“Free trade” is a corporate propaganda term which is promiscuously used not only by corporate cadres and media, but among those who vaguely oppose corporate domination. One step toward replacing this vagueness with coherent discipline would be to become more disciplined in our use of language. That means, for example, not using this term, or “free market” and similar terms, other than in carefully calibrated ways highlighting the fraudulence of these terms.
European Union leaders don’t want the negotiations to include discussions on their restrictions on genetically modified crops and other regulations that keep U.S. farm products out of Europe. But Obama says it’s hard to imagine an agreement that doesn’t address those issues. Powerful U.S. agricultural lobbies will do their best to make sure Congress rejects any pact that fails to address the restrictions.
The US government is in typical Monsanto flunkey mode, raging against EU policies hostile to GMO cultivation, importation, and marketing. (I’ll note again in passing that Obama is the most aggressively pro-Monsanto president yet. This, like so many other things about him, starkly defines the side one is on, for or against humanity, and how Obama’s supporters have sided against humanity.)
Although the piece gives the impression that “the EU” is anti-GMO, this is false. European opposition to GMOs is a purely democratic, demand-driven grassroots phenomenon, and EU policies adverse to GMOs are a typical example of how, where a governmental structure feels vulnerable as the EU does, it can be forced from below to do things it doesn’t want to do. But the EU bureaucracy, like all corporatist bureaucracies, is pro-GMO. It’s been searching for years for a way to make an end run around citizen opposition. I wrote about it in 2010, commenting on an NYT piece which put on a clinic in anti-democracy attitudinizing and verbiage.
This is a good example of how “free trade” is, by its very nature, a command economy measure. Reading this or any other typical piece on the subject, you can see how it’s a supply-driven policy concocted by elites. Democracy and the good of the people are nowhere to be seen, other than as irritants which are “extremely negative…very difficult”, as an academic is quoted characterizing them. The 1% has the intent of creating forced markets for products which have no natural demand, forcing these markets upon the 99% in defiance of democracy, freedom, the environment, and any rational, demand-based economic policy, crushing all of these if necessary. Indeed, to crush democracy as such is a secondary goal of the globalization planned economy. The primary goal, as always, is corporate profit and domination.
Obama, in a talk with his export council this month, suggested this could be a deal-breaker.
“There are certain countries whose agricultural sector is very strong, who tended to block at critical junctures the kinds of broad-based trade agreements that would make it a good deal for us,” he said. “If one of the areas where we’ve got the greatest comparative advantage is cordoned off from an overall trade deal, it’s very hard to get something going.”
We see the basic bullying arrogance and hypocrisy of the US, which simultaneously pontificates about European agricultural protectionism while refusing to dismantle massive welfare subsidies to its own agricultural sector. This highlights respective places on the totem pole. Monsanto is at the top level and is one of a handful of actors who dictate US government policy. US government muscle is predominant, though the EU has enough muscle that the US can’t use brute force the way it often can with smaller, non-white countries. Indeed the US may have to settle for defeat here, the way it has in the past.
I stress that this is all because European citizens have strongly resisted GMOs. They’ve done so primarily on the merits, though also out of distrust of the EU structure as such. In principle, there’s no reason Americans and Canadians can’t do the same.
I’ll close with the AP piece’s closing quote, which is just about perfect. I can’t tell if this symbolic revelation of Obama’s evil was conscious either on his part or the writer’s part.
Of course, the rhetoric at the beginning of talks might not preclude compromise in the end. In his talk with the export council, Obama expressed optimism. He noted that austerity measures in response to the debt crisis in the EU have caused European countries to look to a free trade deal as a rare opportunity to boost the economy and improve competitiveness.
“I think they are hungrier for a deal than they have been in the past,” he said.
It would be hard to find a more perfect and vicious revelation of the predatory disaster capitalist mindset than that. It’s a confession that corporate/government-caused economic crashes are intended to help force assaults like these.