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October 31, 2013

The List Grows for Science

Filed under: Corporatism, Food and Farms, Scientism/Technocracy, Tower of Babel — Tags: — Russ @ 6:58 am

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Last week I wrote about the statement of scientists refuting the self-evident lie that there’s any kind of “scientific consensus” in favor of GMOs. The fact that GM proponents so often feel the need to tell this lie is proof of how desperate they are to fraudulently represent their position as the “scientific” one, and the fact that this go-to lie is so flimsy is strong evidence of how flimsy their case is in general.
 
The statement was drafted by the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER), but not all the signatories are members of ENSSER.
 
By the latest count, the number of scientists formally signing the statement has climbed to 231. This is impressive in light of how viciously any scientist who expresses even the slightest skepticism about GMOs, or who merely asks for more testing, is attacked. Many have had their careers derailed by the establishment persecution. Those who have gone public with their concerns have said that for each of them there are many more who agree but are afraid to speak up for fear of slander and retaliation. So this list of formal public adherents is just the tip of the iceberg.
 
In stark contrast, there are no scientists who support GMOs in any way. Without exception credentialed GMO proponents are being paid by the cartel for their support, or are ignorantly moonlighting as laymen outside their own disciplines. This, of course, is an unscientific position.
 
But then, to support GMOs as such is clearly an anti-rational, anti-scientific position, for the following reasons. Given any dubious and expensive new technology, a rational person asks:
 
1. Do we need it? Does it serve any real purpose? This is the Need Principle.
 
2. Are there better, less questionable, safer alternatives? This is the Alternative Principle.
 
3. Is it safe? This is the Precautionary Principle.
 
A rational person would need to ask these questions and honestly answer them : Yes, No, Yes, before supporting deployment. In the case of GMOs, the system never asked any of these questions, so support for GMOs is on its face an anti-rational position, even prior to the evidence.
 
By now the evidence is incontrovertible that GMOs were never needed and serve no constructive purpose at all. Compared to both organic and non-GM conventional agriculture, they yield less, require vastly greater use of poisons, generate poison-resistance superweeds and superbugs, contaminate crops and the environment, and have malign political and socioeconomic effects like escalating seed sector and general agricultural corporate monopoly. As for the Big Lie that GMOs are needed to “feed the world”, right now the world produces enough to feed ten billion people, yet out of 7 billion on earth 1 billion go hungry. This is mathematical proof that corporate agriculture does not and cannot feed the world. The fact is, corporate agriculture has proven for decades now that it cannot and does not want to feed the world. There’s no problem with food production or availability. The only problem is distribution. It’s impossible to fix distribution by trying to double down on a system that, by its very nature, maldistributes. GMOs represent doubling down on this already failed system.
 
It’s clear that GMOs have zero benefits for farmers or consumers. They have never benefited anyone but a handful of corporations. The answer to the Need question has been given once and for all: No, they serve no purpose, and we don’t need them.
 
Similarly, the evidence record is complete, after decades of performance, that non-GM conventional agriculture is superior to GM agriculture. Non-GM outproduces GM and uses far less poison. It’s also proven that even during the soon-to-end era of cheap fossil fuels (upon which all of industrial ag including GMOs is 100% dependent), decentralized polyculture organic agriculture outproduces industrial, acre for acre, in terms of calories and nutrition. Once the cheap oil runs out, this difference shall become infinite.
 
It’s clear that there are far better, much less expensive alternatives to GMOs. Once again, the shoddy, poorly-producing, high-maintenance, more complex, vastly more expensive GMO regime benefits no one but a handful of corporations. The answer to the Alternative questions is: Yes, both organic and non-GM conventional are far better and less expensive for farmers and consumers.
 
Finally, as the work of many of these signatories has documented, there is such ample evidence of the health and environmental risks from GMOs that any rational person would demand independent long-term safety testing of any GM product before commercialization, and to demand a recall of existing approvals and a moratorium on field testing and any further deployment until this necessary safety testing has been done.
 
This sums up the rational, scientific position on GMOs, even before we get into the political and socioeconomic aspects.
 
One new thing I learned in the latest ENSSER press release was that a conference twenty years ago ecologists and molecular biologists agreed that their disciplines were complementary and that specialists in each should consult with the findings of the other. We’ve since seen how molecular biologists working for the GMO cartel have flouted this scientific agreement and expressed their contempt for ecological science, and indeed for any and every kind of scientific or rational thought, other than the most narrow, nihilistically instrumental concern with the “how” of their own discipline.
 
Far from constituting “science”, this instrumental nihilism, which dresses itself up in a scientistic religion and a technocratic authoritarian political ideology, is radically anti-scientific. On the contrary, it degrades the name and practice of science to that of being a hired triggerman for the worst kind of corporate gangsterism.
 
To find the real exponents and practitioners of science, we must look to the signers of the ENSSER statement, and to similar scientific workers around the world. These are the people of integrity who know their duty as scientists and as citizens of democracy. These two duties are always in harmony.
 

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October 29, 2013

GMO Labeling Campaigns

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According to the latest polls the massive influx of corporate money into Washington is doing its job, and the numbers on the upcoming ballot initiative on GMO labeling, I-522, is a “statistical dead heat”.
 
This money, $17.2 million as of early October, has gone into assembling the usual prefab astroturf and flooding the media with ads full of lies. It all came from five members of the GMO cartel, led by Monsanto and DuPont, and from the industry group the Grocery Manufacturers Association, which illegally tried to shield the names of the sources of its $7+ million in spending.
 
But a suit by the state forced the GMA to reveal the names of the cowards who laundered money through it. These were led by Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Nestle, and General Mills.
 
The Organic Consumers Association has been leading a boycott of these conglomerates who have such an unamerican hatred for consumer choice and democracy. Everyone should join this boycott. We’ll not only strike back at our enemies, but get a lot of worthless junk out of our diets in the process.
 
How does an anti-democracy campaign like this get results? It’s unlikely that it changes the mind of people who had already thought about the issue and were planning to vote Yes. So the target audience must be the noisome “undecided voters”, those who plan to vote but have no principles and no knowledge of the world, and who therefore let themselves be blown about like weathervanes. I’ve never understood the psychology myself; the apathetic non-voter makes far more sense. (I’m a principled non-voter myself, for lack of options. But if my state had a labeling initiative I’d go the polls to vote for it.)
 
The lesson of this is that anyone who wants to accomplish democratic and public interest goals through the ballot box will have to face up to the fact that she can’t just content herself with a purely rational and moral argument to the thoughtful part among the voters. We’ll also need to adjust this argument for the broader electorate.
 
The main lie the enemy tells is that GMO labeling will drive up prices as checkout, and this must be the lie that convinces “undecided” types to exert themselves to vote No. This is absurd on its face: Manufacturers are constantly changing their packaging. At any given time there must be dozens of different Corn Flakes boxes. None of this drives up the price.
 
So the response to this lie is a no-brainer – directly reject it as nothing but a lie.
 
Yes on 522 has done a better job of this (like it’s done a better job of everything) than the incompetent California Right to Know. But it still mucks things up a bit by getting into a battle of “reports” done by marketing groups. The campaign ends up speculatively conceding that labeling may cause prices to go up a bit, just far less than the cartel-commissioned report. This is poor publicity material – unduly complicated and falsely conceding points against oneself. When common sense truth is on your side, why wouldn’t you directly assert it, no “ifs”, “ands”, or “buts”?
 
Indeed, it’s likely that GMO labeling, as one of the first steps in breaking corporate control of the food system, will be one of the first steps toward lowering the real price we pay for food. Therefore it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say this will save the consumer money, and “Vote Yes to Spend Less” would be an appropriate slogan. 
 
But then there’s the money. Any such campaign has to assume it’ll be greatly outspent, and that the enemy will have a far greater mainstream media presence. So it follows that the campaign has to base its strategy on reaching the maximum number of people by alternate routes. This is another reason why we need to organize these campaigns, not just as disposable election campaigns, but by forming permanent grassroots organizations. Only this will muster the necessary volunteer fervor which will be necessary, not just to counteract the money imbalance in an electoral campaign, but to carry the movement forward toward the necessary goal of the total abolition of GMOs. 
 

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October 27, 2013

Recycling a Failed and Obsolete GMO for Africa

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Western corporatism is pushing ahead with its attempt at a second colonization of Africa based on GMO imperialism. Toward this goal Monsanto’s been trotting out an old clunker, MON810 Bt maize. This is a maize variety which produces its own insecticide against the stem borer. It’s the only GMO which was ever approved for cultivation in the EU, where it’s grown primarily in Spain and Portugal. Germany, France, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Luxemburg, and others have banned it.
 
Today MON810 is being pushed upon Africa in the guise of a “humanitarian” project. The Water Efficient Maize for Africa (WEMA) program touts itself as seeking to provide African farmers with low-cost drought-resistant maize varieties. But while there are drought-resistant maize varieties, these are all conventionally-bred (and usually bred by the public sector) varieties. There’s no such thing as a drought-resistant GMO. What’s called a “drought-resistant” GM variety is really a public domain variety which corporations have pirated, engineered with the same old herbicide-tolerant (HT) or insecticide-expressing (Bt) trait, patented, and which they now fraudulently call drought-resistant. But the drought resistance is the pre-existing conventional trait and has nothing to do with the genetic engineering.
 
But that’s no matter, since MON810 was never called “drought resistant” over the 15+ years it’s been cultivated in Europe, South Africa, and elsewhere. Until now. WEMA has come under the umbrella of the Bill Gates AGRA project (Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa), a GMO propaganda front. Monsanto has “donated” MON810 to WEMA royalty-free. WEMA’s main action is now to distribute MON810 seeds, fraudulently calling them drought-resistant, and to advocate for MON810 field testing and commercialization throughout Africa. Field testing is already being done in Uganda and Kenya, while battles for “deregulation” (i.e., switching regulation from the public interest to the corporate interest, and then rendering it more aggressive and onerous on behalf of the corporate imperative) are ongoing in Tanzania and Mozambique.
 
Meanwhile in Egypt Monsanto pirated the local Ajeeb variety, engineered it with the same Bt-expressing gene (Cry1ab) as MON810, and patented the GMO variety as “Ajeeb Yieldgard”. Egyptian government studies have already found this variety to have a significantly different physiological makeup than the original variety, thus disproving yet again the “substantial equivalence” dogma which has always been the justification for not requiring safety testing of GMOs prior to commercialization. They also found that eating this GMO causes changes in organs, body weight, and serum biochemistry in rats.
 
So WEMA’s job is to push this obsolete and unsafe GM variety under the false guise of “drought resistance”, and in that way gain regulatory approval for it so that it can be widely commercialized. Of course Monsanto’s waiving of its usual tax applies only to the tests being run by the charity, not to the subsequent commercialization. Meanwhile the trials include every other aspect of the rigidly constraining patent regime.
 
What does this mean for Africa? We already know, since part of Africa’s already gone through the entire MON810 disaster now being prepared for the rest of it. South Africa was an early adopter of GMO technology, rushing to approve and commercialize MON810 in 1997 before it had even set up a bioregulatory system. The government encoded the usual requirements for “refugia”. This is an idea which could serve a purpose if ever seriously put into practice, but which has never been anything more than empty rhetoric in practice. Governments “require” farmers planting Bt crops to set aside a percentage of their acreage for a non-Bt variety. This is called the “refuge”. By providing a place where some of the target pests (in the case of MON810, the corn borer) can feed and survive without being resistant to the Bt toxin, it’s supposed to ensure that some of the reproducing insects aren’t passing on the resistance trait. This slows down the evolution of Bt resistant superbugs.
 
This refuge requirement, which concedes the inevitability of resistance development, co-existed from the start with denials that resistance would ever develop. So we see one of the many examples of how the GMO cartel engages simultaneously in mutually contradictory lines of propaganda. The refugia themselves have always been propaganda in that they’ve always been set at too small a percentage, regulators never seriously enforced them (which also allows the propaganda to blame superbugs on scofflaw farmers; but obviously corporatized GMO farmers aren’t going to self-enforce such a policy, which is exactly the outcome the system intended), and have happily yielded to every corporate entreaty to diminish the amount of the refuge required, or abandon the requirement completely.
 
Refugia have never been a seriously meant regulatory measure.
 
As if that weren’t bad enough, these meager refuge requirements were based on the assumption, since disproven, that resistance to MON810 in borers was a recessive trait. This resistance has since been proven to be dominant. So whereas South African policy ordered a 5% non-Bt refuge, the refuge would really need to have been greater than 50% in order to have any chance of working. And of course this would’ve had to have been enforced, which even the 5% requirement never was.
 
We can see that MON810 was a grossly inadequate product for South African farming. The results bore this out. Corn borers quickly developed such resistance that Monsanto eventually had to offer compensation packages to farmers who sustained greater than 10% destruction of their crop. Many farmers were suffering over 50% losses. Finally MON810 was withdrawn from the market for the 2013 season.
 
As usual, the government doesn’t react to such proof of the failure of a policy genre, in this case insecticide-expressing GMOs, with a rational rejection of the failed policy. Instead, as usual, South Africa’s only thought is to double down on what’s already proven to fail. Thus MON810 has been replaced by the “stacked” variety MON8903, which contains two Bt toxins. So it can fail twice as decisively, and in the process accelerate the development of this superbug. (Anytime a superweed or superbug evolves resistance to a particular herbicide, insecticide, or antibiotic, there’s an increasing chance that it’ll also develop a more general resistance to whole genres of these poisons. Thus waterhemp, in addition to now being widely glyphosate-resistant, is also demonstrating resistance to 2,4-D before the Agent Orange corn has even been deployed.)
 
MON810 lies on South Africa’s trash heap, but that’s all the more reason Monsanto’s ardent to deploy it throughout the rest of Africa. We already know how the story will play out, since we’ve already been through it once. We also know the usual story of the economic destruction of farmers, with some of them becoming debt slaves and the rest driven off the land and into terminal shantytowns. We’ve been through it many times. We know, too, the usual story of the destruction of the soil and water and surrounding ecosystems. This history, also, has already been played out in many places.
 
There’s no way the advocates of a “New Alliance” for Africa, led by Monsanto, don’t know that the guaranteed result will be human suffering on an immense scale. Therefore, this is the result desired by the cartel, by governments like those of the US and UK, by the corporate media and academia, by useful idiots like Bono, Kofi Annan, and others, and in general by the corporatist establishment.
 

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October 25, 2013

The Seeds of Ten Thousand Years

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A Brazilian congressional committee has withdrawn a bill which would have legalized the sale of Terminator seeds. This was in response to a massive grassroots campaign led by over a dozen farmer and civil society groups. The bill would have overturned an 8 year moratorium in Brazil, which is typical of a global moratorium on field testing and commercialization agreed upon at the 2000 conference of the Convention on Biodiversity. The bill looks dead in the congress for the time being, though another version is skulking in the senate.
 
This was the latest time the Terminator technology has reminded us that although it has not yet been commercialized anywhere, it exists and remains an ongoing threat. Every few years such governments as those of the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, seek to subvert or overturn the moratorium.
 
Also called the suicide seed, and in the system jargon a “Genetic Use Restriction Technology” (GURT), the Terminator seed is genetically engineered to produce a crop whose own seeds are sterile. This would lessen the need for rigorous and politically damaging patent enforcement against farmers on Monsanto’s part, as saving seed from the GMO would become biologically impossible.
 
The patents for this technology are jointly owned by the USDA, Monsanto, Syngenta, and other biotech rackets. Thus for this project the US government hasn’t just served as a political waterboy, but is a business partner. (Needless to say all the profits from any commercialization would go to the cartels. The USDA’s “ownership” is a standard part of the propaganda of “public-private partnerships”, much like the IRRI’s patent interest in the Golden Rice scam.)
 
I mentioned how the hope was that Terminator enforcement would be less politically onerous for Monsanto than suing farmers. But the idea of the Terminator has actually proven to be at least as politically inflammatory as persecuting farmers has been. Even many elites are leery of it. According to some accounts, in the late 90s the Rockefeller Foundation asked Monsanto to back off on it, fearing that it would provoke too much of a popular backlash when GMOs were just getting rolling. The cartel would be better off relying on patent enforcement.
 
These political fears are the reason why the moratorium was agreed upon by all the CBD’s signatory governments, and only half-hearted attempts have been made to flout the boycott. This abortive attempt in Brazil was the latest.
 
But why is the Terminator technology so especially offensive and ominous to farmers, citizens, and scientists, such that we the people have put up such a fierce resistance to it and forced this moratorium? There’s two main reasons.
 
1. On a human level, the Terminator is a vicious assault on the right and duty of farmers to improve and diversify crop varieties and save seeds. This has been part of the farmer’s mission for ten thousand years, just as critical for the future of humanity as growing the food is in the present. Seed and crop diversity is also part of culture.
 
The very concept of intellectual property in seeds and plants is, in addition to its many rational and moral absurdities, an insult to farmers. For ten thousand years farmers have needed nothing but their practical interest and their sense of professional ethics to engage in breeding and seed saving, and to freely share this heritage as a public commons. That’s ten thousand years of proof that where it comes to plant breeding, cooperation works. The public domain works. Meanwhile the record of a few decades of patents in seeds and plants is clear that this intellectual property regime does nothing but stifle innovation, quash creativity, cramp all farmer freedom, depress yield, and narrow the range of utilized germplasm diversity to a tiny sliver of the vast potential spectrum of agricultural biodiversity. That’s one piece of proof that agricultural corporatism does not work. It’s proof that extending patents to seeds and plants does not work. So in practice the agricultural IP regime is nothing but a monumental creative bottleneck meant to force all action and thought toward the claustrophobic goal of maximizing corporate profit and power and minimizing every other aspect of the human and agricultural experience. This is the political and economic totalitarianism of GMOs.
 
2. On an agricultural and ecological level, the Terminator is the most extreme manifestation of the general genetic threat of GMOs to crops and the environment. It’s proven that wherever planted in the open air, GMOs will start to contaminate other crops (organic and non-GM conventional), wild ancestors and relatives, and the environment in general. The longer and more widespread the planting, the worse will be the pollution, and the more indelible its likely to become. This is an existential threat to the future of agriculture, because plant breeding and the health of crops and agriculture as a whole depend upon wide biodiversity among cultivated varieties and frequent replenishment of the genetic stock from the well of the crop’s wild progenitors.
 
I mentioned how crop breeding under the corporate regime focuses incestuously upon just a couple of corporate imperatives, and therefore tremendously limits the range of crop biodiversity which is in play at all. But varieties which aren’t planted quickly go extinct, and over the last hundred years tens of thousands of regionally adapted crop varieties, an incalculable wealth of embodied knowledge and resiliency, has been lost to this neglect and deliberate suppression. This is a mass extinction event in itself, and an especially critical part of the general mass extinction which has been ravaging the world. It’s aggravated by the same factors driving other extinction campaigns – poisons, habitat destruction, climate change, industrial pollution.
 
As if that’s not bad enough, once in the field GMOs spread their pollen, and therefore their genetic pollution, to non-GM crops and wild relatives. This further degrades the already-degraded agricultural genome, and pollutes the wild wellspring upon which agriculture depends for its very future.
 
That’s the agricultural and ecological totalitarianism of regular GMOs. This, along with their inherent attempt to seek total political and economic control, is the reason why it’s impossible for humanity to co-exist with GMOs. This is why we must totally abolish them as soon as possible.
 
The Terminator is a radical escalation of both of these malign trends. Instead of relying mostly on the legal fiction of “patents” to enforce its domination, the Terminator would make saving seeds physically impossible.
 
While this would be no loss where it comes to the GMO itself (although we exhort farmers to reject the legitimacy of Monsanto and the GMO cartel and despise the very concept of IP in seeds and plants, we don’t think the answer is to flout the patent and plant GM seeds without paying the Monsanto tax; this would be better than paying it, but the only real solution is the total abolition of GMOs as such), it becomes an immediate existential threat as soon as the Terminator variety starts contaminating other crops and wild relatives.
 
Could the Terminator spread its sterilization modification to organic crops, non-GM conventional crops, and wild progenitors of our crops? Could it cause spontaneous mass seed failure throughout agriculture and in the wild? Although the likelihood of this is unknown, the potential is indisputable. It’s guaranteed that the contamination will take place.
 
That’s even leaving aside whether Monsanto would consciously desire and seek such a goal, thinking that this would be the key to total domination. It has repeatedly declared that this is its goal.
 
The Terminator is just an extreme example of the malevolence and dangers of GMOs in general. As a genre GMOs are weapons of corporate power, enclosure, control, and domination. As a genre they’re pollutants spreading promiscuously throughout our agriculture and environment. 
 
When we consider the embodied human culture of seeds and crops, the ten thousand years of thought, creativity, and hard work which went into breeding these varieties and developing these diverse agricultural practices, we can see how the seed extinction assault is a kind of sublimated genocide. And when we contemplate how neoliberalism, as a conscious and systematic policy, seeks to render billions of small farmers utterly obsolete, utterly dehumanized, and to drive them into the urban concentration camps called shantytowns, we have to consider how physical the genocide intention will eventually become.
 
When we consider how critical crop and wild plant biodiversity are to the health of our agriculture and the ecosystems within which it functions and upon which it depends, we see how our very existence depends upon protecting, redeeming, and expanding this biodiversity. We see how here as well our physical extinction is being contemplated implicitly by those who see humanity as nothing but a resource to be mined and exhausted to satisfy their vile gutter greed and powerlust.
 
Saving seeds, breeding crop varieties, cultivating biodiversity along with food, are among our core human activities. Their practice is part of the human essence. They are therefore human rights, to translate them into the language of modern government. To assault and constrain them is a crime against humanity.
 
And if we have any right to exist at all, we have the right to the biological integrity of the agriculture and ecosystems which comprise the necessary foundation of that existential right. Here too any assault is a crime.
 
In both of these ways to actively support GMOs is to commit this crime against humanity.
 
We must preserve, redeem, and reinvigorate our seed sovereignty, our agriculture, and our Earth. Therefore we must abolish GMOs. The Terminator is, so far, an emblem of evil which is being kept at bay. We must ensure it stays there. But above all we must hold the line everywhere, and then start rolling back the GMO onslaught. It can be done and will be done, as more and more people around the globe join the fight.
 
 

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October 23, 2013

Shame-Faced Secrecy

Filed under: Food and Farms, Freedom — Tags: , , — Russ @ 5:58 am

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GMO proponents constantly display their lack of character in everything they say and do. The GMO labeling campaign has provoked many disreputable self-revelations on their part. One of these is their shame-faced secrecy where it comes to this product which, in other contexts, they laud as a wonderful thing.
 
I’ve asked before how GMO technicians and publicists are able to live with themselves if they feel the need to keep their whole endeavor a secret. What’s supposedly their great contribution to humanity, their heroic life’s work, is something they feel the need to hide from public view like some disgraceful vice.
 
This of course proves that everything they claim for their work is a lie, and they know it’s a lie. They know their work is worthless, that it benefits no one but their corporate masters, and is a great bane to humanity. That’s why they feel such shame, fear the light, and so desperately scurry for the darkest nook as if they were cockroaches.
 
They know their work is a disgraceful vice.
 
In this light, it’s funny to see how some of them are so ashamed and so afraid to stand and be counted that they have to double their secrecy. Thus, whereas manufacturers like General Mills, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and Nestle openly gave money to obstruct California’s labeling initiative, they suffered so much public backlash that they were too cowardly to do so to obstruct 2013’s Washington campaign.
 
Instead they laundered the money through a front group, the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association (GMA). The GMA has spent $7 million so far fighting democracy in Washington. (Whereas almost all of the Yes on 522 money has come from small in-state donors, literally ALL of the anti-522 money has come from out-of-state corporations and their front groups. Monsanto has spent $4 million, DuPont $3.2 million.) But it refused to obey state law and divulge where its money had come from until the state attorney general filed suit.
 
Only then did we learn which corporations were malign enough to spend this money, but too cowardly to openly do so.
 
They have good reason to fear. The Organic Consumers’ Association and other food freedom groups have organized boycotts of the manufacturers who spent to obstruct democracy in California. This backlash against the manufacturers and retailers, those in closest contact with the consumer and therefore most vulnerable to the consumer’s outrage, will only grow.
 
How’s carrying Monsanto’s water working out for you guys? That question will be asked more and more often, of more and more sectors and groups. Who knows, perhaps some of them will even start to ask themselves.

 
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October 22, 2013

Scientists Declare: There’s No “Consensus” on GMO Safety

Filed under: Corporatism, Food and Farms, Scientism/Technocracy — Tags: — Russ @ 3:24 am

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Scientists are striking back against one of the current favorite lies of the GMO hacks, that there’s a “scientific consensus” that GMOs aren’t dangerous to human health. Ninety-three scientists and counting have signed the brief, comprehensive statement issued by the European Network of Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility (ENSSER).
 
It’s an overview of the self-evident fact that there’s no consensus among credentialed technical personnel on the safety of GMOs. This is self-evident because there are so many credentialed scientists who do dispute the alleged health and environmental safety of GMOs. The signers of the statement prove this, and the data surveyed by the statement prove it. Anyone who’s looking for a good resource which assembles just some of the best reports and studies on GMOs should check out this statement and the evidence it compiles.
 
Before continuing with a summary and some comments on the statement itself, I’ll observe that science itself has in fact attained a consensus against GMOs. We know for a fact that they provide no benefits while guaranteeing contamination of non-GM crops and the wild progenitors of those crops. This assault on agricultural biodiversity is an existential danger to the food security of humanity. That’s enough for any scientific mind to reject them. But there’s lots more reasons, which I’ll summarize after discussing the ENSSER statement.
 
I’ll also observe that the name, Scientists for Social and Environmental Responsibility, ought to be redundant. Science is a tool for the benefit of humanity. A scientist has an affirmative obligation to place his work in this organic context. The Ayn Rand/technocratic notion of technicians being Ubermenschen, and scientific work as being purely for the sake of exploration itself, “because it’s there”, i.e. for the ego of the individual explorer (and in practice for the benefit of his corporate master), is not science at all. It’s just gutter narcissism and sociopathy. We should deal with such bogus “scientists” as the leeches and overgrown spoiled brats they are.
 
Now on to the statement. It groups its evidence into seven points, each of which refutes the lie of a contrary “consensus”. There’s copious links at the statement web page.
 
1. There is no consensus on GM food safety.
 
Reviews of extant animal feeding studies find an almost perfect demarcation between those done by the corporations themselves, which have claimed to find no toxic effects, and those done independently, which have all found toxicity and other health dangers. By now there’s been roughly an equal number of such studies in both groups. That’s especially impressive when we consider the massive imbalance in available funding and access to research materials. (Since the corporations try to deny independent researchers access to proprietary material, which means all GMO material.) It’s an indictment of the system’s lack of desire to know the truth, and a tribute to the truth-seeking will of a relative handful of scientists fighting against the current.
 
Not only is there thus no consensus even if we consider only the findings of peer-reviewed studies by credentialed personnel. There’s also no consensus on the legitimacy of industry studies. All industry tests have been rigged in at least one way – their length was far shorter than the normal lifespan of the animal. Ninety days is a standard length. This is meant to ensure that chronic health dangers are unlikely to manifest during the duration of the test. Most studies also didn’t compare the effects of eating the GMO to the effects of a non-GM diet based on the non-GM equivalent of the GM variety.
 
Most of these industry “tests” were the most minimal kinds of feeding tests, meant to ensure that an animal fed GMOs would quickly put on weight and not immediately drop dead. These never tested for other kinds of toxicity or for chronic health effects. Picture if we organized a test which would feed human subjects nothing but large amounts of cake, pastries, ice cream, candy, etc. for 60 days (and with no exercise), with our only real goal being to test whether the subjects would gain weight and not drop dead. Then afterward we trumpet the test as having proven that such a diet is healthy over the long run. That’s what’s been going on with these corporate feeding trials. Scientists reject these as having any validity as real safety tests.
 
Even many of these tests nevertheless found disturbing evidence of biological changes and toxicity. Such evidence was routinely dismissed as “insignificant”, or suppressed completely.
 
The rare industry tests which weren’t rigged have all found evidence of toxic effects. (That is, rigged as far as the lack of equivalent diets. Again, all of them were rigged with intentionally insufficient durations.) 

 

Meanwhile, under the pressure generated by the 2012 Seralini study, the pro-GMO European Food Safety Agency and the French government have called for more long-term studies on the health effects of GMOs. This is the first time any agency has taken up independent scientists on their constant call for more study. But the fact that this pro-cartel bureaucracy has conceded that more study is needed is in itself more self-evident proof that there’s no consensus.
 
All this is clear proof that there’s no “consensus” whatsoever among the studies themselves.

 

All this also proves that the pro-GMO “science” has zero independent confirmation for its claims, but is merely a branch of corporate propaganda. It’s really just a more elaborate echo of the original dogmatic decree by governments, that GMOs were “substantially equivalent” to real crops and therefore “safe”.
 
2. There are no epidemiological studies investigating potential effects of GM food consumption on human health.
 
There’s a strong correlation between the commercialization of GMOs and a steep surge of food and other allergies, and of autoimmune diseases such as asthma, autism, and Crohn’s disease.
 
The people are getting sicker. Are GMOs making us sick? Without epidemiological testing, there’s no way to know for sure. Scientists have long been calling for such testing.
 
The lack of these studies is at least proof that governments and corporations fear what the results of these tests would be. They think testing will prove GMOs unsafe. After all, if governments thought they could honestly promote GMOs, instead of the dishonest way they’ve been doing so far, wouldn’t they do so?
 
3. Claims that scientific and governmental bodies endorse GMO safety are exaggerated and inaccurate.
 
The statement compiles dissenting briefs within such staunchly pro-GM organizations as the Royal Society of Canada and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as the ambivalence of the British Medical Association and the American Medical Association.
 
They could also have included the testimony from the 1990s of a large number FDA scientists protesting the agency’s fundamentalist decree that GMOs were “safe” and therefore didn’t need to be safety tested. There were similar internal protests at Health Canada and in many other “food safety” bureaucracies.
 
They also could have included a recent USDA report acknowledging the lack of sufficient data on the safety of RNA-interference genetic engineering technology.
 
All this is self-evident proof that there’s no system consensus.
 
4. The EU’s research project does not provide reliable evidence of GM food safety.
 
This project, “A Decade of EU-Funded GMO Research”, much touted by the cartel propagandists, is most striking for how flimsy it is. It’s based on the rigged tests described in point one, most of which still found problems with GMOs.
 
This paucity in itself is proof they have nothing. That’s the best they can do?
 
5. A list of several hundred studies does not show GM food safety.
 
This is another common citation among the GM flacks. It refers to the same corporate tests which were only industry-geared feeding tests (not safety tests), were rigged to prevent evidence of toxicity from manifesting, and which nevertheless often found evidence of toxicity.
 
6. There is no consensus on the environmental risks of GM crops.
 
A review of the existing environmental risk studies found no consensus even on how to run a test, let alone the sufficiency and validity of the meager work that’s been done.
 
Reviews have also found a structural divide among technicians opining about the environmental safety of GMOs similar to that where it comes to their danger to health. Technicians who are working for the cartel, and especially those who are trained in the narrow specialty of molecular biology, are most likely to “find” that GMOs are environmentally safe. Independent scientists, especially those trained in more holistic disciplines like ecology, are most likely to document evidence of environmental hazards.
 
The published data on Bt crops finds proof of resistance among target species (the evolution of superbugs), proof of the surge of secondary (non-target) pests into niches temporarily opened up where the Bt insecticide has worked against the primary target, and strong evidence of harm to non-target and beneficial species.
 
Herbicide-tolerant GMOs indisputably have caused a massive escalation of herbicide use everywhere they’ve been deployed, and like clockwork have caused the evolution of herbicide-resistant superweeds. There is indeed consensus against GMOs on these facts. Even Monsanto, after trying to deny it, concedes that superweeds are an inevitable part of the GMO regime.
 
Herbicide tolerance is proven to be a completely failed technology. We know for a fact that this kind of GMO does nothing but require ever greater application of ever more toxic poisons to ever more ineffectively combat ever more broadly resistant weeds. Even if one believed there was any doubt about the health effects of GM food in itself, there’s no way any rational person arguing in good faith could justify or defend the notion that humanity should continue with the herbicide-tolerant GMO project.
 
Then there’s the mounting evidence of the devastating health effects of glyphosate. We can add that the meager testing which governments have performed has been done only with glyphosate itself, never with the real-world commercial formulations like Roundup. Yet there’s strong evidence from independent studies that the adjuvants, surfactants, and other additives in these formulations render them far more toxic.
 
7. International agreements show widespread recognition of the risks posed by GM foods and crops.
 
The Cartegna Protocol on Biosafety would never have been negotiated and ratified by 166 governments if there weren’t major uncertainty within the system about the safety of GMOs. Similarly, even the UN’s corporate-friendly Codex Alimentarius acknowledges this uncertainty in many ways, including its endorsement of GMO labeling as acceptable within globalization guidelines.
 
Both of these are examples of globalization cadres acknowledging the precautionary principle and the lack of sufficient knowledge about GMO safety. However toothless this has been in practice, it’s at least more proof that there’s no theoretical consensus on GMO safety.
 
 
What is the scientific position on GMOs? Science condemns them.
 
We have proof:
 
*They inevitably contaminate non-GM crops, wild relatives, and the general environment.
 
*Herbicide tolerance and endemic insecticide expression don’t sustainably work. They generate an inescapable arms race with superweeds and superbugs which nature shall certainly win.
 
*We already knew at the outset that we should have enforced the precautionary principle. By now the refusal of governments to carry out epidemiological studies and require long-term safety testing of each GM variety prior to commercialization is proof of their bad faith.
 
*Corporate agriculture cannot “feed the world” and does not want to. Any rational person who actually cares about there being sufficient food for humanity has to reject corporate ag as a proven failure.
 
*GMOs serve no constructive purpose whatsoever. There was and is zero need for them.
 
We have the evidence piling up:
 
*The toxic and long-run chronic health effects of GMOs themselves.
 
*The toxic and long-run chronic health effects of herbicides and Bt toxins.
 
*The malign socioeconomic and political effects of seed sector monopoly driven directly by and for the GMO regime.
 
*The alternative, agroecology, is MORE productive acre for acre in terms of calories and nutrition. This is true even now during the time of industrial ag powered by fossil fuels, fossil water, cheaply mined phosphorus. Once these input sources falter and industrial ag collapses, this margin shall become infinite, and the agroecological alternative shall become the only option which exists at all. It would be much better for humanity to switch over to it now in a disciplined, intentional way.
 
Any real scientist starts with the questions: Do we need this? Are there better alternatives available (better for humanity)? What does the precautionary principle say: Is this safe?
 
Only if we could honestly answer Yes, No, Yes, would a scientist feel justified in going ahead with the project. Of course establishment “science”, along with corporations and governments, never even asked the first two questions, whose answers are clearly No and Yes.
 
As for the third, corporations and governments never asked it either, and neither have most system technicians. But here there have been plenty of system personnel who have acted as scientists when they’ve demanded:
 
*Mandatory long-term safety testing for all GMOs.
 
 
*Open access to research materials, as the lifeblood of science itself.
 
Any scientist would demand these as the bare minimum. 
 
For all these reasons, any real scientist would oppose the GMO regime as it exists.
 
In contrast, let’s list some of the crackpot “science” and lies which comprise the defense of GMOs, such as it is. These have all been disproven, and repose on the trash heap of junk science. Nevertheless to this day they make up the “scientific” part of pro-GMO ideology.
 
*The whole is just the sum of the biggest parts. Smaller parts, and any kind of holistic network, don’t matter. (The “NPK mentality”, as Albert Howard called it.)
 
*One gene = one protein/one trait.
 
*The genetic code is the primary driver of phenotype. (Genetics over environment, nature over nurture.)
 
*Evolution denial. (Denial of superweeds, superbugs, antibiotic resistance among pathogens.)
 
*”Substantial equivalence” of GM varieties and non-GM near-isogenic varieties. (In genome except for the engineered trait, in proteins produced, nutritional profile, and many other ways.)
 
*Most genetic material is “junk DNA” which cannot be reactivated by external influences. (In humans, 1-2% is active, the rest is junk.)
 
*Genetically created proteins always correctly fold themselves.
 
*The CaMV promoter functions only in plants, not in animals.
 
*A synthetically modified organism (SMO) is identical to the corresponding GMO.
 
*Bt becomes toxic only amid the alkalinity of an insect’s digestive tract, not that of the mammalian.
 
*GE material is destroyed in processing/cooking/the gut. It never enters the bloodstream.
 
*There’s only linear (“dose-dependent”) effects. There’s no such thing as non-linear effects.
 
(Those are just the ones I have listed so far. I’m sure there’s plenty more. If you can think of any I missed, let me know.)
 
 
Scientific experimentation requires informed consent. But this vast human feeding experiment never obtained consent from the billions of human beings it has turned into guinea pigs. Worse, the experimenters and their supporters in the professional and academic ranks want to withhold all the information they can, by opposing real safety testing, suppressing adverse data from the inadequate tests which industry has done, slandering independent science, and opposing labeling.
 
The ENSSER statement concludes with the recognition that GMOs always have been and always will be a political decision and policy. By definition science is always an ongoing process. Those who claim “the debate is over”, and who make fraudulent claims about “consensus”, cannot be acting as scientists, but are making a wishful political assertion.
 
Which brings us to our final point on science vs. anti-science. Scientists, however much pride they take in their endeavor, are humble about the limits of this endeavor. The recognize the much greater uncertainty which encompasses whatever seems certain. Most of all, assuming they respect democracy, they recognize that all control belongs in the hands of the people. They see themselves as advisors of the people, helping to make political decisions.
 
But where technicians side against the people, telling mercenary lies on behalf of corporate power, they abrogate the role of scientists and cast away any right to that name.
 
But we still have real scientists, and we have this statement, as well as the great and ongoing work of independent researchers on GMOs, fracking, and the many other corporate assaults which are bolstered by the lies of junk “science”. We have the work of these scientists counteracting these lies, doing what they can to ensure that in the end science shall live up to its role as the helper of democracy and the watchdog of human health and freedom.  

 
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October 21, 2013

Join the GMO Mini-Summit

Filed under: Food and Farms, Reformism Can't Work — Tags: — Russ @ 7:11 am

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Sign up for the GMO Mini-Summit, a free online symposium running from October 25-27. It’ll include speakers and presenters covering the a wide range of GMO topics including the science of GMOs and their assaults on health, the environment, farming, the seed sector, and our broader politics. There’ll be presentations and resources focused on how to identify GMOs in our food, how to get them out, how to learn about and talk to others about this, and how to organize and fight.
 
All of this will likely be presented in reformist terms, but right now our main action as abolitionists is to work with and engage reformists within their own framework, while at all times working to propagate the facts that reformism is not sufficient, co-existence is impossible, and that total abolition is the necessary end goal. We need to use every kind of reform campaign to build permanent grassroots abolition and vigilance organizations. 

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October 20, 2013

The Food Sovereignty Prize

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Last week Iowa and New York were honored by gatherings of farmers, consumers, scientists, medical health professionals, indigenous tribal representatives, and civil society activists, who came together to award the fifth annual Food Sovereignty Prize.
 
The Prize was first established by the US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA), who hosted this year’s event in New York, in conjunction with Occupy the World Food Prize event in Des Moines, being held to protest a gala being held by the corporate establishment. This is an auspicious melding of the affirmative and negative imperatives of the Food Sovereignty movement, which must avow and assert itself even as it discredits and fights corporate agriculture and corporatism as such.
 
Food Sovereignty is a political and economic philosophy which affirms decentralized, democracy-based agroecology as the basis for food production and distribution, and for politics and the economy in general. It is a comprehensive world view.
 
As described by the global farmer movement Via Campesina, Food Sovereignty:
 
1. Affirms healthy food as a basic human right. (Meaning, we have a pre-political right to work the soil and enjoy the food we produce from it. This is because our creative and productive work is an essential part of our humanity, and any attempt to sunder us from control over our work is an elemental crime. This right to food can also be encoded as a formal constitutional right, wherever people choose to do so.)
 
2. Affirms our human right to productively work the land, which of course implies control of the land by those who productively steward it.
 
3. Recognizes the need for productive stewardship of all natural resources, including the need and obligation to use them as sustainably as possible, in harmony with the nature which provides their foundation.
 
4. Affirms that economies are naturally demand-based, never supply-based, and rejects all top-down command economy measures. It therefore rejects globalization, commodification, corporate welfare, corporatism as such.
 
5. Within the current globalization of food, it especially rejects the financialization of food and resource commodities.
 
6. Seeks modes of production and distribution based on natural human cooperation instead of artificial elite-imposed competition and mutual destruction. Food production and distribution, where done democratically and according to the natural rhythms of the economy, can be forces for social peace instead of sublimated civil war.
 
7. Affirms that political and economic organization must be democratic, with the food producers and consumers taking the lead and exercising control of everything which they create and consume. That means everything which exists within the bounds of polity and economy.
 
Food Sovereignty is the political complement to agroecology, the great body of agronomic science, knowledge, technology, and practice.  Agroecology is about growing food in harmony with nature, in a way which provides the most wholesome food, with the highest amount of calories and nutritional value, builds the soil, uses less water, cleanses the water and air, grows the physically strongest crops, improves the genetic robustness of our crops, most effectively discourages weeds and pests, attracts beneficial insects and companion plants, provides wildlife habitat, enhances ecosystems in general, and provides a spiritually fulfilling human environment.
 
The Food Sovereignty Prize honors those who fight to advance food sovereignty and agroecology as bodies of knowledge and real world practices, and as general political ideas. Past honorees include Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement.
 
This year’s honorees are four Haitian peasant organizations, together calling themselves the G4/Dessalines Brigade. These four largest Haitian farmer groups are best known for organizing the rejection of Monsanto’s predatory attempt to dump GMO seed upon Haiti following the devastating 2010 earthquake. This was a cynical attempt to take advantage of people at their weakest, to force them onto the treadmill of GMO indenture they had previously rejected. In a brave show of self-confidence and self-respect, Haitian farmers vowed to continue on their path of seeking agricultural sustainability and independence.
 
That’s the much bigger affirmative context the corporate media wasn’t likely to provide when “reporting” on the rejection of the GMO seeds. The Haitian peasant movement, working with Via Campesina, has long been conducting a program of argoecological education, with technical and infrastructural support, including the help of experts from Brazil and elsewhere. This movement has slowly been improving the agricultural practice, economic position, and political perception of Haiti’s small farmers. That’s the context in which they rejected Monsanto’s try at taking advantage of a terrible moment to destroy all these farmers had been working toward. In doing so they put many other groups of farmers, including many in the US, to shame.
 
The Food Sovereignty prize is just one part of the growing good news from around the world. The tide is turning against GMOs. More and more people everywhere are taking up the fight. They resolve that we shall never give up until GMOs are abolished and we fully reclaim our food and our planet.

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October 18, 2013

Reform Actions in Hawaii, and the Need for Abolition

Filed under: Corporatism, Food and Farms, Law, Reformism Can't Work — Tags: — Russ @ 3:04 am

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Hawaii has become a kind of ground zero for biotech research. Combining excellent physical climate with benign US status, the place is perfect for the GMO cartel to grow three plantings a year of corn and other crops, and blast them year-round with every imaginable type of herbicide.
 
This hasn’t been so hot for local farmers, residents, and towns, who are constantly subjected to the poison drift from these industrial plantations. In spite of state law, the corporations have refused to undertake even the most modest reviews or precautions – planting windbreaks and such – to prevent homes, schools, and hospitals from being chronically flooded by the equivalent of low-level poison gas attacks.
 
After many years of fruitless negotiations and empty promises from the companies, the people of Kauai finally organized to force a legislative solution. Today, after years of fighting, they’ve achieved a partial victory. The Kauai Council passed a watered-down version of a bill which imposes some restrictions on the poisoners.
 
Although politicians took out the strongest provisions of the citizen-driven bill, which would have forbidden the planting of GM crops (and therefore stripped the plantations of most of their rationale), the enacted version requires the poisoners to provide a list of what they’re spraying and a schedule, and also to establish buffer zones between the sites of spraying and facilities including schools, hospitals, old age facilities, and others.
 
So as a legal measure it falls well short of any kind of ban, or anything likely to seriously hinder the poisoners. Instead it’s within the bounds of better transparency and better procedures, the kinds of things likely to be nitpicked to death, assuming they’re ever enacted and enforced in the first place. In this way, it’s part of the same body of politics and policy as GMO labeling.
 
We’re likely to see a similar process with a proposed bill on the big island of Hawaii. Conceived and promoted by outraged farmers in response to documentation of the wholesale contamination of all papaya seeds by the cultivation and testing of GM papaya (much of it done by the University of Hawaii), this bill would ban the open-air cultivation of any new GM crops, though it grandfathers in the existing papaya system.
 
The problem with all this is that: 1. Any real teeth in such bills are likely to be pulled before they’re ever passed. 2. Once passed they’re likely to languish in a no-man’s-land of indifferent enforcement. 3. They’ll be legally challenged by the cartel and its front groups under various bizarre legal doctrines. But the record is that the cartel will find a more friendly environment in the courts than amid citizen-driven democracy. 4. The most likely legal route will be a combination of arguing pre-emptive federal government jurisdiction in the courts, along with pre-emptive policy being undertaken by the federal government. The goal will be to kill the reformist democratic movement with legalistic quashing and political co-optation.
 
This political likelihood is part of the reason why we who want to take back our food, and put an end to the poisoning of our food, water, air, soil, and bodies, must view all such reform attempts primarily as organizing vectors, rather than ends in themselves. Laws like these, or even the best labeling policies, are not panaceas, can never be sufficient, and must never be seen as the end goal. The only sufficient end goal, and therefore the necessary one, is total abolition of GMOs. What’s most important right now, even as we participate in and fight for the reform goals, is that we form grassroots abolitionist organizations which will spread this idea and be vigilant in overseeing enforcement of reforms and against any kind of pseudo-reformist co-optation, for example any advocacy of central government policy which would pre-empt state and local policy. It’s politically impossible to co-exist with GMOs. They must be totally abolished.
 
These political reasons are in addition to the fact, demonstrated by the Hawaiian papaya example, as well as examples like Mexican maizeCanadian canola, US alfalfa, and non-commercialized Roundup Ready wheat, that any GMO cultivation at all guarantees GM contamination of non-GM and organic crops, wild relatives, and the general environment. This physical fact proves that co-existence with GMOs is impossible, that they can only be abolished completely. 

 
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October 16, 2013

Three Courts Against GMOs

Filed under: Corporatism, Food and Farms, Law — Tags: , , — Russ @ 2:24 am

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Over the last week there have been three court rulings around the world against GMO corporate plunder and in favor of biodiversity, democracy, and freedom.
 
I wrote about a Mexican court’s injunction against lawless government approvals of GM maize field trials and commercialization. Some semblance of the rule of law also still exists in Brazil’s courts.
 
Over the last two years Brazilian soy farmers have won a string of court victories against Monsanto’s tax on soy seeds and processing. Monsanto was collecting this tax based on patents which had already expired, were illegitimate in the first place, and which violated Brazilian seed law, which allows saving of seeds. These court rulings threatened a body blow to Monsanto, perhaps damages running into the billions as well as the inability to enforce its enclosure regime. But this past summer the Brazilian soy farmer association Famato, which had been organizing the legal campaign, made a deal with Monsanto to sell out the farmers.
 
The farmers were looking to collect billions in restituted “royalties” (i.e., the Monsanto tax), money they could use to purchase higher-quality non-GM seeds, as growing numbers of them wish to do. But according to the deal brokered by their alleged representative, they would “collect” only in the form of a rebate on the tax on Monsanto’s new product, Roundup Ready 2 Intacta stacked soybeans. So to get anything, they’d have to stay on the GMO treadmill.
 
Worse, to join the deal, a farmer would have to sign a contract agreeing to: waive all right to collect the stolen royalties; submit to more harsh and pedantic inspection and conformance policies than under previous Monsanto contracts; waive all future right to sue over failed harvests (this is now a standard feature of Monsanto’s “warranty”, as superweeds become ever more aggressive; Monsanto guarantees the GM crop is resistant to Roundup, but it disavows any claim that Roundup will work against weeds at all); and sign a statement relinquishing all rights under Brazilian seed law and recognizing the legitimacy and prerogative of Monsanto’s patent regime.
  
 
Now a judge has invalidated parts of the “agreement” on the grounds that it would constitute a coercive contract, on account of Monsanto’s dominant market position. The technical term for this is a “contract of adhesion”, and such contracts are supposed to be ruled invalid and unenforceable by the courts. Needless to say, this never happens in the US. In 2011, in AT&T vs. Concepcion, the US “supreme court” completely repudiated the concept.
 
But in some parts of the world it’s still possible for the people to use the courts. We’re just now seeing that in Mexico too.
 
And now we have a trifecta. In India, the High Court of the state of Karnataka has dismissed petitions seeking to quash criminal indictments of several high-level university and corporate officials for acts of biopiracy in connection with the development of Bt brinjal (eggplant), currently the subject of a moratorium on field testing. In India, biopiracy is supposed to be treated legally as the criminal theft it is. An environmental group, the Environmental Support Group (ESG), fought for several years politically and in the courts to finally get the National Biodiversity Authority and the Karnataka State Biodiversity Board to conduct a full investigate which led to the criminal indictments. After a stay for much of 2013, the High Court has reaffirmed the indictments, and it’s now time for the state to prosecute. (We shouldn’t hold our breaths, though. Throughout, the state machinery has been as dilatory as you’d expect. That’s why the ESG has had to keep suing. Nor do we view even criminal prosecutions as “the system works!” But we should be counterattacking in all available ways including those which are at all possible under system procedures.)
 
So we see that in some courts, though not those of the US, a robbery is still treated as a robbery. Therefore a criminal matter.
 
Not that I think this war is ultimately going to be won anywhere in the courts. But at least in some places the courts are still a contested battleground.
 
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