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.


    • This blog’s been monitoring it for a while now! It’s good to see the ideas of economic relocalization spreading, although we need to guard against its regression to reformism. Nothing will work if we self-limit ourseves to the box of “tinkering within the system”.

      System money and debt have to go.

      Comment by Russ — May 24, 2012 @ 5:43 am

      • Yes yes. It’s just nice to see some traction. I usually get glazed-over eyes when I bring this subject up around most people. Alternet is doing a whole series on the movement (I’m just encouraged by the exposure and momentum).

        Comment by Pete — May 24, 2012 @ 9:44 am

      • Yup, the ideas are spreading. I heard of this New Economy series through our time bank coordinators’ google group. There’s lots of other discussions in the mainstream blogosphere and, more and more, the corporate media (not long ago the NYT had two reasonably good pieces on time banking).

        Comment by Russ — May 24, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

  1. The EU is obviously totally pro-corporate. Even the French state is more rational:

    Comment by publiusmaximus — May 23, 2012 @ 11:30 am

    • Yes, the EU has struggled to stamp out all notions of national sovereignty, but is up against increasing resistance as people see how the whole concept doesn’t work. The only thing propping it up at all is the way Europeans fear themselves so much that many of them think they’ll be right back to constant national wars if they don’t submit to corporate overlords.

      The EFSA (who issued this anti-scientific decision, which basically boils down to a childish “No there’s not!”[overwhelming evidence of GMOs’ anti-health effects]) is overtly pro-GMO, just as much a product of the revolving door as the FDA.

      One of my links above describes how the EU’s notion of “federalism” means reposing power at whatever level will achieve the “correct”, i.e. pro-GM, result.

      Comment by Russ — May 24, 2012 @ 5:49 am

  2. I read your first link, by Guy Smith.
    Very interesting.
    I note that his primary point is not really about the desirability of GMO’s ; it’s about the nature and quality of the pro/anti GMO debate.
    In true… rational fashion, he would welcome GMO crops that would cull a larger.. market.
    And he aims his guns at “emotional” reactions about GMO’s WHICH ARE NOT RATIONAL.
    I have lost the north about this issue.
    Last week I read a lovely book by Anny Duperey, which will probably not be translated into English.
    It’s called “Le poil et la plume”, because Anny is a well known Parisian actress who has a rural property in the agricultural heart of France, on which she raises cats, and chickens, for basically… sentimental reasons, although she is not a sentimental person in the way this word is currently bandied about sneeringly, to suggest people who do not have all their neurons.
    Anny reminds us that for quite some time now, even the, uh, traditional farmers in France have been breeding chickens to weed out their capacity to sit on, thus incubate their eggs.
    Even before we got to the.. hateful practice of breeding those obese chickens who cannot move, to feed to… obese Americans/French/English ? who cannot move, either, we had used our cool neurons to understand how to cross breed for our own MARKET interests.
    So.. if I am.. logical ? I can say that GMO’s are just the next LOGICAL step in our general move to CONTROL EVERYTHING THAT MOVES, (and displace God, for example).
    It is hard to say no to them for just rational reasons. In fact, I do not believe that there is any… reason to say no to them, given the way we have behaved over the past 500 ? 1000 ? years ?( In fact, if you go way way back to the Egyptian civilization, you will find evidence of industrial type incubation of eggs.)
    That is perhaps why we are best to say no to them for EMOTIONAL reasons, and let it rest there… while proudly holding our heads up and owning up to our emotional nature. There is no.. reason ? to be ashamed of it.
    After mulling over this subject for quite some time, I conclude that many of our most virulent ? industrial problems go hand in hand with the overwhelming urbanisation of our lifestyles.
    The City Rat and the Country Rat. Living in cities induces modes of production ? organization of daily life ? which divorce us from the land, and make us increasingly insensitive to.. HER ?

    An admittedly biased view of how things are currently playing out in France :…
    The party elephants on the right and left have become so lost in the supranational stratosphere of Europe (which the French general public disowned a few years ago in a referendum, where the PEOPLE voted more than 50% AGAINST a COMMERCIAL Europe, one federated around the market, and money), that they have left the terrain open for the Front National, the vestige of France’s far right party that did some, and said some, not cool things during the Second World War, and the Algerian war.
    At this time, the Front National, and a few very obscure leftist groups, are the only ones making the case for the sovereignty of the nation state, and “traditional” values, associated with the, ahem, Republic…
    In the long run, the refusal of the technocrats, bureaucrats OR elected officials, to admit that many people do not want to bow their.. knees to the impersonal, far away supranational structures is a time bomb that will blow up in their faces, in maybe… five years ?
    That said… I can definitely recognize that the nationalist.. tourmente was behind the First, and Second World War in Europe.
    One can understand why.. people would be reluctant to ressuscitate such gunpowder…

    Comment by Debra — May 24, 2012 @ 2:52 am

    • I didn’t link that to endorse the fraudulent “let’s get beyond partisan squabbles” misdirection which is standard for criminals who have no argument. On the contrary, I explicitly condemn that “argument” in the post, and I claim that the fact that GMO proponents feel the need to resort to it is proof of their intellectual, political, and moral bankruptcy.

      The link is interesting because it’s written by just such a flunkey, and yet this trial is too absurd even for him. (It’s also to highlight where the hang-separately mentality gets you. This farmer will end up wiped out, and he personally will deserve it, since by his own testimony he’s on the side of those who want to destroy him, and against those who would help him and anyone in his position.)

      It is hard to say no to them for just rational reasons.

      On the contrary, a pure rationalist would reject GMOs on every point:

      1. It’s inherently implausible that corporatism would improve the human condition.

      2. It’s empirically proven that it does not.

      3. It’s inherently implausible that food corporatism would feed the world or do anything else it promised to do.

      4. It’s empirically proven that it does not. Industrial agriculture has already failed in all its promises.

      5. It’s inherently implausible that fossil fuel-based agriculture could be sustainable, productively or environmentally.

      6. The environmental unsustainability is empirically proven, while the production failures are becoming ever more common.

      7. It’s inherently implausible that doubling down on all this with GMOs would do anything but aggravate and accelerate all these failures and disasters.

      8. It’s just been a few years, and the evidence is already piling up. For example, GMOs do not increase yield, and are more likely to depress or collapse it.

      9. Where it comes to health, for anything so radical as genetic engineering we’d rationally apply the precautionary principle. No one who’s even a little bit rational from any point of view but power and profit would approve GMOs until extensive, long-term, systematic safety (health and environmental contamination) testing had been done upon them. Governments have of course done the radically irrational opposite.

      10. In spite of such a hostile research environment, the empirical evidence against the safety of GMOs is by now beyond any rational doubt.

      No, I’d say that even leaving aside any political, moral, or emotional rejections of GMOs (although those are all potent as well), pure rationality completely condemns them.

      Comment by Russ — May 24, 2012 @ 6:14 am

  3. According to a statement issued by Take Back the Flour, over 400 marchers tried to walk onto the site but were blocked by a line of police.


    I assume the public demonstration wasn’t the end of the intended action.

    Comment by Russ — May 28, 2012 @ 4:50 am

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