April 26, 2012

GMO Labels and Corporate Liberals


Why Not Label GMOs?, asks this not-untypical editorial. (Studies of the media have found near-unanimous support for GMO commercialization, but a split on mandatory labeling.)

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already requires food manufacturers to list ingredients, nutrition facts and common allergens. Why make an exception for genetically modified ingredients?

It’s obvious, isn’t it? Sunshine is not only a basic principle of democracy, which everyone at least claims to respect. It’s also a bedrock premise of consumerism and the “free market” ideology. So how could anyone legitimately oppose it? I think we’ll find that GMO labeling is a handy litmus test to differentiate real believers in democracy from those who lie about the way they actually hold it in contempt. Without exception, all arguments against mandatory labeling boil down to “the people are too stupid to understand such labels.” Of course, even if that were true it wouldn’t make a difference – if you support democracy you have to support its practice, taking the bad with the good. But in truth the people understand GMO labels perfectly well. Humanity has always rejected GMOs on the perfectly sound, rational ground of the precautionary principle. We don’t know if it’s safe, there’s good reason to believe it’s not safe, we don’t need it in the first place, on the contrary it’s the escalation of a food system already proven to fail according to all its promises, so a rational person would reject it.
One place where this issue helps flush out the traitors is among the “food safety” groups. The Center for Food Safety, in spite of some pernicious positions like its support for the Food Control Act, has been strong on GMOs. By contrast the so-called “center for science in the public interest” (CSPI), in direct contradiction of its name, its alleged principles, and its advocacy at every other point, has been implicitly pro-GMO (no doubt only cowardice keeps it from making its support explicit; but it does regurgitate corporate propaganda at its biotech page (several links at the post I just linked)). Its executive director went so far as to personally vouch for the career of Michael Taylor, one of the most notorious corporate thugs and corrupt revolving-door transitors. (“Corrupt” by liberal good-government standards, that is. By that standard the CSPI is similarly corrupt.)
The CSPI’s advocacy is all about labeling. This is its default prescription for pretty much everything. That, plus the general default in favor of democratic transparency, ought to mean that if nothing else it should be at the forefront of advocating mandatory GMO labeling. That renders its absolute silence on the issue all the more glaring. (I guess they’re too cowardly to actually oppose labeling, so instead they go silent.)
Why would an outfit like the CSPI be such ballbreakers where it comes to labeling every other kind of additive, demanding nutrition labels on fast food, etc., but omit labels for this kind of adulteration? This provides a clue to the real nature of GMO imperialism. For savvy corporate liberals like this group, it’s the difference between wanting some regulation of things like regular additives, which are just details of secondary importance, as opposed to regulations which would compromise the integrity of the structure itself. It makes little big-picture difference whether a particular additive is subject to labeling, or is even banned as a carcinogen. But GMOs as such are not a structural detail. On the contrary, they comprise an attempt to replace the entire existing food structure, and beyond that vast swaths of Gaia’s biological structure, with themselves. Therefore any regulation which would compromise the general freedom of the GMO imperative is taboo. Here corporate liberals join hands with regular conservatives. The CSPI provides an example of where the boundary of regulation-seeking lies. This is a good example of the role of corporate liberal cadres in general, and in turn their role within neoliberalism provides insight into the basic scam of neoliberal tyranny itself.



  1. Isn’t it curious that the people are too stupid too understand GMO labeling, but they’re not too stupid to automatically know what “Disodium Inosinate” is? Fair is fair-I guess they’d better remove all the labeling if it’s dependent upon our puny little intelligence.

    Comment by DualPersonality — April 26, 2012 @ 9:41 pm

    • Good point. Clearly the problem with GMO labels, from the system point of view, is that they’re all too legible.

      It’s true that where it comes to some kinds of things, the CSPI and others call for additional government warning labels. The best known example is the surgeon general’s warning on cigarettes.

      Again we see how liberal corporatists understand the structural difference where it comes to GMOs. Not only shouldn’t they be labeled, but if they’re to be labeled at all, or if conversely products are to be labeled “No GMOs”, “GMO Free”, “No Growth Hormones”, etc., they should be required to carry a government label propagating the lie that there’s no difference between GMOs and real food. In addition to violating the first amendment, this anti-label (as we can call it) is a pure example of a Big Lie. “Substantial equivalence” was never anything but conscious, cynical, Streicherist ideological dogma from day one. No one within the system ever actually believed it. Even by their rigged “law”, it’s massive consumer fraud, criminally culpable. That’s “our” government, the same one the “progressives” think can be reformed (another aspect of their pernicious role within neoliberalism).

      Comment by Russ — April 27, 2012 @ 5:55 am

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