct retail farms.
 
This is being attempted through what I’ve long called the Food Control Act, although its official Orwellian name is the “Food Safety Modernization Act”. This name conveys the fraudulent “war on terror” character of this top-down propaganda and policy blitz, and how its goal is to further consolidate corporate control over agriculture and the food system. Although an amendment to this law was supposed to exempt small farms and force the FDA to put its focus where it belongs, on the big corporate producers who generate all significant food safety problems, the FDA is trying to evade this exemption.
 
Under Monsanto executive and FDA “food czar” Michael Taylor, the new rules about to be imposed by the FDA would impose crushing burdens on small farmers. These rules have nothing to do with rational food safety measures, but have only the goal of smashing an economic competitor to Big Ag, i.e. the truly unsafe food system. 
 
The deadline to comment on this is Friday, November 15th. Here’s links to information pages and comment forms which have been set up by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) and the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA). Anyone who cares about the future of sustainable farming, healthy food, and democracy itself had better care about this.

 
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November 5, 2013

GMO Labeling and Preemption (Strategy Notes 2 of 6)

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1. Detroit today lies prostrate under the jackboot of direct corporatist rule. Under a Michigan law passed two years ago, the state government can, at will, nullify all democratic government at any level below itself, and impose a dictator called an “emergency manager”. This dictator answers to no one but the governor, and rules by autocratic fiat. Under this emergency management, the state is presiding over the wholesale gutting of what’s left of Detroit’s public property and the transfer of all power to favored corporations. It’s occupied territory, completely beyond the reach of democracy or the rule of law.
 
This is just the most extreme example of where the anti-democratic preemption of government power and authority by higher levels of government will lead. It’s also a typical example of the radically destructive and criminal corporate agenda on whose behalf these preemptions are always undertaken. It’s the most extreme, but not by much. Here’s two recent examples.
 
A grassroots movement in Pennsylvania has been educating people about the economic lies and environmental and social devastation of the fracking which has been ravaging the state. Among this movement’s organizing feats has been the passage of anti-fracking laws at the local level. In response to this growing movement, and under federal government pressure, the state legislature passed an aggressive preemption law gutting not only such local laws but many of the community prerogatives which already existed.
 
Oregon has been a vibrant laboratory of democracy, with several counties voting this year on ordinances banning the cultivation of GMOs. This is in response to the wholesale contamination of the state’s organic sugar beets and the recent outbreak of illegal GM wheat, as well as neighboring Washington’s outbreak of alfalfa contamination. Here too it’s been the state legislature to the rescue of alien corporations, passing a bill which would preempt all such exercise of home rule.
 
These examples demonstrate how preemption is one of the evils of our time. Louis Brandeis on the Supreme Court once lauded the states as democratic “laboratories of experiment”. But in our time of corporate domination and authoritarian-minded government, the laboratories of democracy are odious. Much like the way the Bolsheviks usurped all power within a centralized hierarchy and turned the soviets and trade unions into powerless conveyor belts of top-down policy and propaganda, so today’s corporate state wants to do with lower level governments. These are never supposed to engage in their own policy wherever this might conflict with the corporate and federal prerogatives. In particular, lower level government must never do the bidding of bottom-up grassroots democracy movements, like that for the right to know about GMOs in our food.
 
As the GMO labeling example shows, grassroots democracy is critically important for its own sake in a time of undemocratic corporate-dictated policy-making and the corruption of all regular politics into a combination of monolithic state propaganda and passive consumerist “elections”. Grassroots movements constitute real participatory democracy, democracy in action. Anything that enhances the grassroots, nurtures it, is good. Anything that stifles or tramples it is bad.
 
Taking back our politics and economies through the vehicle of grassroots democracy movements is especially pivotal in the case of food production and distribution. These are naturally mostly local/regional, and centralized government policy regarding them is likely to be at best incompetent and a hindrance to rationality and safety, and usually actively harms these. By its very nature it’s illegitimate. For every problem which faces our food freedom and safety, the solution will be found at levels of action much closer to food’s center of gravity.
 
The GMO problem perfectly sums up everything that’s stupid and malign in central government policy. GMOs were undemocratically forced into the food supply under these circumstances, with zero economic or political mandate, boosted along the way by government lies, secrecy, corporate welfare, and simple force. Democracy is now trying to reassert itself, starting by confronting the secrecy which has always been an essential part of the system’s strategy.
 
Therefore it’s no accident that by its very nature the anti-GMO movement is a bottom-up, democracy-driven idea and practice. It relies on its soil-based, grassroots nature as the source of its vibrancy, intelligence, and moral legitimacy. These are all the things we the people have and the corporations and central governments lack.
 
All they have is their lies and brute force. That’s why like clockwork, as soon as grassroots democracy becomes enough of a menace to their malign prerogatives, they resort to preemption. This always has the twofold goal of stifling and/or co-opting a particular grassroots movement, and of crushing grassroots movements as such, keeping the political game within their sterilized, kettled “free speech zone” bounds. 
 
Today the movement to label GMOs, the right to know, is facing the same monster. It’s likely that preemption will become a major battleground, as we who truly fight for the right to know will have to fight both our external enemies from industry, as well as sellouts from within the movement who want to collaborate and “cut a deal” with Monsanto. This piece is dedicated to explaining why preemption is an evil, and why it must be a law of the movement to always oppose ANY preemption in any form. 
 
2. All concepts of a federal government labeling policy would repose this power with the FDA. Many supporters of the right to know are inclined to think this makes sense. But this is on account of a misconception about what the FDA is and what its record is. The FDA has always been notorious for its pro-corporate bias and its willingness to go the extra mile to assist the corporate prerogative. Some seem to think there’s two FDAs, the “corrupt” one and the underlying good one which can be reclaimed by the people for good civics purposes. Thus we have the bizarre spectacle of how several of the same NGOs who are the best at reporting on the food-related crimes of the corporate state turn around and want to give the FDA MORE power under legislation like the Orwellianly named “Food Safety Modernization Act”, more accurately called the Food Control Act.
 
In reality, there’s only one FDA, not two, and it’s a Monsanto and Big Drug adjunct, 100%. The FDA’s record on GMOs is clear-cut, uniform, and malevolent. Any added power it gets it’ll use on behalf of GMOs.
 
A. It was the FDA which promulgated the foundation Big Lie of GMO legalization, that they are “substantially equivalent” to real crops. This was a lie on its face, since how can an ear of corn which exudes its own insecticidal poison be the same as one which doesn’t? How can a soybean plant which assimilates the Roundup poison while sustaining only partial harm to itself be the same as one which would die? And in fact the subsequent evidence has documented the vast array of ways in which GMOs are structurally, genetically, nutritionally, and behaviorally different from their non-GM counterparts.
 
But to this day the FDA persists in its version of flat earth dogma. This is because the alleged equivalence of GMOs to real crops was meant to justify the fact that the FDA approved their commercialization without ever conducting or ordering a single safety test. The fundamentalist assertion, “they’re the same, so they’re automatically safe, so we don’t need to test them”, continues to be made by the FDA to this day. With the FDA’s imprimatur, the cartel also asserts this.
 
B. When a large number of FDA scientists objected to both the “substantial equivalence” (SE) dogma and the commercialization of GMOs without safety testing, their protest was suppressed, and the FDA went on to lie in claiming a bureaucratic consensus on SE. The internal documents on what the scientists really thought only came out in a lawsuit years later.
 
C. Even though the FDA’s position is that GMOs don’t need to be tested for safety, and that’s why they never were so tested, pro-GM flacks often implicitly or even explicitly tell the lie that the FDA did test them. The FDA never corrects these lies, and therefore implicitly endorses them. This is a good example of the FDA being complicit in public obscurantism.
 
D. The FDA has always claimed it has no jurisdiction over GMOs anyway. It’s typical bureaucratic whack-a-mole. The USDA claims jurisdiction only over “plant pests” and “noxious weeds”, and technically it approves GMOs on the basis that they are not such pests or weeds. (Ironically, this jurisdiction if sincerely enforced would be sufficient to ban them completely, since it’s proven that GMOs contaminate surrounding crops and plants. But here the USDA would dodge and weave and cite the FDA’s “SE” assertion as justification for not worrying about contamination.) The EPA has authority over pesticides including Bt-expressing GMOs, but has never taken this role seriously.
 
 
Meanwhile even in principle no one has authority over the combined effect of an herbicide-tolerant GMO and its companion poison.
 
The FDA could have asserted authority over all this, since GMOs are clearly “foods”. But it chose the most derelict path it could possibly follow. Monsanto doesn’t even have to inform the FDA that it’s field testing or commercializing a GMO variety. If it chooses, it’ll send the FDA a letter saying, “We’re commercializing this product which we think is safe.” The FDA will write back saying, “We understand that you say this product is safe.” Then Monsanto will go on to publicly state, “The FDA says this product is safe.”
 
That’s exactly how it works.
 
E. The FDA’s revolving door with the GMO cartel never stops spinning round and round. “Food czar” Michael Taylor has become notorious even beyond food issues as a textbook and extremely malign example of a permanent denizen of the revolving door. But he’s only the best known. The FDA is riddled with Monsanto cadres.
 
F. In the case of GM salmon we have a rare case where the FDA does acknowledge its approval authority, and all the evidence is that the rubber stamp has been poised from day one. The FDA’s been hesitating only for political reasons, because this product has a large constituency against it, including the salmon industry and its congressional delegations from Alaska and Washington.
 
Meanwhile the FDA clearly declared its attitude toward labeling when it dismissed the demand for labels on Frankensalmon, which it had the power to impose. 
 
G. All this comprises a textbook case of how the FDA is a typical corporatist triangulator bureaucracy. Under no circumstances does it do something like weigh public safety and health against corporate interests. On the contrary, it starts with the assumption that the corporate project must go forward. The bureaucracy then may or may not attempt some meager amelioration of whatever harms the project will cause, but only within that corporatist framework. (In the case of GMOs, the FDA never even did this, but on the contrary has been the head cheerleader chanting “GMOs are safe!”) Then the bureaucracy puts its imprimatur of “safety” and “health” upon the project, and implicitly or explicitly tells the people they should go back to sleep and not worry about or become active over the issue. Our betters in government are looking out for us, and we don’t need to know or do anything.
 
In the case of FDA preemption of state GMO labeling, we’d have an explicit assertion of this anti-knowledge and anti-democracy prerogative.
 
This is the know-nothing, flat-earth, Monsanto-adjunct FDA. And this is the corporatist bureaucracy which many legislators and NGOs want to put in charge of labeling. This is clearly misguided in itself. There can be no doubt that the FDA would impose the most minimal policy it could get away with, and then would never enforce it. So even wanting central government labeling as such is a bad idea.
 
But when we consider the prospect that the sham FDA policy would PREEMPT much better state policies, we see how the concept of FDA labeling is not only inept but malign. We see how the call for a federal policy is really a scam intended to smother the labeling movement completely.
 
As the movement gathers force, and as it teaches more and more people to become not just labeling advocates but GMO abolitionists, it strikes fear in the minds of corporate and political elites. That’s why more and more of them want an FDA policy. It’s meant to ensure an ineffectual labeling policy rather than continuing to run the risk of an effective one. It’s also meant to crush the growing grassroots movement as such, by lulling enough of its activists back to sleep.
 
This would be the most extreme example yet of the FDA serving its corporatist triangulator role of controlling anti-corporatist opposition.
 
So it’s clear that even leaving preemption aside, FDA labeling is not a desirable goal. FDA labeling in itself would never be effective. If in addition to being too weak it were also preemptive, it would become an evil.
 
The right to know movement should reject FDA labeling in itself as worthless, and must reject FDA preemption as the death of the movement.
 
3. Although so far industry has focused on opposing any labeling whatsoever, the Right to Know campaign in California and the rising groundswell across the country toward labeling have caused the corporations enough fear that they’re already working on an FDA preemption policy in case they need it.
 
In January 2013 Gary Hirshberg’s AGree organization (an outfit set up for collaboration between the industrial organic sector and the broader corporate establishment) brought together FDA personnel with a consortium of twenty food manufacturers and retailers led by Walmart, General Mills, and Coca-Cola, where according to reports the corporations lobbied for a preemptive FDA labeling policy.
 
This was followed shortly an explicit call from the National Products Association for FDA preemption. Just Label It, also co-run by Hirshberg, applauded this proclamation.
 
[From its inception Just Label It has been explicit in its call for FDA labeling, though it carefully dodges the preemption issue. The role of Just Label It, in addition to raising consciousness about labeling as such, is to propagandize the people that an FDA policy is the necessary and desirable end goal, when in fact it is neither of these. On the contrary, any grassroots democracy movement is a good in itself and ought to be perpetuated, and we'll get the most effective labeling policies through the state-level laboratory of democracy.
 
In general, it seems that NGOs dodge the issue. Of the ones I checked, only the Center for Food Safety explicitly opposes preemption. Food Democracy Now and the Environmental Working Group (partnered with JLI) both seem silent. Since they're all aware of how critical this problem is, I think we have to assume that anyone who dodges discussion of it is at least willing to consider making a deal which would sell out the movement and crush the grassroots.] 
 
While continuing officially to oppose any labeling at all, both the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) and the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) have made noises about how, if there is to be labeling at all, the FDA is the proper place for it.
 
The GMA went further and was involved in lobbying congressman Fred Upton in support of a preemptive FDA labeling bill he may introduce.
 
There’s also the King amendment to the pending Farm Bill which would broadly preempt a broad range of state-level agriculture- and food-related laws, potentially including Right to Know laws.
 
Even “freelance” hack number one Mark Lynas issued a double-edged labeling statement which was rather foolishly applauded by many of the pro-labeling people. Lynas’ typically turgid and confused statement was more sarcastic than sincere, but he explicitly calls for preemption as a better outcome for the cartel than letting this continue to be fought out among democracy. That’s the takeaway.
 
Almost all of the preemption calls include the same canned argument and terminology: A centrally imposed policy is better than a “patchwork” of state and local rules. This anti-democratic meme was first propagated by Republican spinmaster Frank Luntz. (It’s beloved of Democrats as well.) “Patchwork” was one of his “Words That Work”. So wherever you see that term and any version of that argument, you know where it came from. It’s conservative, big business rhetoric.
 
4. When GMO labeling becomes a preemption battleground it’ll be the latest in a long line of such battles. The history is clear and repetitive. Industry opposes a rational and low-cost safety or public health measure. The central government and/or the states refuse to take action. Grassroots democracy rises to fill the void. At the state and/or local level the people form grassroots organizations, engage in public education, advocacy, lobbying, getting initiatives on ballots, and other forms of activism. They start to get localities and states to pass laws and rules on behalf of public health and safety. At this point industry gets scared of the measures, and governments get scared of grassroots democracy. Industry, usually with the assistance of turncoat NGOs, lobbies for a federal or state level preemption policy. Depending on the issue, it’ll be either a phony “uniform” policy which preempts stronger lower-level measures, or simply an autocratic fiat forbidding lower level government from touching the issue.
 
(The US Constitution allegedly contains such a fiat in Article VI, the “supremacy clause”, wherever the central government cares to exercise this alleged supreme power. But this was overridden by the Ninth and Tenth Amendments of the Bill of Rights, in the same way the First Amendment overrode Article I’s original injunction limiting freedom of speech only to congressmen while at the assembly.)
 
Over recent decades this has been played out on such fronts as public smoking, alcohol policy, drug policy, reproductive health, restaurant menu labeling, residential fire sprinklers, education policy, farm worker health, school food, environmental justice, and many others.
 
I list all those not to agree with every kind of local/state initiative which has ever been attempted, but to give an idea of the broad range of issues where industry or other interests used or tried to use preemption to repress grassroots action. Regardless of the issue, the rule is we must always trust democracy. That means letting the grassroots accomplish what it can without looking to upper-level hierarchy to crush it.
 
I’ll single out the restaurant labeling issue because it involves an NGO which has already been playing a malevolent role where it comes to GMOs. This is the so-called “Center for Science in the Public Interest”, which has stood apart from other consumer groups on the right to know. The CSPI is actually a de facto Monsanto front group which regurgitates straight cartel propaganda, opposes the right to know in typically elitist terms (the people are too stupid), and vouches for the integrity of revolving door personnel like Michael Taylor. Although the CSPI claims not to take corporate donations, its “biotechnology director” is a hack lawyer (with zero scientific credentials) with a long history of shilling for Monsanto. So maybe Monsanto doesn’t give them cash, but it gives them a cadre.
 
All this is in bizarre juxtaposition to the CSPI’s seeming commitment to every other kind of labeling. But in fact we’ve seen the CSPI help gut at least one labeling drive before.
 
The movement to get nutrition labels in restaurants followed the trajectory I described above. The grassroots was getting good results. At this point the industry, with help from the CSPI, got a federal preemptive bill passed. This top-down preemption was much weaker than the actual laws the grassroots was successfully getting passed. And since then, the industry has continued the fight at the bureaucratic level, and the great preemptive “compromise”, as its sellout supporters called it, has barely even been enacted according to its own meager terms. Meanwhile the vibrant grassroots labeling movement withered and died following its preemption. This is preemption’s intended goal. NGOs like the CSPI may want some kind of watered-down standard, but they also agree with industry on reining in grassroots democracy, since this is a threat to system NGOs just as much as to corporations. System NGO funding and influence depends on their being able to “deliver” an anodyne result which overrides the real results grassroots movements fight for and do in fact achieve.
 
As we can see, the CSPI’s an old pro at this kind of scam. We can expect to see them become involved in fighting against the GMO right to know as well, if it comes to a preemption fight.
 
One movement which fought its way to widespread victory, including fighting and rolling back a preemption counterattack, was the movement for smoke-free workplaces and public accommodations. There’s many reasons they succeeded where others failed, but one of the main reasons is that a coalition of grassroots organizations all agreed, as a basic law of their movement, “NEVER AGREE TO PREEMPTION” (caps in the original).
 
So this must also be a law of our GMO labeling movement, if we too wish to win.
 
5. There are already GMO preemption fights going on around the world.
 
India’s constitution, far more rational on this point than that of the US, explicitly declares agriculture to be a matter of state rather than central government policy. This is in the right direction, since food production and distribution is naturally local/regional, and so the closer to food’s natural level of gravity a government is, the more legitimate its policy is likely to be. A state will perforce have more legitimacy to make policy than a central government.
 
This has generated a big headache for Monsanto and for India’s pro-GMO central government. As India endures its ongoing catastrophic experience with GM cotton, the rising anti-GMO movement has gained significant traction in many state governments, which have revoked their “No Objection Certificates” (NOCs) which the central government must procure before it can authorize GM field trials in a state’s territory.
 
In response to this rising movement, the central parliament has repeatedly broached (but not yet voted upon) a radically pro-GMO “Biotechnology Regulatory Authority for India” (BRAI) bill which would, among other things, override the constitution, preempt all state agricultural authority, and gut all GMO protections including labeling.
 
This is the same kind of preemptive struggle we’re likely to be facing.
 
6. The grassroots democracy movement is part of our general need to decentralize power. All our problems are caused or aggravated by the evils of concentrated power, which also offers no solutions to any of these problems, only shams which double down on the destructiveness.
 
This is most true where it comes to agricultural and food problems. This stands to reason, since agriculture and food distribution and marketing are naturally part of local and regional economies, while commodification is always a destructive planned economy measure which could never naturally arise, but depends completely on corporate welfare and government force.
 
Since GMOs comprise the most extreme manifestation of this unnatural planned economy (they serve no real world purpose, benefit only a handful of big corporations, and there’s zero real demand for them among farmers or consumers, only a “market” based on corporate welfare and monopoly muscle), it’s also natural and rational that the GMO labeling movement, and the broader movement to impose democratic responsibility upon this rogue product, is a bottom-up grassroots movement.
 
Like the broader Community Food and Food Sovereignty movements, the anti-GMO movement is naturally close to food’s own center of gravity, which is close to the soil, physically and figuratively.
 
That’s why food freedom movements like that for the right to know are superb exemplars of the laboratory of democracy which a federalist system is supposed to foster.
 
The fact that the so-called federal government has so often quashed grassroots movements and smashed up the laboratories of democracy proves how undeserving it is of that term, and how much of a centralizing, tyrannical imperative it seeks to enforce. This also proves that to seek good labeling policy, or any other kind of pro-democracy policy, at this central government level is to look for something in the last place you’ll ever find it.
 
No, true supporters of the right to know must recognize and cherish the fact that the grassroots nature of our movement isn’t a purgatory we endure until the FDA swoops in to save us. On the contrary, any “leader” type who tells us this is what we should want is just shoveling another version of the same old elitist lie, “your betters will handle this for you, so the rest of you can go back to sleep.”
 
Did we awaken and fire up this movement in the first place only in order to go back to sleep? If not, then let’s extend our awareness and alertness to the truth that we not only are a grassroots movement, but this is what we want to be and must remain, all the way to our final necessary goal of GMO abolition.
 
Preemption is a mortal enemy of everything we stand for. It’s the enemy of democracy as such. It’s the enemy of effective policy, as state and local policy will always be stronger than anything the FDA ever lets itself be dragged into doing. It’s anti-business, in that it’ll help continue to enforce the economic bottleneck which is killing all agricultural and food-related innovation. For anyone who truly cares about transparency, food safety, and democracy in general, there are zero benefits in preemption, and every kind of evil.
 
The pro-democracy project Grassroots Change lays out some basic guidelines:
 
*Expect preemption attempts at the federal/state level. These may be surreptitiously added to bills.
 
*Decide in advance what’s your bottom line.
 
*Pay attention to what corporate lobbyists are doing. Mark how they start changing their line from opposition to calling for a “uniform” standard which will obliterate the hated “patchwork”. This means they’re scared of the patchwork. It’s proof that the patchwork is a good thing – effective as well as democratic.
 
*If you have any doubts about a proposed “compromise”, just look at the industry groups who support it. Why would they support it if it would effectively limit their prerogatives? Aren’t they really trying to quash an alternative which would place far more effective limits? Why are they switching from straight opposition to seeking this alleged compromise? Isn’t it because grassroots democracy is gathering force, and the corporations are afraid? (As for any NGOs who support it, are these grassroots groups? Or are they also system institutions whose interest is in the perpetuation of the system as it is, and who also feel threatened by grassroots movements?)
 
*Who will enforce this policy? It’ll be an agency which is incompetent and unwilling to enforce any policy other than the preemption itself.
 
*Never trust those who want to go behind closed doors to “represent us” in secret while we go back to sleep. We can openly push our fight, and practice transparency in fighting for transparency.
 
*Will preemption improve public health and democracy? It never has and it never will. On the contrary, it’s meant to negate the former and crush the latter.
 
*Always keep in mind that preemption is the death of grassroots democracy. This is common sense, and it’s the historical record.
 
*Corporate enemies of democracy take the long view. We must do so as well. Grassroots movements take time to win. We must be patient and never be stampeded into bad decisions because we feel like things are taking too long. We must let things take as long as necessary in order to achieve what’s necessary, and never sell this out for the quick cheap high of an insufficient “compromise”.
 
This battle will be fought and won at the grassroots political level. No matter what your other views on the rightful forms of government, it’s an established fact that any top-down central government policy is going to be pro-GMO. So to the extent we try to work through government at all, we have to do it primarily at the lower levels. At the federal level we should focus on blocking bad policy, not vainly dreaming of getting good policy. 
 
While there’s lots of diversity in the right to know movement, we must unite on this point, and make it a law for the movement. To repeat the law the smoke-free movement laid down for itself: Never agree to preemption.

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June 19, 2013

Fight Frankenfish

Filed under: Corporatism, Food and Farms, Neo-feudalism, Scientism/Technocracy — Tags: , — Russ @ 6:39 am

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A few days ago I wrote about how people who want GMO labels and bans ought to focus on pressuring supermarket chains. This is more direct and potentially fruitful than the same old song of trying to get Better Government, as with lobbying for labeling legislation*.
 
[*I know that many people are going to insist on trying to get Better Government, though I don't think we have much time left for repeating this already-failed experiment. Meanwhile the system cadres among "political professionals", NGOs, and Democrats, will never stop advocating this, precisely because they know it's ineffectual and can help misdirect and neutralize dissent. If you're going to insist on seeking government-imposed GMO labeling, at least do it as an indigenous grassroots movement. I can guarantee that if you put it in the hands of "professionals", it will fail, by design. Just like in California.]
 
There’s such a campaign right now, being coordinated by Friends of the Earth (one of the few environmental groups which has mostly maintained the principle of fighting for the environment, rather than triangulating within the corporatist framework the way most “environmental” NGOs do), which is pressuring retailers to pledge not to carry genetically modified salmon. The campaign has already gotten commitments from dozens of retailers including Target and Whole Foods Market, and is now pressuring Kroger.
 
The FDA has been fast-tracking approval of this GM salmon. The product contains a drug which makes it grow more quickly, just as growth hormone and antibiotics are used in factory farming. Same as with cows, pigs, and chickens, there’s no need to “improve” upon natural salmon in this way, other than from the point of view of corporate profit. As with all other GMOs, GM salmon is a worthless product for which there is no consumer demand. It’s being forced on the market by the corporate/government system, as part of their supply-based planned economy. The goal here as with every other GMO is to drive natural, public domain products out of our commerce and replace them with proprietary versions which are lower quality, probably poisonous, and far more expensive. As GMOs attain a monopoly, we’ll have no recourse but to pay what the monopolists demand, and submit to their control and domination in every way. That’s Monsanto’s explicitly avowed goal, that’s the goal of all of food corporatism, and that’s the US government’s goal
 
Meanwhile, assurances that GM salmon cannot escape breeding facilities and contaminate the natural population have already been proven to be lies, as such escapes are common. Here too, contamination of ecosystems, natural breeding populations, conventional and organic crops, is part of the GMO strategy. The goal is to eradicate all alternatives to the monopoly and domination of the GMO cartel.
 
If in general we feel increasingly hemmed in by government and corporate regulation, taxes, and intimidation; if we feel under the thumb of an uncanny structure run by a combination of cold, clinical policies and machines, inhuman bureaucrats, and depraved gangsters (politicians and CEOs); we ought to feel this most acutely where it comes to our food. Here, in addition to the general corporatist attempt to totally enclose and dominate our economic and political life, the assault is aimed at the core of our physical health and spiritual vitality. We can be nothing without wholesome food, and the free, creative production of this food is a core human endeavor and right.
 
GMOs and food corporatism comprise the most vicious assault on the nature and basis of humanity. Those who tout these products openly express their contempt for humanity’s physical and spiritual existence. They look forward to the day we’ll be melded with machines, which really means replaced by machines. That’s the misanthropic ideology of scientism, a flunkey of corporate power.
 
It’s ironic, but typical, that such high-falutin ideology is accompanied by such a tawdry, shoddy product. But then the haters of humanity advocate exactly the kind of “food” you’d expect them to. GMOs cannot “Feed the World”, as the Big Lie has it. It’s already proven that they yield less than conventional industrial crops, while decentralized organic agriculture has yields comparable to industrial ag right now, and will vastly exceed them in the post-fossil fuel age. Meanwhile corporate agriculture as such is proven to be unable and unwilling to feed the world. It produces enough food for 10 billion right now, yet out of 6.5 billion people on earth over 1 billion go hungry.
 
That’s proof. You can NEVER improve distribution by increasing gross production. All of history proves “trickle-down” is a lie. (And that’s all the “Green Revolution” propaganda ever was, another form of the supply-side trickle-down Big Lie.) No matter how much gross production there ever is, it will be distributed no more fairly, widely, or efficiently than the way it’s produced. The premises and practices of production will always dictate the premises and practices of distribution. No one can any longer be innocent where it comes to this knowledge, and no one any longer has any right to be ignorant of this fact. You support food corporatism, you want humanity to starve. You want humanity to eat, you abolish corporatism. You want humanity to make its own food. It’s really that simple.
 

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March 19, 2013

What To Do – First Principles

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Here’s another try at clarifying first principles, something I think still has not been done except on a purely individual basis, and rarely even there.
 
I take it as empirically proven, and as common sense in the first place, that a fundamentally criminal system cannot be reformed. If it’s a car, you can’t make it act like a boat or a plane. We’ve seen the results of driving this car into a lake, or off a cliff, over and over and over. To insist we keep on trying, the way liberals insist, with things like the Food Control Act or GMO “co-existence” (any version) or Obama’s health insurance poll tax, can no longer be called ignorance or naivete. It’s intentional misdirection on behalf of evil.
 
So by now I take it for granted that “reformism” is impractical, inexpedient, and wicked. Again, it was common sense from the start (how can you get anything but psychopathic behavior from a thing, a “corporation”, which has been formally enshrined as a mercenary psychopath in principle, from the start? it’s not a plane, it’s a car), and has been proven by the evidence record beyond any shadow of a doubt, let alone a reasonable doubt.
 
Then why do liberals still exist in the West in such large numbers? Because they lie when they claim to oppose the evils of empire and corporate domination. Just as much as their conservative twin, they support organized crime because they’re still getting some of the crumbs, and because they enjoy the pathetic vicarious sadism of feeling like they have a piece of the power and violence, although they really have no power at all. The only difference between liberals and conservatives is one of temperament – a conservative is more conscious, more “honest”, about supporting organized crime, a liberal is more of a hypocrite, has more of a lingering fake “conscience” he needs to assuage by mouthing anti-criminal platitudes. But he supports the exact same array of criminal policies the conservative does.
 
This has always been true, although the seamless continuity from the criminal Bush regime to the identically criminal Obama regime has been the most extreme manifestation yet. It looks like Obama’s real significance has been to encourage more and more liberals to dump even the fake vestige of conscience, the “compliment vice pays to virtue”, as La Rouchefoucauld called hypocrisy, and openly avow their support for aggressive war, the police state, and a corporatist command economy. This wipes out the last meager shred of difference between liberals and conservatives. I think we can call the case closed, and from here on use those terms merely to denote the tribal supporters of the identical Democrat and Republican parties.
 
In that case, what can a decent human being, advocate of democracy, enemy of the toxification of our food and environment, do? One thing she cannot do is still be a “liberal”, still be a “reformist”. These are evil in their essence, and will continue to try to suck nascent idealism into the corporate maw. I hope there won’t be many who decide in that case to give up and seek some private garden to tend. That’s a kind of desertion, and it won’t work - no matter how much you try to keep your head down and mind your own business, the enemy will still be coming for you eventually. That’s what totalitarianism does, and why it’s called by that name.
 
I think the only course open is to recognize the need for the abolition of empire, of corporatism, of globalization, of all top-down, supply-based organization; to abolish these, and replace them with purely bottom-up, demand-based organization. (Perhaps this distinction shall be more acceptable to those who still consider “hierarchy” as such to be too vague a term. Although I’d say that by definition hierarchy usurps power upward, concentrates it, and then imposes it in a top-down, supply-based way.)
 
To need this, to want it, to will it, and to fight for it, first by propagating the ideas of this fight, getting them into the public consciousness by whatever means possible; and by organizing a movement which intends to accomplish these goals, and which can sustain itself during the times of trial while the system is still strong.
 
In that case, here’s a few hypothetical questions people can ask themselves, to help clarify this first principle.
 
1. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, you could press a button and abolish all supply-based modes of organization, the corporate form, centralized government, and all things which are leeches upon these. Let’s say pressing the button would somehow accomplish this painlessly, except for whatever “pain” would then be involved in communities having to live within their natural means and not by stealing from others. Would you press that button? It seems that most Western “liberals” would not, because that would mean they could no longer live off the fruits of imperial crime. Many of their kinds of “jobs” would cease to exist, since all the phony “work” of maintaining corporatism would no longer exist. Only the real economy would still exist.
 
2. What if pressing the button would guarantee humanity’s victory, but it would also guarantee that the criminals would force lots of unpleasantness along the way. Would you still press it? This question is meant to distinguish between those who really want to abolish organized crime, which of course will use any means to try to preserve itself, and those who are really just radical-chic liberals who talk the radical talk but would run home to momma the moment things actually got rough.
 
3. What if there was no guarantee at all, other than that humanity will try to free itself from empire and create real democracy. Would you join that fight? This question is meant to get people to think about their endurance, their morale, their discipline and belly for a long fight.
 
I think time is running out for mere ad hoc contemplation. If the people are going to organize real anti-corporate movements in the West, now is the time to start doing it. That would mean agreeing on the basic principles, the basic will to renounce Western empire, deciding on a list of operational goals and necessary tasks toward those goals, and then getting to work on those tasks in a systematic, disciplined way.
 

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