For our physical survival and flourishing, everything starts with seeds. And for our political and economic sovereignty, everything starts with control of our seeds. That’s why a core goal of corporatism and globalization is to seize total control of the global seed supply and crush our right to save and plant our own seeds. That’s why a primary goal of the US government is to force GMOs on the world. GMOs are a crap product which have zero practical purpose and are poisonous to our bodies and the environment. Their sole purpose is to escalate and enforce corporate profit, enclosure, control, domination.
This is why globalization compacts try to force a repressive proprietary regime over seeds, and require subject governments to suppress seed sovereignty among farmers, gardeners, and the citizenry as a whole. This is a key part of the planned recolonization of Africa under the propaganda auspices of a “second Green Revolution”, as if the effects of the first weren’t disastrous enough. Governments adhering to the scheme are required to stop dispensing non-GMO seeds and take measures to prevent farmers from distributing seeds among themselves. The European Union is also plotting a repressive seed “certification” policy. This is just one of the EU’s endless schemes to let in GMOs, which have hit a brick wall of democratic rejection and opposition among the people of Europe, by the back door.
Bilateral “agreements”, like the one between the governments of the US and Colombia (such globalization pacts are always opposed by the vast majority of the people of all countries involved, and are always radically anti-democratic), are among the most repressive. In Colombia, the anti-seed provision is called Law 970. Over the last two years the government has aggressively sought to destroy the people’s seeds, most notoriously in a 2011 assault at the town of Campo Alegre, where government thugs destroyed 70 tons of rice seeds the farmers had grown, gathered, and were distributing. This crime inspired Victoria Solano’s film, “970” (in Spanish).
This occurs among the general process of small farmers being economically destroyed, forced off their land by the thousands, and driven into squalid shantytowns which spread at an accelerating rate around the fringes of cities all over the global South. This is the planned outcome of all neoliberal corporatist agricultural policy, and those who support such policy support this mass dispossession, ghettoization, immiseration, the worst crime against humanity history has seen. That’s the moral fact of support for GMOs and industrial agriculture.
But the world’s people are increasingly fighting back. Today we can celebrate, provisionally, a sign of victory in Colombia. The government’s assault on seeds was one of the prime causes of a farmer-led strike and protest movement which rose up in August. The farmers were quickly joined by miners, bus and truck drivers, students, teachers, civil society protesters, and many others. Workers went on strike, protesters blocked roads and fought the police. Over a dozen were killed, and hundreds arrested. In the face of this mass action, the government wavered from day to day, now calling for repression, now offering sham concessions, now denying that anything was going on at all.
Finally, at least for the moment, the government has had enough and is offering real concessions. It promises to suspend Law 970, release those arrested, and to enact a new mining law more favorable to miners. It promises to negotiate on the protesters’ other demands, including a partial dismantling of the country’s globalized agriculture policy, and compensation for the way this has economically harmed the country’s farmers. Of course, the proof will be in the execution, and we can’t count our seedlings till they’re sprouted. None of the promises have yet been written into law, and the promised suspension of Law 970 has several caveats. But the protesters vow to hold the government to its promises, and democracy activists and advocates everywhere can look with cheer to this uplifting demonstration of what democracy in action can accomplish, where the people are willing to stand up for themselves.