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.



  1. I’m not sure what basis Monsanto would have for filing a lawsuit over state GMO labeling laws. Would they be arguing preemption by federal law (e.g., FDA laws and regulations)? Any information you have on this would be helpful.

    The way you stop the kabuki is by lining up pro bono legal representation for the state in advance of them making the excuse.

    Comment by Tao Jonesing — May 14, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

    • It basically would be a SLAPP suit, making a bogus 1st amendment argument. This piece gives a rundown.


      At least one corporatist court accepted this anti-constitutionalism where it came to bovine growth hormone labels.

      Monsanto’s minions sued in Federal Court and won on a judge’s decision that dairy corporations have the first amendment “right” to remain silent on whether or not they are injecting their cows with rBGH – even though rBGH has been linked to severe health damage in cows and increased cancer risk for humans, and is banned in much of the industrialized world, including Europe and Canada.

      Of course, if Vermont (the briar-patched “loser” in that case) or any other state government wanted to make things difficult for such marauders they could. Once again we see how the whole system tacitly agrees to treat GMOs as fundamentally different from every other kind of food adulteration (by the logic of that court decision, no labeling requirement of any sort could stand). This is because unlike the others, GMOs comprise a necessary, structural extension of imperialism.

      Needless to say, the fact that the system wants to keep the presence of GMOs secret is facial proof of the bad faith of governments, corporations, and media. It proves that all system GMO supporters are fully aware of the evils of this toxification of our food, and are determined to poison us by fraud, and eventually by force (via the total contamination strategy). At the New Nuremburg this secrecy in itself will be enough for summary judgement.

      As for lining up pro bono public interest counsel, wouldn’t any unwilling government simply reject that. I bet they have legal pretexts lined up for why they “can’t” use such lawyers, just in case.

      Comment by Russ — May 14, 2012 @ 5:40 pm

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    Comment by Rosetta — December 10, 2012 @ 4:59 am

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