August 5, 2012

Notes on the Food Sovereignty Revolution


Humanity is at a bottleneck. Reformism is proven not to work, and instead to be a misdirectional dead end. The only way forward is revolution.
So what’s to be the form of this revolution, its philosophical basis and the wellspring of its goals, strategy, and tactics? I think the basis is Food Sovereignty. The basics of this are summed up well in La Via Campesina’s Seven Principles of Food Sovereignty. I’ve written about these basics several times, for example here (suggesting how relocalization movement strategy can be applied to them), here (showing how they coordinate with the basic principles of a food freedom movement), and here (how they coordinate with a democratic view of constitutionalism).
The imperatives are clear. Industrial agriculture is based on cheap, plentiful fossil fuels, and on mining the soil. For both of these reasons it must soon collapse, dooming billions to hunger, malnutrition, and starvation. Corporate agriculture is also slated to be the basis of humanity’s enslavement under a restored feudalism, far more vicious and miserable than the medieval variety. This is how the 1% intends to survive and maintain its luxuries post-oil. These are the physical and political imperatives forcing the Food Sovereignty revolution.
Agronomic science has established that smallholder-based organic agriculture outproduces industrial agriculture, in terms of calories and nutrients, even now. Post-fossil fuels, this margin will become infinite. This smallholder and cooperative organic farming will also serve as the anchor of true democracy, since it’s the most difficult mode of social organization to force into a centralized top-down hierarchy. (Conversely, the total dependency and biological weakness fostered by industrial ag provides the most favorable basis for centralization and subjugation, far beyond the inherently hierarchical nature of industrial ag.)
I’ll add that with a society based on agroecology, for the first time in history humanity shall achieve full, permanent employment as self-proprietors, partners, and cooperatives. (But this revolution shall render “employment” itself an obsolete concept and term, as far as the way it’s used now.)
The Seven Principles express or imply the basic elements of our world view:
1. Humanity has the right to sufficient healthy food, as such.
2. Humanity has the right to democratic control (and “ownership”) of production, distribution, and consumption. This includes all natural resources.
3. These imply social justice and full political and economic democracy.
Since we have to undergo this post-oil, post-soil mining transformation anyway, let’s do it actively, exuberantly, to the full, and to the 99%’s benefit, rather than suffer it passively, horrifically, as slaves, for the 1%’s benefit. Let’s turn humanity’s final crisis into humanity’s great liberation and new beginning.
We’ll have to muster and actively assert the evidence, that this revolution is:
1. Practically, biologically necessary.
2. The only thing that makes sense rationally.
3. The only thing that makes sense morally, philosophically, spiritually.
4. How to do it.
The goal (as an initial goal) of creating tens of millions of small, autonomous farmers and growers in America (and elsewhere) shall provide:
1. A single focusing idea which is affirmative and inspiring, as well as rationally necessary.
2. A complex of day-to-day actions upon which economically and politically to build.
3. A righteous basis for any resistance action which is forced upon us.
The broad Food Sovereignty philosophy and goal shall in turn dictate the mindset and goal for every other issue. It shall define the form of the democratic movement. It shall be our guide and our beacon. While it won’t provide the full answer to every question, it will answer the biggest ones, and will be a necessary part of the answer to them all.
So this is the idea, the cause, and the struggle which humanity must embrace and see through to the end. There’s no other way forward, to survival and to prosperity, to subsistence and to abundance. We can have it all, or we can have nothing. There’s no longer any middle ground left. That space, if it ever existed, has been squeezed out of history. The only roads left are heroism and slavery. As I wrote once before, since we’re to be conscripts anyway, let’s be Volunteers.