May 28, 2012

African Wannsee Conference; Or, Bono Parties With Monsanto


The history of corporate agriculture and its “Green Revolution” is a perfect example of the unfulfilled promises, and therefore proven lies, of corporatism.
What was the Green Revolution? With a huge one-off injection of fossil fuels, and building upon ten thousand years of agronomy, corporate agriculture temporarily increased yields within the monoculture framework.
(This shouldn’t be confused with being more productive than holistic organic agriculture. Agronomy has proven that organic yields, in calories and nutrition, are comparable and often superior to those of industrial agriculture. But this assumes a natural human agricultural economy, not a corporatized one, for naturally local/regional markets, not for artificially commodified and globalized ones. It assumes diversified smallholder agroecology, which is inherently resistant to tyranny, instead of monocropping, which was designed to be dominated by hierarchies, and is inherently hierarchical.)
The “green revolution” (literally the first bogus corporate “color revolution”) increased commodification monoculture yields only by building a Tower of Babel. The soil is stripped of all nutrition and zombified by ever-increasing applications of synthetic fertilizer. Monoculture is ever more dependent on the increasing application of ever more toxic herbicides and pesticides. Deployment of GMOs escalates these vulnerabilities. Factory farms can exist only with ever increasing use of antibiotics. All these systems are extremely tenuous, vulnerable, not robust, not resilient. They’re all guaranteed to collapse. Hermetic monoculture, and industrial agriculture as such, is one big hothouse flower which requires perfect conditions to survive.
And all that’s before taking Peak Oil into account. The Green Revolution has been the massive one-off application of fossil fuels to agriculture (in the fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides, fuel to run the machinery and globalized distribution networks). With Peak Oil and energy descent, agriculture shall return to its pre-fossil energy baseline. We have the option to apply the right political and economic dispensation, along with the agronomic knowledge we’ve accumulated in the modern era, to produce sufficient food post-oil (through relocalized organic agriculture), and to do so in such a socially and culturally more fruitful way that we end up making a virtue of necessity. This is the Food Sovereignty movement.
Meanwhile, given the industrial monoculture framework (but see here for the truly productive and sustainable agroecological alternative), the Green Revolution did temporarily increase yields. The world produces far more than enough food for everyone – over 4.3 pounds per day of a diverse diet for everyone. But this potential food bounty was never used to “feed the world” and was never intended to do so. In reality this alleged increase in the globe’s “carrying capacity” really meant a great increase in the population of the food insecure, while the West temporarily benefited from lower food prices. This was just another aspect of the West’s temporary debt economy which was meant to misdirect middle class attention away from how their ultimate liquidation was being structurally prepared. Today’s food stagflation is a sign that the party’s over.
So the Green Revolution was a scam to use cheap fossil fuels to increase monocrop yield, drive tens of millions off the land, and use the stolen land and food to render food temporarily artificially cheap for Western consumerism.
This puts in perspective the new GMO colonialism planned for Africa. Africa has so far been relatively unpenetrated by GMOs, except for cotton in South Africa which has already proven a socioeconomic and declining-yield disaster. For some years now Monsanto, its flunkey Bill Gates (via his Association for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)), and the US government via its political aggression arm USAID, have been scheming to launch a full scale GMO invasion, replicating the 19th century colonial onslaught which submerged and devastated the continent. The people of Africa, subject to every kind of political and economic assault, kept as weak and divided as possible, considered culturally and racially inferior by Western elites and elitists, will always be a prime target.
So it is with the GMO Master Plan (the “New Alliance for Food and Nutrition Security”) unveiled at the recent G8 “Global Agricultural Development” forum at Camp David (after it was chased out of Chicago), held at the same time as the NATO summit. (Why does NATO still exist? If the system doesn’t disband the army when the external threat ceases to exist, that can only mean it’s meant to be turned within, as an instrument of internal aggression and domination. Meanwhile to this day “national security” types struggle to come up with a pseudo-plausible “mission” explaining why NATO still exists.) This elite conclave basically validated the agenda already presented by its host, the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

In March, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs released a white paper calling on the U.S. government to make global agricultural development and food security a priority agenda item at the G8 Summit. The white paper, developed by a bi-partisan working group, recommends G8 members spur innovation and engage the private sector by reducing regulatory barriers, building capacity, strengthening intellectual property protections and adopting and implementing policies to increase trade in commodities and food.

They basically set out to list every policy which is evil in intent and a proven failure in practice, and call for doubling down on it. This kind of Food Austerity is parallel to finance austerity. Every crime must be continued, escalated, accelerated, intensified. Everything proven to fail must be continued. Everything proven to humanly work must be suppressed.
The plan calls for billions in “public-private” investment from GMO rackets Monsanto, Dupont, Syngenta, along with affiliated assaults like a massive synthetic fertilizer factory to be built in Africa. Of course, the money for all this will come directly or indirectly from governments, i.e. the people. That’s the “public” part of the public-private scam, while what’s left “private” is all the profit and power. The people of Africa will be left to suffer the main physical and socioeconomic devastation.
The basic Big Lie is perfectly summed up by Obama hack Rajiv Shah, head of USAID:

We are never going to end hunger in Africa without private investment. There are things that only companies can do, like building silos for storage and developing seeds and fertilizers.

We know that this is a proven lie in every sector. There is no sector, including food, where corporatization doesn’t bring deteriorating results (and ever more frequent disaster) while our prosperity, freedom, democracy, and happiness are destroyed. In this case, we know that organic production and distribution bring better practical results than the corporate system, we know that only it can sustain the environment, we know that ALL innovation in agriculture throughout history has been the result of cooperative action in the public domain, while corporate enclosure like the intellectual property regime has functioned only to smother innovation, we know that the industrial system in unsustainable in terms of energy consumption, we know that even in the West it’s no longer keeping prices down, and we know that at every point it diminishes our freedom, autonomy, and community.
(Needless to say, cooperative and autonomous farmers have developed seeds and fertilizers for ten thousand years with no help from “companies”, although in recent decades companies have been great at stealing this heritage. We’ve also been building our own silos for awhile now.)
Meanwhile the real plan for African agriculture, prosperity, and democracy, based on agroecology and Food Sovereignty, is already functioning. Here’s just two proven examples, part of what could be a vast beneficial revolution:

19. Sometimes, seemingly minor innovations can provide high returns. In Kenya, researchers and farmers developed the “push-pull” strategy to control parasitic weeds and insects that damage the crops. The strategy consists in “pushing” away pests from corn by inter-planting corn with insect-repellent crops like Desmodium, while “pulling” them towards small plots of Napier grass, a plant that excretes a sticky gum which both attracts and traps pests. The system not only controls pests but has other benefits as well, because Desmodium can be used as fodder for livestock. The push-pull strategy doubles maize yields and milk production while, at the same time, improves the soil. The system has already spread to more than 10,000 households in East Africa by means of town meetings, national radio broadcasts and farmer field schools.

20. Agroecology is also gaining ground in Malawi, a country that has been at the centre of attention in recent years. Malawi successfully launched a fertilizer subsidy programme in 2005-2006, following the dramatic food crisis due to drought in 2004-2005. However, it is now implementing agroforestry systems, using nitrogen-fixing trees, to ensure sustained growth in maize production…By mid-2009, over 120,000 Malawian farmers had received training and tree materials from the programme, and support from Ireland has now enabled extension of the programme to 40 per cent of Malawi’s districts, benefiting 1.3 million of the poorest people. Research shows that this results in increased yields from 1 t/ha to 2–3 t/ha, even if farmers cannot afford commercial nitrogen fertilizers…An optimal solution that could be an exit strategy from fertilizer subsidy schemes would be to link fertilizer subsidies directly to agroforestry investments on the farm in order to provide for long-term sustainability in nutrient supply, and to build up soil health as the basis for sustained yields and improved efficiency of fertilizer response. Malawi is reportedly exploring this “subsidy to sustainability” approach.

21…One key reason why agroecology helps to support incomes in rural areas is because it promotes on-farm fertility generation. Indeed, supplying nutrients to the soil does not necessarily require adding mineral fertilizers. It can be done by applying livestock manure or by growing green manures. Farmers can also
establish a “fertilizer factory in the fields” by planting trees that take nitrogen out of the air and “fix” it in their leaves, which are subsequently incorporated into the soil. That, in essence, is the result of planting Faidherbia albida, a nitrogen-fixing acacia species indigenous to Africa and widespread throughout the continent. Since this tree goes dormant and sheds its foliage during the early rainy season at the time when field crops are being established, it does not compete significantly with them for light, nutrients or water during the growing season; yet it allows a significant increase in yields of the maize with which it is combined, particularly in conditions of low soil fertility. In Zambia, unfertilized maize yields in the vicinity of Faidherbia trees averaged 4.1 t/ha, compared to 1.3 t/ha nearby, but beyond the tree canopy. Similar results were observed in Malawi, where this tree was also widely used. The use of such nitrogen-fixing trees avoids dependence on synthetic fertilizers, the price of which has been increasingly high and volatile over the past few years, exceeding food commodity prices, even when the latter reached a peak in July 2008. In this way, whatever financial assets the household has can be used on other essentials, such as education or medicine.

These demonstrate what organic agriculture can accomplish in Africa. (The Malawi fertilizer subsidy also demonstrates, for any “sincere” supporters of industrial ag, that if one wanted to continue with food industrialization, the way to do it is with the old public-interest agricultural investment model, which worked well, given industrial premises. That’s why the IMF set out to eradicate all such programs. But Malawi proves that if elites wanted to preside over it, they could reinstate the old public investment model. So even given the industrial premise, there’s definitely no need for corporatism and the “public-private” scam.)
They also demonstrate how the method of propagating this knowledge and political consciousness must be decentralized, through truly democratic networks which involve small farmers as full participants. The most glaring symbol of the bad faith of this elite gala is how, even as it mouths platitudes about improving the condition of Africa’s small farmers, particularly women (that part’s a sop to Western liberal feminists), it included exactly zero legitimate representatives of these groups. On the contrary, the list of participants – corporate rackets, government elites including Obama, corporate liberal front groups, and useful-idiot celebrity tinsel – reads like a Tom Friedman dream guest list. it includes every illegitimate elite alien to the Earth, and excludes every part of humanity. Just like corporatism in general, and GMO imperialism in particular.   
The fact is that there’s no yield issue as far as feeding the world. We produce far more than enough food. The only problem is with the corporate distribution system. Anyone who truly wants to feed people has to want to change the distribution of the food we have, not struggle to produce “more” within a framework which has already proven it won’t distribute that food to humanity.
Anyone who truly wants to feed the world must want to abolish food corporatism, abolish food commodification, restore natural food markets (local/regional), and build the Food Sovereignty movement based upon truly organic agriculture.
Meanwhile anyone, like these elites in Chicago, who claims to want to “feed the world” but wants to do so by doubling down on the proven failure of a “Green Revolution”, is really a liar and a criminal.
I won’t waste space writing here about my subtitle, but anyone who wants a rundown on how our liberal “celebrity” scum have been operating under Obama fascism, check it out here.


May 27, 2012

A Good Scam

Filed under: Corporatism — Russ @ 2:18 pm


If a government bureaucracy sought nothing but to unilaterally extract cash from the people, people would see it as “corrupt”.
But when a corporate bureaucracy* does the exact same thing, and is even organized in principle purely for profit-seeking, people see that as normal.
But from the point of view of the 99%, this distinction is meaningless. The two are both bureaucratic concentrations of power. The only nominal difference is that previously “corrupt” greed and kleptocracy has managed to render itself normative by changing its nominal form. It’s amazing how well this brainwashing has worked.
*For example, bureaucracy is often a pejorative. How often do people refer with deprecation or anger to the government “bureaucracy”? But how rare is it to do the same for a corporate bureaucracy? But these two nominally differing structures have overwhelmingly more in common, namely that they’re both concentrated-power bureaucracies, than any trivial differences.


May 23, 2012

Rothamsted Direct Action Against GMOs


Sunday, May 27 is the target date for direct action in Britain, as the anti-GMO, pro-farming group Take the Flour Back calls for the people to act in self-defense against a pernicious GM wheat trial at Rothamsted.
The trial is for a variety of spring wheat which would allegedly be aphid-resistant. The trial has been located close to real wheat fields as well as to natural grasslands, both of which would be highly vulnerable to contamination.
Farmers and citizens are perplexed and asking some simple questions: Given that spring wheat is such a small crop in British agriculture, that aphids aren’t a major problem for it, and that there would be no market for GM wheat (since British supermarkets have been forced by customer pressure to boycott them), why should this trial be conducted at all, let alone at significant public expense and such risk of contamination?
That last part of the question answers the whole thing, as does the response of the cadres who support the test. A technocrat/scientician blathers about “sustainability”. But natural crops ARE sustainable. Industrial agriculture, 100% dependent upon finite fossil fuels, is unsustainable by definition. GMOs, or meta-industrial agriculture, are even more tenuous, even more of a hothouse flower. Spring wheat is just 1% of the British crop, it doesn’t have major aphid problems, and what little it has is easily controlled by natural predators. Plus, British supermarkets refuse to carry GMOs. There’s no conceivable reality-based reason for this test. The lame arguments of the test supporters proves it. This is clearly a nose-in-the-tent gambit, and probably part of the general contamination strategy.
The plan, which has already worked in India, Brazil, and elsewhere, is to contaminate the environment, including conventional and especially organic crops, with genetically engineered material. This is then presented as an accomplished fact, and used as the pretext to go ahead with whatever the next GMO escalation steps are. If they weren’t yet legal (i.e., if the trials themselves were illegal), they’re now legalized. If the crop wasn’t yet approved for commercialization, that process is sped up. Government is always happier justifiying a pro-corporate status quo than having to fight to impose it in the first place. That’s why regulators in any sector are always happy to find that their corporate “clients” have taken the extra-legal initiative. That’s why almost never has any government acted to penalize contamination criminals, while many have seized the opportunity to reward the crime. That’s the goal here. The British government’s dream scenario would be for all of us to wake to tomorrow and discover all British crops GM-contaminated. That would end this whole gnarly “debate” with the peasants, wouldn’t it?
Meanwhile, those supermarkets can’t wait. Similarly, the industrial organic sector in the US is hoping alfalfa deregulation, which the USDA itself admits will inevitably contaminate all alfalfa, will render the current meat/dairy certified-organic sector untenable (since it depends on GM-free alfalfa). Both the USDA and the Whole Foods contingent dream of making the “certified organic” sector safe for GMOs. They hope to do this through a process of contamination and propaganda. The intended end goal is to be able to call GMOs “USDA Organic” and still extract the premium from the “organic” brand. It’ll be difficult for them to do this, but one shouldn’t underestimate the power of inertia and apathy. If the message seems overwhelming – “GMOs are safe, are perfectly compatible with the Organic concept, Organic is still good if it’s GM, and everything is GM anyway so There Is No Alternative, unless you want to go all the way to really knowing your local farmer or growing your own food.” – many who vaguely oppose GMOs can be expected to surrender.
This kind of gambit is a key part of Monsanto’s strategy for world domination. As one of their cadres put it:

The hope of the industry is that over time the market is so flooded that there’s nothing you can do about it. You just sort of surrender.

Today, the flacks aren’t willing to directly promote GMOs, but instead call for things like going “beyond pro- and con-“. The fact that GMO supporters constantly feel compelled to use such defensive, elliptical language, and that they have to fight to keep the presence of GMOs in food a secret from the people who eat it, has to erode their self-confidence. When you have such an overwhelming preponderance of power, it’s strong evidence of your ignobility, cowardice, feeling of vulnerability, and bad conscience, that you don’t proudly avow that for which you fight. Imagine being a GE scientician whose life’s work, whose alleged great redeeming act, is considered too disreputable to be put on a simple label! I’d have to commit suicide.
As for the lie about “never finding the answer” until all such research is done (evidently a favorite on their current talking-points list), I’ve written about that before. The people have given, over and over, as clear-cut an answer on GMOs as democracy can ever give. We have spoken, and we have said NO. The fact that filth like this group still go out spewing their lies is facial proof that they’re totalitarians, since any non-totalitarian would long ago have accepted that NO is humanity’s final answer on GMOs.
But this NO will never be completed until we also say No to continued tolerance for these criminals.
At Rothamsted, these criminals are facing a real fight from democracy advocates. In typical elitist fashion, the aggressors expound an Orwellian view of democracy, the neoliberal pseudo-democratic scam. This involves going through a legalistic process which is rigged to box out the people’s participation and true democracy (also common sense, morality, reason, science), while producing the pro-corporate result. Thus, a typical corporate technician calls direct democracy “undemocratic”. This is a typical attempt to turn the truth upside-down. As Jyoti Fernandes of Take Back the Flour says, we’ve tried system channels for years and know it goes nowhere. The corporate cadre accuses us of not wanting to debate, when we’ve tried to debate for over twenty years now (over fifty years, if we count corporate agriculture in general).

Rothamsted director Maurice Moloney said: “This act of vandalism has attempted to deny us all the opportunity to gather knowledge and evidence, for current and future generations, on one possible technological alternative approach to get plants to defend themselves and therefore reduce pesticide use.”

This is straight Ignorance is Knowledge. As this cadre knows perfectly well, the goal of corporate agriculture and its propaganda, including his own words, is to suppress knowledge of the facts that today’s agriculture produces far more than enough food for everyone; that this food is intentionally maldistributed in order to increase scarcity, hunger, and profits; that GMOs are intended to radically escalate this artificial enclosure and scarcity; that meanwhile agronomic science has established that organic agriculture can outproduce industrial even now, let alone post-oil; and that therefore all available resources should be put in research toward improving organic methods not dependent on fossil fuel inputs; and that most of all our problem is political, not one of agronomic knowledge.
The fact is that by now the only knowledge humanity needs is that corporate agriculture does not feed the world, cannot feed the world, and has no intention to feed the world, which is why it does not and cannot. The only knowledge we seem still to need is where to find the will to get rid of it.
GMO flacks like these scienticians are dedicated to destroying all such knowledge, and the very possibility of knowledge. That’s why they support a technology which is legally shielded from scientific oversight (for “proprietarian” reasons). That right there strips all pretensions to “science” on the part of the filth who work on the GMO project.
We see the need for direct action. Direct self-defense against the contamination launch pads, and beyond that a general will toward all forms of direct action, bottom-up movement-building, toward self-management and mutual assistance. System reformism will never work against this level of organized crime. This Rothamsted action is just a small one, and may fail to achieve its operational goal. But it’s symbolic of the rising global movement for Food Sovereignty and positive democracy. It’s the kind of mindset and action which needs to become typical, if humanity is to survive.

May 19, 2012

The CELDF Strategy, and Similar Actions


We’re trying to build a new society, and rebuild a natural one, based on Food Sovereignty and true democracy. The negative aspect of this is to abolish corporations and dissolve centralized hierarchies in general.
Finding focus on these simple goals is hard enough. But even among those of us who agree on the basic goals, there’s great strategic and tactical uncertainty. We can agree that in the end on bottom-up action, especially direct action, movement-building, and mutual assistance, will work. We can agree that the officially allowed modes of “action”, electoral voting and other passive, process “politics” and consumerism, cannot work.
But there’s an array of possible actions while lies somewhere between direct action and kettled process reformism which may, depending on the circumstance, the operational goal, and the execution, lie on the vector toward the great democratic goal.
The Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF) strategy for local-level constitutionalism and anti-corporate ordinances is a good example of this. The CELDF was formed to fight back against several kinds of corporate assaults which are especially tyrannical at the immediate local level – CAFOs, fracking, dumping sewage sludge on fields, water privatization and plunder; and also against the overarching legalistic/constitutional framework for these assaults, such as federal pre-emption (anti-federal, by any non-Orwellian definition of the term), the captivity of the electoral system to money (but they want to focus on local ordinances banning corporate money in local elections) as enshrined by Citizens United, and the general regime of corporate personhood and “rights”.
The basic plan is for communities to enact ordinances asserting local sovereignty and proclaim local constitutions, really bills of rights, enshrining this. The people should take back their local governments and force these to serve the community against assaults from alien governments and corporations. Better yet, we can form our own democratic councils to parallel the “official”-track action shifting the initiative from the derivative government to the direct democracy of the people. These dual-track actions would bring power and authority much closer to the true sovereign level of the people. It would reverse the pre-emption doctrine enshrined in 1788, turning it right side up. These councils/municipalities would then confederate for mutual support, and to organize broader-scale constitutional assemblies.
The CELDF recognizes that central and state level process action, including electoralism, is largely “dead”, as co-founder Thomas Linzey puts it. It recognizes the real nature of regulatory bureaucracy is to assist top-down assaults on communities rather than restrain them. It rejects the notions of corporate property and rights in principle. It would exalt the rights of citizens, communities, and nature above these. It has assisted over 120 communities and larger towns in Pennsylvania, New England, and California in passing ordinances and/or drawing up constitutional charters asserting local democracy against corporate invasions. The largest action has been Pittsburgh’s law banning fracking within city limits. As I write Vermont is on the verge of banning fracking in the state. The Local Food Sovereignty ordinances passed in several Maine towns comprise a similar campaign. Meanwhile the movement of counties and towns banning GMOs goes back decades to Marin county in California, which was followed by Mendocino and Santa Cruz counties.
GMO labeling initiatives, such as those pending in California and Oregon, are another crucial form of this movement. Meanwhile state-level legislative attempts don’t work for this, as we’ve recently seen in Vermont and Connecticut. I’ll add that Label It Yourself is the direct action which should accompany all labeling initiatives. The California initiative, assuming the election isn’t rigged, will pass but won’t necessarily be enforced in the absence of unrelenting pressure from below, such as where this direct action alternative is not only mentioned but enacted.
(If it sounds inconsistent to be optimistic about Vermont’s anti-fracking law even as it just gutted its GMO labeling law, remember that most tactical precepts aren’t carved in stone. They need to be applied to specific circumstances. The Monsanto contingent is much stronger in Vermont than the pro-fracking forces, since it’s far from clear that there’s any fracking to even be done there.)
In Europe the Network of GMO-Free Regions has deployed a full range of tactics, from passing laws to directly destroying test plots. It’s developed into a Europe-wide confederation which now coordinates and mutually assists, achieving a great multiplier at every local point. This is just like the CELDF confederation goal, which I’ll describe shortly.
Other possible ordinances could deny bank or corporate ownership of land. In North Dakota corporations are legally prevented from owning farms. That’s a great model right there.
The General Public License for Plant Germplasm (GPLPG) is an attempt to bring the Creative Commons/general public license movement to the seed front, to contest corporate seed enclosure on its own battlefield. This kind of thing is at best a supplement to decentralized, confederated heirloom seed banking and direct action against proprietary seeds. Meanwhile Creative Commons, Copyleft, etc. comprise a good alternative to the intellectual property regime and self-defense against it, but are not a substitute for complete abolition of it.
Then there’s public interest lawsuits (which also have self-interest goals; as always, the right action is an inextricable mix of altruism and self-interest) like the anti-patent enforcement Monsanto lawsuit, the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund’s (FTCLDF) suit against the FDA’s persecution of raw milk, and the recent Save Our Crops Coalition (SOCC) action against the USDA on Agent Orange corn. Predictably, even though they’re obviously right by common sense and according to the evidence, these suits are losing so far. Unlike in the case of the CELDF, the groups bringing these suits and coordinating the efforts seem to really hope to win in court, and that’s their main goal. They’re failing to use the lawsuits as participation/organization/education toward an alternative to the legal system as such. But as the CELDF shows, any such lawsuit could serve as a democratic vehicle.
The CELDF strategy isn’t meant to succeed according to the system’s own rules, but rather to provide a political and organizational framework for resisting the system’s depredations and for building a democratic relocalization movement. It’s not so much to level the playing field as to set up a new one.
Food sovereignty and positive democracy are, first of all, a set of principles. We must internalize it like the air we breathe, feel it assimilated to our very bodies, and experience any contradiction of it as an outrage. Every part of it is common-sensical and self-evidently moral and just. So we need to build the mindset, this is right. Then, wherever we see the system reject, resist, and repress it, we have a stark lesson in the illegitimacy of the system.
The CELDF isn’t naive about how well these ordinances and bills of rights are likely to fare in the system courts. The strategy doesn’t depend on “winning in court”. The plan is for communities to organize around their ordinances and constitutions, then confederate toward larger-scale constitutional conventions which would turn pre-emptive “federalism” right side up. So each community draws up its own bill of rights, and then this constitutional network is used toward building an amend-the-constitution movement. (Let me stress again, I don’t consider this sufficient, but it’s a piece of the overall movement strategy.) None of this is to say that the ordinances are “only” symbolic, or that we concede being ignored in court. This is just, this is the real law, this is the constitution, this is the right thing to do. Any legitimate court will uphold it.
Here’s the plan in their own words.

This idea that people have rights and that the state has no authority to license violation of those rights,
is the core principle, the underlying premise, for mounting a new civil rights movement for the legal recognition and protection of community rights…

The larger strategy behind organizing locally to assert rights has zero to do with relying on the courts. Adopting community rights ordinances and banning corporate activities that violate rights is an organizing strategy, not merely a legal strategy. The courts likely will not vindicate our rights; they may, on behalf of the corporations, strip them, as they have done for many years. But community rights ordinances force them to do so publicly, clearly, and not in a quiet blizzard of legal mumbo-jumbo hidden away from public attention or interest.

Exposing the oppressive conniving of state and corporate power publicly, in sharp contrast to the people’s
aspirations and sense of public justice – this is the legal goal.

Why take this route? If we are to have our rights stripped, let it not be because we failed to exercise them; let it not be because we surrendered them and settled for regulating the rate of destruction; let it not be because we zoned where our community rights could be denied, or because we adopted conditional use
regulations that amount to little more than terms of surrender. If we are to have our rights stripped by the state on behalf of wealthy and powerful corporations, let us expose it to the world as the tyranny that it is…

As it turns out, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There have been successful movements in the United States that have achieved constitutional change – including abolishing slavery and winning the right to vote
for women. Those movements didn’t focus on building a regulatory agency dedicated to regulating the number of lashes for slaves or new rules for how husbands should treat their wives – they focused instead on driving constitutional change by illustrating how the existing system was unjust and immoral. To do that, they broke existing law, forcing the system to punish them, as a clear, explicit, and public illustration of how the system functioned.

Northern juries violated the law by refusing to send slaves back to their owners, blacks sat at lunch counters
in violation of the law, women illegally cast ballots at voting places, and American revolutionaries illegally
declared their independence from England. Each of those actions served to illustrate how the existing system operated and what a new structure might look like. In the process, those actions galvanized people to join together to build movements that eventually undid the existing system permanently – not through the courts, but through changing the very structure of the existing system.

Eventually, there will be a thousand lawsuits just like the one in Blaine Township. And then a thousand more. As Frederick Douglass once noted, “power concedes nothing without demand.” We’ve become so obedient that we’ve forgotten how to refuse to submit to a structure of law that is harming us.

Some of those lawsuits may be appealed and, in others, elected officials will sacrifice their communities to
maintain the municipal treasury. Some cases may win, many will lose – but together, they will give birth to a
peoples’ movement that this country hasn’t seen since the late 1800s – a movement aimed at throwing off the authority that enables a small number of people to override community decisions dealing with energy, food, waste, and resource sustainability…

What’s the long-term goal of adopting ordinances?

Constitutional change. Since many of the doctrines – like corporate “rights,” for example, or corporate
commerce rights – are wrapped up in the constitution, State legislatures are powerless to change them (even if they wanted to). Thus, long-term, the ordinances aren’t really ordinances at all – they’re mini-constitutions which embody what constitutional change must eventually look like. To achieve that constitutional change, enough communities in enough places must begin to push-back against the structure of law, and then knit themselves together to drive changes to the state constitution, and eventually, to the federal constitution….

The inevitable result of these local refusals to follow illegitimate State law is the binding together of hundreds of municipalities to force constitutional change that overrides the authority of the State to gut community self-government. That means driving a right to local self-government into the Pennsylvania Constitution which enables our communities to begin to actually protect our health, safety, and welfare, rather than continuing to be at the mercy of gas and other corporations who solely seek to use our communities for resource extraction…

If your community hasn’t already adopted a local “bill of rights” that bans gas drilling, do it tomorrow. Without a critical mass of communities in Pennsylvania joining together, constitutional change that liberates our communities to determine their own futures will remain beyond our reach. And we will saddle our children with cleaning up the mess – and whatever is left of our communities and environment – that happened on our watch…

Here is no hypothetical calling of the corporate state to account. The question posed is this: What will lead to the exercise and protection of our unalienable rights, including the right to local, community self government? And the answer is: Nothing but the exercise and protection of unalienable rights through the exercise of our right to local, community self-government!

The activism of organizing and passing such laws, which are obviously more legitimate than the alien “laws” of the central government, and then having to fight against these alien forces for the simple right to rule ourselves, is intended to expose the truly tyrannical nature of the central corporate-government system and bring more people into the true federalist movement. That in turn will bring us to the point where we can change the Constitution, or achieve victory through bottom-up political attrition as the tyrants are unable to function once stripped of local support.
A goal here is to codify Food Sovereignty, positive democracy, and relocalization as explicit legal/constitutional principles. The more we go on record as wanting to redeem our democratic sovereignty, and the more the kleptocracy has to resort to brute lawlessness to assert its prerogatives, the more its true barbaric thug essence will be clear.
On a general level, all pro-democracy grassroots action is a tonic. Citizens are taking action, however small to begin with, directly against corporate and central government power. We’re answering “federal” arrogation and usurpation with our own version of pre-emption. We’re declaring that our people’s law supersedes, overrides, overthrows their illegitimate might-makes-right. We’re declaring the principles of true federalism, which is a vector opposed to all centralization and concentration. This is a value in itself.
If hierarchy and centralization ever made sense, it was only because the vast energy unleashed by the fossil fuel binge required them. By the same logic we must then recognize that post-oil, where the energy vector is toward far less consumption, and the economic vector is to relocalize, we must harmoniously refederalize political and economic power to the local/regional level. This is to obey the laws of history, as formulated here by the physical imperatives of energy and therefore of economics.
Constitutionalism means to govern according to the natural economic vector. Today that means Food Sovereignty, positive democracy, and relocalization. We don’t even have to dispute the motives of 1788. All we need to say is that its vector was the opposite of today’s. For that reason alone we have to turn it right side up.
As predicted, the system has so far been hostile to this effort. The earliest ordinance, an anti-mining ordinance in Blaine, PA, was forced to be repealed by corporate pressure. In response to the growing Pennsylvania insurgency the state legislature passed a pre-emption law which would turn the state into a veritable petrostate and fracking free-fire zone, with all democratic sovereignty legally abolished. In Maine prosecutors are carefully selecting a test case toward a more thorough assault on the local food sovereignty laws.
Where we fight this way, we force a more “de jure” demonstration of tyranny. Trampling a law is more easily understood by the masses than suppressing activism in general. In this sense, the movement’s use of laws and constitutionalism is a device to achieve better middle-class understandability. In this sense it’s educational, “symbolic”, movement-building. It states a “demand” which describes why citizens engage in direct action. In this way it supplements direct action. In the end it can only supplement direct action, not substitute for it.
The CELDF strategy and related actions are, in the end, trying to use these actions as exercises in direct democratic participation, as organizational campaigns, and to educate the public about corporate/government assaults on the people’s sovereignty and rights. (I call this POE: Participate-Organize-Educate.) The more we learn, the better organized we become, the more experience of democratic participation we get, the more of a taste for this participation we develop, the more we’ll build a movement which will actually fight for our food sovereignty, true democracy, and self-rule. Using the ordinance/bill of rights strategy as the vehicle toward attaining local power, within the official government as well as parallel sovereign councils, will be a self-perpetuating organizing process, and will also help build these quasi-governmental forms into real fighting structures which will render the assaults from outside and above less and less effective against us.
This stuff is important for anyone looking toward full transformation. The time isn’t yet ripe for a full-scale transformational movement. Occupy, for example, seems to be in a sophomore slump. We’re gradually, inexorably, but so far slowly building toward it. In the meantime, we need outlets for action, and we need our characteristic actions in the eyes of the public. Plus, most people will still need to try many sorts of “reform” before they finally realize that reformism does not and cannot work. While we do as much personal prepping, food-growing, reskilling and relocalization action as possible, and while we do all we can to propagate transformational ideas and evidence, we also need a suite of political action, right here right now.
We need actions which meet these criteria:
1. As bottom-up and relocalizing as possible.
2. On a vector toward abolishing the system.
3. Providing philosophical refutation of system sacred cows, and always explicitly refuting the system as such.
4. Affording real POE opportunities and execution.
This has to mean everyone’s on a vector and never stagnant. It means that every time a bottom-up reform action is smacked down, we must raise our aspirations and escalate our proclaimed goals. Above all, we must not keep doing the same thing that’s already proven to fail (the proverbial measure of insanity), and we must never regress. These comprise appeasement, which we know cannot work.

May 17, 2012

There Is An Alternative

Filed under: American Revolution — Tags: — Russ @ 6:00 am


That by itself would make a good slogan for a march banner, and for a movement.

Liberal Foodies and Work

Filed under: Corporatism, Food and Farms, Reformism Can't Work — Tags: — Russ @ 2:28 am


It’s well known that corporate liberals, even though they mouth lots of pious reform platitudes, support extractive hierarchy because they too want to live as leeches on the work of humanity. Liberal foodie types who gush endlessly about how much they enjoy working in their gardens are no exception.
As typical corporatists, they see their (chosen) garden work as at an opposite extreme from the agricultural work people are economically forced to do. They see such work as unpleasant and far too arduous, and they’re determined to avoid any such “necessary” labor. That’s what their liberal ideology is dedicated to, maintaining people of a certain class and educational background in a parasitic position even as they soothe their guilt feelings.
The ironic thing is that if we abolished corporatism, economic hierarchy, and the whole “job” model, and lived according to the principles and practices of Food Sovereignty, then everyone would get the same enjoyment and fulfillment from agricultural work as the foodies get from their hobby gardens, and this work would be far more productive for all of us.
But there I go calling for democracy, which is odious in the eyes of all elitist ideology, including liberalism.

May 16, 2012

THIS Is Where the Olympics Will Be!?

Filed under: Disaster Capitalism, Mainstream Media — Russ @ 7:05 am


Luckily, the Olympics will provide the pretext for razing this nasty place, making the world safe for democracy.
(The post title was the headline at AOL. I added some punctuation.)


May 15, 2012

Notes on the GMO “Co-Existence” Scam


The British parliament is squabbling over their own version of the GMO “co-existence” scam (C-E). Over there they’re calling it “sustainable intensification”. Allegedly the goal is to grow “more with less”. It’s really a GMO greenwashing gambit. As detractors are pointing out, it’s really an alternate vector for intensification of profiteering, while “sustainable” is just a meaningless word tacked on. Compare Walmart’s bogus sustainability gambit.
The parliament’s Environmental Audit Committee challenged the policy, proposed a set of reforms as an alternative policy, and called for a moratorium on GMO approvals.
The report said the initial focus should be on the risks of C-E. We need to be much more assertive than this. The first focus must be always on forcing GMOs to prove they have any right to exist at all. This is according to two common sense principles.
1. Where it comes to anything aggressive or disruptive, which corporate agriculture in general and GMOs in particular indisputably are, its supporters must prove the need for it to exist. What’s the alleged need? Like all previous corporate agriculture, GMOs have never solved or been intended to solve a single real problem. (On the contrary, they’re allegedly intended to double down on the problems of toxicity and pest resistance created by industrial agriculture itself.) They’re only a “solution” to the problem of how corporatism and its profits can continue to exist.
2. Where it comes to anything of dubious safety, as GMOs indisputably are, the Precautionary Principle applies. We must proceed with caution until the thing is proven safe. But “our” criminal governments have enshrined the radical policy of ideologically declaring GMOs to be safe and “equivalent” to real crops. This is how they justified abrogating the precautionary principle and performing ZERO safety testing prior to commercialization.
(GMO supporters are merely biological vectors. The GMO itself is a virus on the Earth. The carriers of this virus, the cadres of its politics, of metaphysical ideology like “intellectual property”, the professional liars in media and academia and among corporatist technocrats, are indelible disease vectors.)
“Co-existence” also violates the Polluter-Pays Principle by forcing, as a matter of government policy, all the risks and costs of GMO contamination onto the victims. It’s the USDA’s official policy that GMO propertarians have the right to trespass on the property of others, for example organic farmers. It’s 100% the organic farmers’ responsibility to try (fruitlessly) to prevent this trespass, and to bear the costs of it when it occurs.
That’s also how it’s possible for the trespasser to claim his victim actually assaulted him (like the urban legend of the burglar who injures himself and sues the homeowner – but this is real), as in the Percy Schmeisser case where, instead of Monsanto being found guilty of a tort, Schmeisser was found guilty of stealing Monsanto’s “intellectual property”. Government policy lays the groundwork for this by explicitly turning normal legal concepts upside down. This is a good example of what I’ve written previously about property as a mutable might-makes-right concept and policy.
That’s how we must understand the C-E scam. It’s an Orwellian term for allowing the total assault of GMOs on everything we’d previously considered our rights.


Useful Idiots – Food Sovereignty Case Study


While looking for some information for another post, I ended up reading some older posts at Marion Nestle’s blog. It was as annoying as one would expect, reading a corporate-state-reformist who thinks Better Hierarchy will solve the problems created only by corporatist hierarchy as such. Here’s a good example (which also includes some pro-Democrat Party tribalism).

On Monday this week [July 2009], Michael Taylor began his new job as special assistant to the FDA Commissioner for food safety. He will be in charge of implementing whatever food safety laws Congress finally decides to pass.

I know that what I am about to say will surprise, if not shock, many of you, but I think he’s an excellent choice for this job. Yes, I know he worked for Monsanto, not only once (indirectly) but twice (directly). And yes, he’s the first person whose name is mentioned when anyone talks about the “revolving door” between the food industry and government. And yes, he signed off on the FDA’s consumer-unfriendly policies on labeling genetically modified foods.

But before you decide that I must have drunk the Kool Aid on this one, hear me out. He really is a good choice for this job. Why? Because he managed to get USDA to institute HACCP (science-based food safety regulations) for meat and poultry against the full opposition of the meat industry — a truly heroic accomplishment. His position on food safety has been strong and consistent for years. He favors a single food agency, HACCP for all foods, and accountability and enforcement. We need this for FDA-regulated foods (we also need enforcement for USDA-regulated foods, but he won’t be able to touch that unless Congress says so). So he’s the person most likely to be able to get decent regulations in place and get them enforced.

(This also sheds some light on Taylor’s liberal fan club in general.)
It’s typical of reform-corporatists to seek further concentration as the solution to every problem generated by concentration. This exactly parallels the Tower of Babel of corporatism in general. Every crisis must be met, not by ending the malevolent and destructive practices which create the crisis, but by doubling down on the evil, adding another layer to the already tottering tower. Reformists are either imitative parasites on the monster, or an indelible part of it.
It’s also typical that they fail to recognize the difference between a systematic corporate totalitarian and a yahoo, and that there are sometimes disagreements between them. Consider this tableau: In the Reagan administration there were lots of deregulation zealots who had come to see deregulation as an end in itself. They lost sight of the overriding profit imperative. At that time Monsanto had settled on its master strategy, which included going all in on riding the government thug/bagman to profit victory. So they wanted a full suite of regulation, but of course pro-corporate regulation. They wanted government proclamations, certifications, PR campaigns, corporatized public-funded research, globalization assistance, aggression against small competitors, an escalated intellectual property regime, and of course monumental amounts of corporate welfare.
But on account of the fact that the administration had come to see “regulation” as bad, Monsanto had to request a meeting with VP Bush and lecture him like a small child on how “regulation vs. deregulation” is meaningless in itself, but rather that the right policy is regulation and/or deregulation, depending on whatever will increase corporate enclosure, concentration, domination, profit, power.
Similarly, Taylor had to overcome some opposition from yahoos in the meat-packer sector who were too short-sighted to see that the HACCP, while nominally representing increased regulation, was really designed to increase sector concentration and power. It has since had that effect.
But corporate liberals like Nestle see only the more scabrous bad guy who opposed something, and assume this must mean the thing is good. But that doesn’t follow at all. (There’s where we see the parallel with “progressive” tribalism – wherever a Republican opposes something, it must be good. And since Taylor was nominally a Clinton cadre, and is now an Obama cadre, it must mean he’s good. Um, no.)
(For another example, that’s how the national Sierra Club happily jumped into bed with Chesapeake Energy and fracking, as soon as Aubrey McClendon bad-mouthed the coal rackets.)
Similarly, the real world effect of HACCP is meaningless to a useful idiot reformist. All that matters is that Democratic administrations support it, while some bad guys oppose it. (Though how Nestle wrapped her mind around the fact that Big Ag supported the Food Control Act she’s shilling for here, so that there is no “bad guy” from the liberal point of view, I don’t know. I guess Party tribalism trumps all in the end.)


May 14, 2012

More on GMOs and “Representative Democracy”


Sorry I don’t have time for a longer post on this (very busy these days, but I’ll get back to longer posting soon), but I wanted to point out quickly a few typical mistakes in this reasonably good (for the MSM) piece.
Can you spot the non-sequitur?

Just over half of Americans say they wouldn’t buy a food they knew was genetically modified. Another 87 percent say they want to see GM labels at the grocery store. That’s one reason why Connecticut’s recent failure to require labeling is so surprising, says Treehugger.

One would think there’s some necessary connection between the clear will of the people and the way government should respond to this will. It looks like Treehugger fundamentally misunderstands what the government is. It’s making the typical mistake of believing the good civics textbooks about government being responsive and accountable, so that this behavior is “surprising”. It’s buying into the neoliberal scam, the preparations for which go back to 1788, of “representative democracy”. But in fact government is there to serve power prerogatives, and will be accountable to the people only to the extent that the people directly force this accountability. Government is never accountable other than out of fear. It only makes pretenses at representative democracy out of fear of true democracy.
Mistaking this fundamental character and procedure leads to further mistakes like this one.

But the biggest opposition in Connecticut didn’t come from scientists. The reason the bill failed appears to be pressure from Monsanto, which reportedly threatened state legislators with legal action. This was the same tactic that got a GM labeling provision thrown out in Vermont last month, as the one thing cash-strapped states don’t need is a big lawsuit.

This is confusing a pretext for a cause. Monsanto* is a racket particularly vulnerable to the people’s direct action and particularly dependent upon broad quasi-voluntary acquiescence. (GMO crops and IP prerogatives aren’t like a handful of oil wells – they’re rather dispersed, soft targets. There’s a reason why, in spite of favorable laws, Monsanto hasn’t penetrated the Iraqi countryside to any great extent.) It would hesitate to sue any state that would actually fight and respond with general hostility.
But these lawsuit threats are really part of a consensual dance between the racket and state governments who want to be friendly to it. Given the level of democratic support for GMO labeling, state governments are often too cowardly to vote against it (same for raw milk decriminalization). So they’re happy for the pretext the lawsuit threat provides. They pretend that this threat is too dire to contemplate (but avoid actually explaining why the threat is so dire; anyone who thinks about it even a little bit would see it for the bluff it is, and anyone who actually wanted labeling wouldn’t be deterred for a moment), and that it practically forces them to back down on public interest action.
But in reality, the government is happy to be able to use the threat as a pretext. I wouldn’t be surprised if they secretly asked Monsanto to issue such threats.
As we’ve seen ad nauseum, this scam usually is convincing to “progressives”.
[*Monsanto is at least as cash-strapped as any state. In 2010, from the Wall Street point of view, Monsanto was on the ropes. Obama’s pro-GMO escalation starting at that same time has been, in part, a Monsanto bailout.]
Finally, in case anyone’s still inclined to view the World Health Organization as any sort of implicit authority (the piece seems ambivalent), think about this.

The World Health Organization, for instance, while noting some potential human health hazards like gene transfer, maintains GM safety is a case-by-case issue.

I’ll be revisiting this kind of scam. For now I’ll just point out the fraud, anti-reason, and anti-science of any dogmatic declaration that evidence trends do not exist, that induction and deduction are invalid procedures, and that we must never draw conclusions. This is not, of course, the WHO’s normal stance. But where it comes to GMOs, its official position (along with the US government-enforced “substantial equivalance” dogma) is that each product must be taken as a stand-alone “case”, and that this “case by case” assessment must never seek to compile any evidence whatsoever from previous cases.
This is a typical example of the system’s ideology on GMOs, and typical proof of GMOs as the great structural hope for the system’s imperialism. I’ll write much more on this.


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