As an abolitionist, I’m unwilling to “be patient” again at the behest of the same corporate liberal types who have told so many lies about being patient before. I also can’t abide new efforts which end up parroting that same call for patience. We KNOW that the corporate state will never act on behalf of the people, but will only ever assault, subvert, and degrade our rights, our freedoms, our health, our economic and political viability and vitality.
Therefore, although I can understand the excitement over the apparently imminent passage* of Connecticut’s Right to Know GMO labeling act, I cannot share in it nor can I agree to wait the interminable wait until the “trigger” conditions are met. Four more states have to pass such laws, one of them has to be contiguous to CT, they have to comprise a population of at least 20 million according to the US census, one of them has to be called “New York”.
(That last one is no longer explicit in the law, but it was in a previous draft, and the trigger conditions still make it a de facto requirement. It’s clear that the “trigger” is meant to play a role similar to “safety valves” and “off-ramps” in cap-and-trade legislation: To ensure the legislation is never effective in practice. The only difference is that the latter are meant to suppress a policy’s effect if it ever starts actually changing something, while the former is meant to prevent it from nominally going into effect in the first place. The political effect is intended to be the same: Politicians and system liberal types get to piously proclaim they’ve done something, corporations and conservatives get to condemn this alleged restraint upon them, activists and citizens can be told “you have to be patient, let the law take its time to work, you have to wait”, while time is wasted, nothing is ever done, the people are left further demoralized, and corporatism continues its inexorable advance.)
Nor, even if these improbable conditions were met, could I wait the next wait for the state to effectively enforce this law. Nor could I wait while the all the lawsuits played out.
All this time the labeling advocates would have to be educating the public about what these labels will mean. (These campaigns DO have such educational plans in place, right?) Why not just educate them now about what GMOs themselves mean, and why we need their total abolition!
Why wait for the corporate state to label the corporate product? We can label the whole system ourselves, directly. (And physically, with our own GMO stickers.) We can label the brands, we can label the retailers, we can label the manufacturers, we can label the government bureaucracies (USDA and FDA) which serve as GMO propagandists and thugs, we can label the NGOs who run interference for Monsanto, we can label Monsanto, we can label GMOs in general, we can label corporate and industrial ag as a whole.
We can label these as unwanted, worthless, pointless, inefficient, uneconomic, bad for our health, bad for our crops, bad for our soil, bad for our environment, bad for our politics, bad for our economies, bad for our societies, impossible to sustain in their fossil fuel use, impossible to sustain in their water use, impossible to sustain in their phosphorus use, guaranteed to lead to mass famine and feudal enslavement.
That sounds like a lot of work to do! Enough for many lifetimes. Not to mention the organizational movement-building and direct action that follow from it. So how could we have the luxury of waiting, in order to undertake a vastly diminished educational and action campaign? This would be insufficient, to be polite about it.
No, we must be clear that labeling, even if it could be fully achieved immediately, is insufficient for the great need of humanity and the earth to be free of GMOs and of food corporatism. The indefinitely-delayed achievement of an anodyne labeling regime, this thing we’re now supposed to wait for, is absolutely unacceptable. When you hear the word “wait”, or the word “patience”, it will always be coming from a system cadre, or from someone woefully brainwashed into believing in the fenceline of respectable system-approved “activism”. Either way, tear down that fence. It’s an abomination.
There can be no substitute for building a movement dedicated to the full abolition of GMOs, and there can be no delay in beginning to do so.
What must we begin to do? The ground is not yet prepared for a full-scale Food Sovereignty movement in America, nor for a full-scale counterattack against food corporatism. Therefore the first task of GMO abolitionists is to lay the philosophical groundwork. We need to explain the structural context of GMOs as a linchpin of corporatism, and prove the need for their abolition, first in the broadest sense of this need, as key to the general war of corporations vs. humanity. We need to explain how GMOs are a worthless product no one ever needed or wanted. How their existence is 100% dependent on corporate welfare and government thuggery. How the concept of patenting life is a rational idiocy and a moral abomination. How GMOs serve zero constructive purpose. How all the claims made for them are lies. The evidence for their danger to human and environmental health. Their catastrophic political and socioeconomic effects.
From there to a general critique of industrial agriculture as agronomically and environmentally destructive, politically and economically malign, unsustainable on a practical level.
All this is to be compared to the great affirmative solution, decentralized organic farming and agroecology as the basic agricultural solution, Food Sovereignty as the basic political and socioeconomic form of society.
These ideas must be developed and systematically, relentlessly publicized through writing, public speaking, and interpersonal discussion (proselytization).
Meanwhile the ground is ready for a true Community Food movement to cohere, and this political/social movement is already being built, parallel to its spontaneous rise as a new and distinct economic sector, as distinct from industrial ag as it is from fossil fuel extraction.
The anti-GMO movement, as a vector of anti-corporate, pro-democracy ideas, is separate from but complements this Community Food movement, whose basic philosophy and program will at first tend to seek reform within the system, but which may evolve as it experiences the repression of the corporatist “food safety” regime. (The food equivalent of the “war on terror”.)