July 9, 2013

Good and Bad


Where it comes to everything, not just food but especially food, the criteria for what’s good and what’s bad are clear. Organic, holistic, part of a community context, not the reductive NPK mentality in any form; bottom-up, not top-down; democratic, not hierarchical; decentralized, not centralized; participatory and direct, not “representative”; demand-based, not supply-based; production for use, not for commodification; open-source, not proprietary; the commons, not enclosure. Apply these imperatives to each and every alleged policy dilemma, and one will never go wrong. They all lead to the same conclusions: We must abolish commodification and abolish globalization through the expedient of abolishing planned-economy corporatism, abolishing corporate welfare, abolishing the corporate form.
They also cut across all the false divisions: Left/right, liberal/conservative, Democrat/Republican (we don’t want or need an “alternative” version of these, but something totally different), public/private, socialism/”free market”, protectionism/”free trade”, and others.



  1. Well, there you have it. The corporatist plague continues it’s assault. “Coexistence” = we’ll wait just a little longer before we totally crush you. http://www.whydontyoutrythis.com/2013/06/usda-forces-whole-foods-to-accept-monsanto.html

    Comment by Pete — July 10, 2013 @ 7:36 am

  2. “its”, arggh….

    Comment by Pete — July 10, 2013 @ 7:36 am

    • That’s a repost of an OCA piece from early 2011, though it’s always good to be reminded that industrial organic is industrial first and “organic” only second, if at all. Here the headline is misleading – Whole Foods is “forced” to try to make a deal with Monsanto in the same way Brer Rabbit is thrown into the briar patch.

      I’ve written about this several times, for example here.


      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.

      WFM and the others got what was coming to them: The “co-existence” notion was far too subtle for Monsanto, which is increasingly inclined to use main force. It prevailed upon Obama, President Monsanto himself, who then issued an order to Vilsack to move directly to full deregulation. Meanwhile WFM and the rest of industrial organic was left exposed before their target customers as having tried to sell them out. Since then there’s been increasing distrust of the industrial organic sector. That’s why they belatedly scrambled onto the labeling bandwagon and are trying to take control of it.

      Needless to say, WFM wants to hijack the labeling movement for its own purposes. While touting this idea as the correct form of anti-GMO activism, and while making pious noises about imposing its own labeling policy on suppliers, WFM will try again with co-existence. This time they and elements within the government will try to get the cartel to go along with a sham central government labeling program whose only real teeth will be its pre-emption of state and local policy. The goal of this will be the same attempt to propagandize their customers while also derailing any real labeling efforts at the state level.

      That’s one reason why, whatever position we take toward state-level labeling campaigns, we must consistently and strongly oppose ANY central (“federal”) level policy which would pre-empt the people’s action at the state level.

      Comment by Russ — July 10, 2013 @ 8:08 am

      • Thanks for the education. I had no idea it was 2 years old. I recall reading recently that WFM was trying to be GMO label-friendly by 2018 and thinking to myself that it didn’t pass the sniff test (what is the point of phasing it in over 5 years? Just do it…). I guess that’s their attempt to keep the low info consumer around just long enough to pull the entire wool blanket over their eyes. Hell, two thirds of their product is already in full deception mode as “all natural”- charged at a premium of course. The lengths the covetous monkeys will go to….

        Comment by Pete — July 10, 2013 @ 4:06 pm

      • You got it right. While it could take some time to fix the supply difficulties they created in the first place (WFM certainly could have chosen to require labels, or simply ban GMOs, from the outset; it could’ve made a difference; but they chose to make their difference on the side of evil instead), it could be done long before 2018 if they really wanted to do it. As a military power, the US went from being disorganized bunch of hicks with a miniscule army to winning WWII in less than that time!

        The real goal is to appease the consumers, play for time, and hope to be bailed out by the central government – either by a sham pre-emptive federal labeling policy, or by GMOs getting some spectacular new federal imprimatur, like being authorized under the organic certification.

        WFM’s position is precarious. Polls have shown that most of their customers think all their products are GMO free, and that many would stop shopping there if they knew the truth. Industrial organic, just as much as conventional food processors and retailers, want to see the GMO issue go away once and for all. Since they don’t believe GMOs will be abolished, they have to yearn for the opposite – the complete triumph of GMOs.

        (Industrial organic’s business model depends upon the “organic” part piggybacking on a much larger contingent of “natural” products: vaguely named, mostly the same as their conventional counterparts as far as their ingredients and provenance.)

        Comment by Russ — July 11, 2013 @ 5:24 am

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