Volatility

October 15, 2013

Contamination, “Intellectual Property”, and the Need to Abolish GMOs

>

A basic premise of the anti-GMO movement, confirmed by the historical record, is that GMOs and the corporations pushing them are totalitarian in two main ways. They’re physically totalitarian in that GMOs inevitably contaminate other crops and the general environment. And they’re economically totalitarian in that they seek total domination of humanity through total domination of the food supply. Monsanto has often publicly avowed this goal.
 
These confirm that humanity cannot co-exist with GMOs, and that we must totally abolish them.
 
There are many ways these two threads combine. I implied one of these in yesterday’s post. I’ll make the connection explicit now.
 
1. Environmental contamination is inevitable, including of wild progenitors.
 
2. The intellectual property regime is one of the cartel’s weapons toward its goal of total enclosure of agriculture and food. In cases like that of Percy Schmeiser the legal system has decreed: The GMO cartel has the right to commit trespass and tort with its proprietary material; it has the right to damage or destroy the property of other farmers (their crops and soil) through this contamination; the full cost of this trespass and property damage is to be borne by the farmer (and, if he can pass the cost on, by the consumer and society as a whole); no matter how the farmer’s crop was polluted, the corporate patent-holder and polluter can sue him, win damages, confiscate his crop, etc. We see how “intellectual property” is not the modest concept envisioned in the US constitution, but an aggressive weapon of organized crime.
 
When we combine (1) with (2) we can see how the cartel can use the contamination it causes, whether this is from intentional pollution or the inevitable inertia of contamination, to try to assert legal ownership, and therefore political domination and control, of vast swaths of organic and conventional (but contaminated) crops, and of wild plants as well.
 
The Schmeiser case was in Canada, but Canadian policy is typical of the bureaucratic, legislative, and judicial policy which is increasingly predominant at the nexus of agriculture and intellectual property. This is the most dangerous politico-economic combination greed and powerlust has ever come up with.
 
Once again we have the human imperative: Total abolition of GMOs. There can be no co-existence. 

 
>

October 14, 2013

For Mexico, “Without Corn, There Is No Country”

>

A Mexican federal judge has ruled that the government may not authorize field trials or commerical planting of genetically modified (GM) maize so long as lawsuits filed by citizens, farmers, and civil society groups are continuing in the courts.
 
The judge granted the injunction in a case filed by Accion Colectiva (Collective Action), an alliance of farmers and democracy advocates. The case argues that the government has allowed field trials* and is rushing to approve commercialization without having conducted the safety and contamination tests and environmental reviews required by Mexican law and the Mexican constitution, Article 27 of which requires protection of genetic biodiversity as a common good.
 
[*Corporate field trials and “safety tests” never involve food safety or environmental contamination, but are the bare minimum to confirm that animals gain weight and/or that a plant grows and produces a crop. The extent of the safety confirmed is merely that the animal or plant doesn’t immediately drop dead.]
 
Accion Colectiva lauded the ruling as a critical step in their campaign to protect Mexico as “the birthplace of corn”. The lawsuit is part of the broad political campaign, Sin Maiz, No Hay Maiz : “Without Corn, There is No Country”. One of the leaders of the movement, Father Miguel Concha, said that the ruling helps the campaign toward its goal of preserving “the human right to save and use the agrobiodiversity of native landraces from the threats posed by GMO maize.”
 
This action, like others which seek the necessary abolition of GMOs, focuses on the socioeconomic injustice and impracticality of patents in seeds which are part of the public heritage and property, and the agricultural and environmental destruction wrought by the inevitable contamination of crops and ecosystems wrought by GMOs.
 
The contamination threat is especially dire in a case like this, which is why the judge issued this injunction. Mexico is a world heritage center for biodiversity. It’s one of the cradles of maize, and a continuing wellspring of the genetic diversity upon which farmers and breeders depend for the continued health of a crop. Mexico is the home of thousands of maize landraces, called criollo. It’s also the home of many varieties of teosinte, the closest wild relative. Breeders frequently go back to the well to seek new traits and replenish the crop’s genetic robustness. Spontaneous cross-pollination between cultivated maize and wild teosinte is also common. This diversity is critical to the future of agriculture and of humanity’s ability to feed itself, since agriculture depends upon a vast array of locally and regionally adapted varieties. The industrially imposed paradigm of a handful of varieties suited to cheap oil, monoculture, and globalized distribution, is not only socioeconomically and politically destructive, but also renders agriculture and the food supply hyper-vulnerable to pests, diseases, and other factors that could cause the harvest to fail.
 
GMOs assault this ecological and agricultural balance in several ways. Governments and the seed cartel force a handful of proprietary varieties upon the market, driving out natural and economic biodiversity and seeking to render it extinct. (Monsanto has often publicly proclaimed its goal of enclosing all seeds within its patents.) Governments often criminalize the saving and use of public domain seed if it hasn’t been properly “certified” according to corporate and industrial standards. The effect of this planned economy imposed from the top down is often to render diverse and regionally-adapted varieties unavailable. Since a variety must be continually planted in order to continue to exist, a variety whose seeds are not distributed will quickly go extinct.
 
The era of corporate agriculture has indeed seen a mass extinction event of seeds. Around the world, in country after country, crop type after type, the story has been the same. The staff of available seeds has withered from many thousands to a mere handful. This is a part of the general mass extinction event being caused by industrialization which is not commented upon as much by the general public, but which is perhaps the most critical of all for human survival.
 
Once out in the field, GMOs also inevitably contaminate their surroundings. They contaminate other crops, and they contaminate any wild relatives in the vicinity. This is why, for example, organic canola is impossible in Canada. It’s also one of the drivers of the rise of superweeds, as wild relatives of canola and sugar beets quickly became contaminated with the herbicide-tolerant GM trait.
 
In Mexico, widespread GM contamination of maize was quickly discovered, long before GM maize had any legal status at all. By 2002 the government, after trying to quash the story, admitted the contamination. Although GM maize could not be legally planted, since NAFTA the US had dumped a vast amount of GM maize upon Mexico, including kernels which could be used for seed. This is in addition to whatever intentional illegal planting program the cartel and government had undertaken. It’s a common ploy, seen in India, Brazil, and here in Mexico: The cartel encourages widespread illegal planting and contamination. The government, now safely in the briar patch, argues that this accomplished fact should be legalized and “regulated”, instead of the invasion being fought and the criminals brought to justice. For good measure, the regulator will even argue that the extralegal cultivation has already proven the “safety” of the product, as part of its justification for never requiring any safety or environmental testing prior to approval.
 
Since then, the Mexican government has been working toward full legal approval and commercialization of GM maize. It has authorized widespread field trials and passed restrictive seed laws. Mexican farmers, citizens, medical professionals, scientists, and civil society groups have fought back, and have won some victories. This injunction is the latest round.
 
Biodiversity is critically important for its own sake and because GM contamination not only degrades the genetics of non-GM varieties of the crop, but that of the crop’s wild progenitors. By polluting the genome of the wild forerunners of maize, GM maize could forestall future breeding of maize as such. This is one of the reasons why contamination makes it imperative that we totally abolish GMOs with all possible speed.
 
The same battle is being fought around the world. Southeast Asia is the center of eggplant diversity, and in India (where it’s called brinjal), in Bangladesh, in the Philippines (where it’s called talong), eggplant is under assault by the cartel and governments who want to force a handful of Bt brinjal varieties, overriding and destroying the world heritage of what are currently thousands of native varieties. The recent report of India’s Technical Expert Committee (TEC) to the supreme court, among its other anti-GMO recommendations, called for continuing the 2010 moratorium on field trials of Bt brinjal issued by the environmental ministry, primarily on account of the threat to biodiversity. (This vast native diversity is also one of the many pieces of proof that there’s no need whatsoever for GM products. They serve zero human or agricultural purpose, but serve only the goals of corporate profit, enclosure, control, and domination. Always keep that in mind – these are the ONLY purposes of GMOs, and the only reasons corporations and governments are trying to force them upon humanity.)
 
The contamination issue renders the globalization of GMOs as such illegal under the Cartegna Protocol on Biosafety, which explicitly enshrines the precautionary principle and gives countries the right to ban or restrict GMOs based on the self-evident lack of scientific consensus on health and environmental safety. By now we can add the empirical proof of the lack of any such safety, and of the many health and ecological hazards of GMOs. Few of the signatories who have gone on to allow imports, field trials, and/or commercial cultivation have done so for the sake of any nationally-based industry. On the contrary, they’ve done so under pressure from the US, and because corrupt elements within these governments have profited from selling out the people of those countries. Nowhere have the people benefited from GMOs. On the contrary, without exception they have comprised a new form of colonization. International agreements like the Convention on Biodiversity can be seen only as laws which are brazenly broken by the powers driving globalization, or as scams. Either way we can dispense with the notion that the “rule of law” can ever be a reality anywhere corporatism exists.
 
(The Protocol was signed by all but a handful of rogue nations like the US, Canada, and Argentina. The Protocol, and therefore this refusal, has nothing to do with what a country may do within its own borders. On the contrary, the refusal to adhere to the agreement has everything to do with these governments’ goal of forcing their export of GMOs on other countries. It demonstrates an aggressive intent.)
 
All this is further confirmation that there can be no science or health-based public policy without the precautionary principle. We can never rationally, scientifically, or morally run the risks involved with genetic contamination unless the proponents first prove beyond a reasonable doubt that:
 
1. GMOs are necessary for any rational purpose.
 
2. GMOs are safe for human health.
 
3. GMOs can be prevented from contaminating other crops and the environment.
 
Governments and corporations never even tried to prove any of these. For good reason: The evidence record has since proven that GMOs serve no purpose whatsoever, they present serious health risks, and that preventing contamination is impossible.
 
Looking beyond the proximate health dangers of GMO products and affiliated pesticides, we see that genetic contamination from GMOs is a danger to the survival of the human race, since it directly threatens our food security. (So, far from GMOs being able to “feed the world”, on the contrary they threaten to inflict starvation upon us.)
 
Again, this proves that no kind of “co-existence” with GMOs, even if it were sincerely attempted by all parties, could ever work. Nothing will suffice but the total abolition of all GMOs.
 
Environmentalists often make the argument that we need to preserve endangered species and biodiverse habitats because of all the potential undiscovered medicinal benefits which can be found among them. In this case there’s no question: Humanity has a categorical imperative to preserve the genetic diversity of food crops and their wild progenitors. This is a matter of life and death, and we must treat it as such.
 

>

October 11, 2013

Join the March Against Monsanto

>

Tomorrow, October 12th, is the March Against Monsanto. It’s the next day of rage for the growing world movement against this worst of all corporate scourges. There will be thousands of actions around the world.
 
This day of rage, along with previous and future ones, is just a punctuation of the worldwide day-to-day resistance movement across the global South and Europe. If the event was thought up in the West, and is top-loaded with Anglo-American events, this is because the West hasn’t yet developed a permanent basis for a constant, relentless, disciplined struggle. But along with the labeling movement, the publicity and education deriving from this event will help generate a political will and recruit abolitionists who will then form the fighting organizations we need.
 
This day of democracy and affirmation coincides with a sordid event, corporate agriculture’s self-celebration at its “World Food Prize” gala. This is a propaganda event invented to coincide with the handing out of the Nobel Prizes and to capitalize on their cachet, if this still exists. The idea is for corporate ag – destructive, predatory, stagnant, decrepit, failing – to bestow upon itself that same Nobel nimbus. (It’s the same as the so-called “Nobel Prize for Economics”, invented in the 1970s with the intention of bestowing this kind of respectability upon Chicago school neoclassicist economics.) The corporate media happily plays along.
 
(Meanwhile the original Nobels also serve this corporate propaganda purpose. The most spectacular example was the awarding of the “peace prize” to the war criminal Obama. The purpose of this was to normalize the US’s permanent aggressive imperial warfare as the new baseline for “peace”.)
 
It’s no surprise or monstrosity that the world food prize is going to three GMO cadres, led by Monsanto’s Robert Fraley. This is why the prize was invented in the first place, to be given to such criminals. Fraley’s a typical Monsanto cadre.
 
He sums up the cartel’s totalitarian mindset: “What you are seeing is not just a consolidation of seed companies, it’s really a consolidation of the entire food chain.”
 
That’s what we’re up against. That’s why we fight.
 
There’s many reasons to fight to abolish Monsanto and GMOs. They’re agriculturally and environmentally totalitarian. They inevitably contaminate all other crops and the environment, and accelerate soil, water, air, and habitat destruction. They accelerate the same climate change which is cited as one of the reasons corporate ag must allegedly provide “new technology”. The more that GMOs are field tested and commercialized, i.e. the longer they exist at all, the worse this contamination shall become, and the more we’ll pass points-of-no-return where the contamination shall become significantly malign and irreversible.
 
They’re economically and politically totalitarian. The GMO cartel is increasing what’s already a non-competitive monopoly concentration in the seed sector. It aggressively uses this position to build horizontal and vertical monopoly power, enforce its dictates up and down the food production and distribution chains, drive non-GM seed varieties out of the market (and, more and more, out of existence), greatly jack up seed prices, force obscenely lopsided “contracts” upon farmers, persecute farmers with harassment, thuggery, and lawsuits, and get governments to enact repressive seed laws intended to escalate and accelerate this whole process.
 
That’s just one way in which the GMO cartel has seized control of governments around the world. While governments are naturally controlled by corporate power, the kind of control being exercised by the GMO corporations, and the unique threat to humanity and the Earth posed by such corporate control over agriculture and food, render this form of corporate control over government particularly nefarious. People can try to argue about the implication of corporate power where it comes to other sectors, but there can be no argument here – humanity must purge this clear and present danger to our freedom, our democracy, and our literal survival.
 
GMOs also present a clear and present danger to our health. All independent studies, and even almost all of the corporations’ own rigged studies, find reason for concern or alarm. The genetic engineering process itself, and the massive glyphosate residues in our food and water, wreck our microbiome (our internal gastrointestinal microbial community with which our bodies cooperate for mutual health), cause gastrointestinal inflammation which leads to every kind of disease, trigger escalations in allergies, asthma, autism, and every other kind of autoimmune disease, cause cancer, organ damage, infertility, miscarriages, and birth defects. These are just the best documented effects. Glyphosate-tolerant crops are also nutritionally denuded, and eating the processed foods made from them merely adds to the nutritional deficiency already inherent in diets centered on such “foods”, and the many diseases this can cause or exacerbate.
 
The most amazing thing is how all this is over such a pathetic, worthless product. GMOs are crap products which don’t work for any purpose which could actually help people. Their yield is poor, no improvement over non-GM conventional agriculture; they require far more pesticides than conventional ag; by helping weeds and insect pests build resistance to pesticides, they generate superweeds and superbugs against themselves, uncontrollable by the same poisons which were supposed to be the reasons for having these GMOs in the first place; the “special” GMOs – those for drought resistance, vitamin fortification, nitrogen-fixing, etc. – are all media hoaxes.
 
All these factors build the despair, anger, and sense of social, political, and economic cramp which are driving the March Against Monsanto, and the vast global movement of which it’s a part.
 
The trenchline runs across the global South, while here behind enemy lines in the West we are rising to take back our corporate-invaded land and agriculture. 
 

>>

October 10, 2013

“Co-existence” With GMOs Will Not Suffice, We Need To Abolish Them

>

“Test everything”, says Joseph Peila, the alfalfa farmer whose crop was contaminated by Roundup Ready GMOs. Indeed, but this won’t be sufficient, nor should it be our responsibility.
 
If we accept the notion that GMOs are permanently part of our agriculture and economy, that the best we can do is seek “co-existence” with them, and that all we can do is take purely defensive measures, at our own expense, this means several things.
 
1. We add to our own costs. (We pay to try to prove the integrity of our own crops.)
 
2. We place extra regulatory burdens upon ourselves. (We set up our own hoops and hurdles to conform to a world controlled by Monsanto.)
 
3. We allow corporations to foist yet another of their own costs upon the people. In other words, we allow corporations to place yet another tax upon us. We also allow corporations to place yet more regulations upon us.
 
4. We continue our surrender to GMOs. This surrender has gone more slowly than was hoped for by the Monsanto cadre who said, “The hope of the industry is that over time the market is so flooded that there’s nothing you can do about it.  You just sort of surrender”. But in the end it’ll be just as complete.
 
5. We continue accepting GM pollution of agriculture and the environment as predestined and unstoppable.
 
6. Since this contamination will, eventually, be complete, we seal our own extinction as organic farmers, non-GM conventional farmers, home gardeners, eaters of wholesome, natural food, and as anything else which would try to exist in a world free of this poison.
 
7. We also accept the total pollution and capture of politics and the economy by the GMO cartel, and our political and economic extinction, as citizens of a democracy and as a people not permanently debt-indentured. The fate of Monsanto’s sharecroppers around the world, which for over 300,000 Indian cotton farmers has been a fate worse than death, to the point they committed suicide, shall be the fate of us all under the joint domination of Monsanto and Wall Street.
 
Yes, at the moment it looks like we’ll need to take yet greater burdens upon ourselves, because these burdens, these taxes, regulations, and prohibitions, are being forced upon us by a gang of corporations.
 
The question is whether we accept this as the way of the world, cave in and surrender; or whether we take this state of affairs as proof that we CANNOT co-exist with the GMO cartel.
 
The truth is that there’s no other way: We must look at the inevitable, ever-spreading contamination caused by GMOs – totalitarian, in both the agricultural/environmental sense, and the economic/political sense – and conclude from this that nothing will suffice short of the total abolition of GMOs.
 
This is why the anti-GMO movement, however much it’s focused on labeling at the moment, must evolve to become an abolition movement.
 
In all our actions toward labeling, we must always be clear, and spread the word, that labeling is not sufficient, just as self-testing is not. There is no co-existence panacea. The end goal is abolition. We must use the labeling movement as the vehicle for building permanent grassroots abolitionist organizations.
 

>

October 9, 2013

There Is No Government Shutdown

>

It’s nothing but a political charade. I’ll start with a quick review of how government money works, and how the central government wants to use it.
 
A government sovereign in its own currency has no debt issues as long as it spends constructively and its spending doesn’t grossly exceed the productive capacity of the economy. That’s the basic premise of greenbackerism, including its current version, Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).
 
What we have today, however, are lies about alleged debt constraints. This is the deficit scare-mongering which is meant to conjure the right political environment for “austerity”. To the credit of the people, they haven’t let themselves be stampeded by this propaganda. The people consistently consider the deficit and debt to be lesser issues, compared to the quality of government spending. I.e., that it should be on programs which benefit the people as a whole, rather than which benefits corporations. We see how the Washington class and their corporate media simply impose this deficit-terror program against the will of the people.
 
Which leads to the second point, that US government spending is almost all corporate welfare, and simply goes down a destructive rathole. The only exceptions are pre-existing programs like Social Security, which the elites, including both Washington parties, want to gut.
 
I’m writing about this today to highlight again how the government’s ploys are all simply setting us up for further austerity assaults, when in fact there’s zero reason why the quantity of the deficit or debt, as opposed to its quality, ought to be an issue at all.
 
The so-called “government shutdown” needs to be seen in this light.
 
Every word that politicians, economists, and media pundits say about any alleged legal or “constitutional” restraints on spending is a lie. In general, we see how the system believes it has infinite money for corporate welfare, wars, weaponry, and the police state, and only starts claiming “budget constraints” where it comes to spending which might actually help some people.
 
In the same way, during this alleged “shutdown”, the government feels free to keep spending on those same malign and destructive things, but only claims its legal inability to spend where it comes to spending which might help anyone.
 
It’s a total fraud, intended, as I said, to further the “austerity” assault. Many of the programs now “shut down” are intended never to come back online again. Meanwhile, the two phony sides are wrangling toward their shared real goal, gutting Social Security and Medicare, which Obama will try to present as a Grand Compromise, while Republicans will put all the blame on Democrats. (But as usual it’ll be the Dems left making the affirmative claim, that some monstrosity is somehow a “good” thing. So it was with the health insurance bailout, AKA the right wing Heritage Foundation plan, AKA Obamacare.)
 
As always, the government does exactly what it wants to do and feels it can get away with, nothing more, nothing less. And why is the imperial executive so imperial and lawless where it comes to wars of aggression, assassinations, murder of US citizens without trial, GMO approvals, etc., but suddenly claims it can’t spend money because of the same Congress it otherwise ignores at its convenience?
 
There is no “government shutdown”. It’s pure theater.

>

October 7, 2013

The “Golden Rice” Myth Will Always Be With Us (For the Real Thing, Keep Waiting)

>

In spite of the decades-long, massive propaganda barrage by governments and the corporate media, the people have always been skeptical of GMOs. It doesn’t work for proponents to tell the truth, and most of the lies are similarly unimpressive. The flacks need special angles to try to make their cause look sympathetic.
 
For fifteen years now the “golden rice” scam has been a big part of GMO propaganda. Golden rice is fraudulently called the answer to vitamin A deficiency in the diets of children in many parts of the non-industrialized world. In spite of the golden rice scam having been debunked a long time ago, it’s still chugging along in the corporate media to this day, promoted by the cartel’s go-to hacks like Mark Lynas, Patrick Moore, and Stewart Brand. (These same clowns are shills for nukes, geoengineering, fracking, nanotechnology, climate change denial, etc.)
 
The original golden rice, called “GR 1”, had such a meager amount of vitamin A that you’d need twelve times the normal daily intake to get the nutritionally necessary amount. Meanwhile even this amount must be accompanied by the sufficient right kinds of fats and oils in the diet to digest it. This tends to be lacking in the overall diets of the people this rice is supposed to be “fed to”. So this alleged vitamin A source is also non-holistic with the diet of the people who would be eating it, and would for that reason be ineffective, even if it contained significant amounts of the vitamin, which it does not. African diets, for example, are not holistic with it. As for addressing famine (caused by corporatism itself), another alleged miracle of golden rice, by definition people who are starving won’t be consuming sufficient fats to properly digest rice, so it’s a fraud to give a hungry person rice and claim he’s getting the micronutrients from it.
 
The new paradigm is “Golden Rice 2” (GR2), which allegedly would provide enough vitamin A in a normal serving. (It still wouldn’t work outside the right cuisine.) But this version, just like its forerunner, has languished in the test fields for years as breeders try to backcross the Japonica cultivar (the only type which has actually existed in the laboratory, but which isn’t suited for field production) with Indica varieties actually grown by farmers. So far an Indica variety of golden rice doesn’t exist. And there’s lots of other technical difficulties which still haven’t been worked out over these fifteen years.
 
The fact is that “golden rice” is a technical boondoggle, and all the claims that “environmentalists” are obstructing it are false. If everyone on Earth supported golden rice, it still wouldn’t be ready for prime time, and probably never will be. But then, this bogus claim is part of the propaganda value of the idea of “golden rice”, which is far more valuable to the cartel than the actual rice itself will ever be. That’s why Syngenta’s made such a big show of “donating” its patent. It has no expectation that golden rice will ever be widely commercialized. (Of course, the donation is contingent on this lack of broad commercialization, and applies only to some Potemkin “humanitarian” distribution. Any real commercialization would take place under the normal circumstances of enclosure, indenture, domination. That’s why Philippino farmers are united in opposing golden rice, to the point of engaging in direct action against field trials.)
 
(Meanwhile the propagandists, telling one lie about environmentalist obstruction out of one side of their mouths, out of the other side are simultaneously claiming that golden rice is already saving lives. Obviously these can’t both be true at the same time. In fact neither are true. The rice doesn’t really exist, and the reason for this is technical, not political.)
 
The main front group working on and publicizing golden rice, the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), has itself admitted that not only is golden rice nowhere near ready for field production, but that even if it ever becomes so, it’s not clear that the rice would do anything to relieve blindness caused by vitamin A deficiency.
 
(Meanwhile in the Philippines there are already programs in action right now which are using dietary supplements to alleviate VAD and visual problems related to it. These programs are far less expensive than golden rice research, and far less expensive than the subsidies required for its commercialization would be.) 
 
Of course, “golden rice” is not in fact intended to supply anyone with sufficient dietary vitamin A. It’s intended to be a media ploy, and it’s been very successful at that. The GMO complex, as part of its “Feed the World” Big Lie, propagated the fraud that golden rice was an imminent miracle food. All around the world the corporate media took up and amplified the message: Golden Rice, and GMOs in general, were a wondrous boon to humanity. Picture if The Loch Ness chamber of commerce were to fabricate a press release declaring that there was documentary proof the monster is a dinosaur and that tourists from around the world should rush to the Loch to see it while they can, and the New York Times were to uncritically plaster this on the front page. That’s exactly what’s happened with ”golden rice” and similar GMO publicity stunts. 
 
This kind of PR campaign has been necessary because the facts of GMOs are more prosaic and mercenary: There are only two “real” kinds of GMOs, those engineered to resist insects (almost all of them are modified to express the insecticide Bt, Bacillus thuringiensis, in their cells), and those for herbicide tolerance (HT; so far they’ve been engineered to resist glyphosate; but with the rise of glyphosate-resistant superweeds and subsequent collapse of glyphosate as an effective herbicide, there are new generations of HT varieties in the pipeline, resistant to ever more toxic herbicides – 2, 4-D, dicamba, etc.).
 
All other alleged GMO types are really conventional varieties with a particular trait, engineered to be Bt-expressing and/or HT. For example the USDA itself admits that so-called “drought resistant” GM corn is really no more drought resistant than the conventional varieties which the corporations pirated, but is merely these same varieties engineered to be Roundup Ready.
 
That truth is the reason the GMO complex needs poster children which will allegedly “feed the world”, cure disease, serve as nutritional panaceas, etc. That these are all lies, that these varieties either never effectively exist in the first place (for example the Kenyan GM sweet potato), or are redundantly engineered versions of things that already conventionally exist (for example the allegedly cancer-fighting purple tomato), are irrelevant to the corporate media, which slavers over these stories. Even the rare MSM outlets which are usually skeptical of GMOs tend to turn into Monsanto groupies where it comes to these kinds of stories.
 
These ploys are also Trojan horses. “Golden rice” is pushed by USAID and other corporate front organizations posing as “humanitarian”. In the guise of offering GMO-based ”humanitarian aid” they try to get countries to lift import restrictions on GMOs. If this works they can then dump the “aid”, further ravaging the already-devastated indigenous food production of these economies (all hunger on Earth today is artificially caused by corporate globalization). Then the “humanitarian” GMOs will be followed through the protective door they kicked down by the regular onslaught of Bt and HT varieties, whose only purpose is commodification, enclosure, and enslavement.
 
Meanwhile, as always the true solution is ready at hand. Indigenous farmers can supply all the vitamin A any population needs with a regionally adapted diversity of green vegetables. But this would help keep communities intact, organic, and self-reliant. It would maintain community prosperity and happiness. It would decentralize power and freedom. It would hinder corporate hierarchy, enclosure, and tyranny. That’s why in the eyes of corporations, government, and media, it’s a non-solution.
 
So even if golden rice worked, it would still be just a stopgap within the same industrial agricultural framework which created the problem in the first place. The IRRI itself admits it doesn’t know if GR2 can ever work. GR1 definitely doesn’t work.
 
But the fact is that golden rice is far more useful in theory, as a propaganda ploy and as an example of the wickedness of “obstructionists”, than as a deployed reality. In this case it simply wouldn’t work. It would fail according to its own unique promises, and it would fail in the usual ways all GM crops fail (yield, increased pesticide use, superweeds/superbugs, crop and environmental contamination, soil degradation, endemic crop weakness, health problems). It would fail, and the hacks wouldn’t be able to blame obstuctionists. They’d be back to their usual dismal position of telling outright lies about how it’s performing.
 
That’s why we can expect “golden rice” to remain a permanent mirage.

>

October 5, 2013

Science vs. “Science”, the TED Example

Filed under: Corporatism, Food and Farms, Mainstream Media, Scientism/Technocracy — Tags: , , — Russ @ 5:23 am

>

Another example of the increasingly pervasive corporatist Gleichschaltung. In spite of some good stuff like Ron Finley’s talk about urban agriculture, TED was always primarily a corporatist forum, with lots of breathless techno-porn, scientism, and corporate-retreat-speaker type stuff. They’ve now made it official. The hilarious thing about the moronic letter the TED Leadership sent out is that every word of it describes pro-GMO hacks better than anyone. But we see how, for corporate propaganda forums, science and anti-science are turned upside down.
 
(Don’t be thrown by the TED communique’s new preface. The pro-corporate bias of the letter itself remains intact.)

 

If you read the comment thread under the post I linked, you’ll see examples of a new propaganda gambit which has lately cropped up among the hacks. This is the brazen assertion that real scientific testing of food should be held to a much higher standard than corporate tests which are used to get things approved by regulators.
 
This is Monsanto’s lame attempt to counter an ongoing PR disaster. The ill-fated attempt of the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) and other bureaucracies to slander the 2012 Seralini study was just the most prominent example of how these “regulators” rubber-stamp fraudulent, shoddy corporate studies but try to subject actual independent scientific studies to the most idiotic and fraudulent level of pseudo-rigor. The Seralini flap displayed openly, for all the world to see, what corrupt flunkeys the regulatory agencies are.
 
The GMO flacks, losing this battle badly, are desperately trying to repair the damage by directly claiming that this double standard for real science and corporate junk “science” is appropriate. It’s so lame because there’s no conceivable argument one could make for this, just the brazen assertion. As always, they have nothing.
 
The double standard itself is nothing new, just its explicit assertion. Many years ago as an environmentalist I noticed how any kind of rational claim, or anything which would try to actually help people and the environment, was supposed to be subject to the highest bar of nitpicking scrutiny, while the more obviously insane or mercenary something was, the less it was expected to meet any standard of scientific, rational, or moral rigor.

>

October 4, 2013

GMO Herbicide Tolerance: Failure and Destruction

>

One of the original propaganda lies of GMOs was that they would require less spraying of poison. But in country after country it’s the same story – poison use has radically escalated. In Argentina herbicide use escalated from 30 million liters a year to over 300 million during the GMO era. In just five years following commercialization herbicide use in Brazil doubled. In India the use of insecticides, after a brief dip immediately following the widespread commercialization of Bt cotton, has surged to a level exceeding the status quo ante. A superb 2013 report* by a team led by Jack Heinemann documented that herbicide use in the US and Canada has escalated to 107% of the pre-GMO level, bucking the general Western trend of decreasing use (including in these countries prior to the mid-90s). Meanwhile use of both herbicides and insecticides continues to plummet in Europe, which has largely eschewed GMO cultivation in favor of conventional modes of production.
 
[*This report is excellent on poison use, and yet that aspect is secondary to the report’s devastating analysis of GMO yield, seed sector monopoly concentration, and the corporate sector’s utter lack of innovative work on crop germplasm. I’ll be writing more on these aspects later on.]
 
This proves that when flacks claim GMOs reduce the slathering of poisons, it’s a lie. On the contrary, they increase the dumping of poison on our food and soil, and the poisoning of our air, water, and general environment. In fact, this proves that the goal of the GMO regime was to increase poison use all along. Which stands to reason, since it would defy common sense that poison companies would introduce a technology which would reduce the use of their product. Monsanto’s propaganda for Roundup was always absurd on its face.
 
So for as long as we continue the GMO adventure, we’ll continue to poison ourselves and the Earth at a rate far exceeding what even conventional industrial ag would have achieved. Let’s take a quick look at the next step.
 
The number one proximate function of GMOs is to engineer herbicide tolerant crops to make for more “efficient” poison-based weed control. This is already collapsing. As predicted, the massive escalation in glyphosate use on account of GMOs has merely generated dozens of glyphosate-tolerant superweeds against itself.
 
Sane people would say at this point that the whole concept of genetically engineered herbicide tolerance has proved a failure. For example, India’s Technical Expert Committee (TEC) advising the supreme court came to exactly this conclusion in its recent report: Herbicide tolerant crops are inappropriate for India.
 
But we do not find sane people among the corporate system’s elites and supporters. On the contrary, it’s taken for granted that the only acceptable response to failure is to double down on what’s already proven to fail. This anti-scientific, anti-rational ideology is the standard mindset in the corporate world, in government, in the corporate media, in academia, and among every sort of establishment “expert”.
 
In this case this anti-science ideology advocates GMOs engineered to be tolerant to a second generation of even more toxic herbicides, to replace the extremely toxic glyphosate, which no longer works. These escalated poisons include 2,4-D (one of the primary ingredients of Agent Orange) and dicamba. These are the same ultra-toxic herbicides which the original propaganda promised would be rendered obsolete by Roundup Ready crops.
 
Everyone knows that the only possible result of this doubling down will be that the superweeds will adapt and resist this second generation even more quickly than they adapted to glyphosate (2,4-D resistant waterhemp has already been documented, and its use hasn’t even been escalated yet), and in the meantime the vicious poisoning of our crops, our food, our soil, our bodies, and the environment will become even more catastrophic. It’s reaching the point of becoming a collective will to suicide.
 
The regulatory establishments of the US, Canada, and elsewhere fully embrace the anti-science ideology of corporatism and thus government regulators have always considered the GMO project to be normative. Governments have aggressively promoted GMOs and given them every subsidy and assistance. This case has been no different. Canada and Brazil have already approved Agent Orange corn and soybeans.
 
Among the fully coordinated GMO countries, the only weak link for the “second generation” herbicide onslaught has been, ironically, the US itself, where the USDA has been dragging its feet about approving Dow’s Agent Orange corn. Dow originally hoped to have it commercialized in 2012, and then was assuming 2013 would be the year. But earlier this year the USDA announced it would be conducting a more thorough review, which will postpone approval at least till 2014. This procrastination is certainly not because the USDA is having second thoughts about its anti-science ideology. It’s because Agent Orange corn has provoked the most broad-based business sector opposition any GMO product has faced. Not just organic but conventional farmers and large vegetable canners and processors came together to form the Save Our Crops Coalition to lobby against approval of the second-generation herbicide tolerant GMOs, fearing a great escalation of what’s already a severe problem with 2,4-D drifting from where it’s sprayed to contaminate other people’s crops.
 
Am I being too pessimistic about the USDA? Is it possible they’re thinking things over? The answer to that is given by its recent approval of a more obscure second generation herbicide tolerant GMO, Bayer’s FG72 soybean, engineered to be tolerant of isoxaflutole (IFT). This is a “probable human carcinogen” according to the EPA, and has been found to cause liver and thyroid tumors in rats. It persists in surface waters, kills wild plants and aquatic animals, and has been implicated in drift which has killed cultivated vegetable crops. It’s exactly the kind of extreme poison we were promised the first generation of GMOs would render obsolete.
 
Clearly the USDA’s plan here is to approve this and perhaps other relatively obscure products, and then use that as a precedent to justify approving Agent Orange corn.
 
The concept of controlling weeds through massive spraying of poison cannot sustainably work. We knew this in principle from the start, and with the rise of glyphosate-resistant superweeds it’s been empirically proven. This failure will only become more profound with the deployment and collapse of the second generation of poisons.
 
And while the project fails, what will be the cost? For the sake of this insanity, which itself is nothing but the facade of vile corporate greed for money, power, domination, and control, we’re poisoning ourselves. We’re poisoning the crops. We’re poisoning the soil. We’re poisoning the water and air. We’re poisoning our own bodies, and those of our children, starting in the womb. We’re poisoning our souls.
 
None of this is even the slightest bit necessary or practical. Organic weed control has always comprised the most effective set of methods, and its methods work to build the soil and render all – crops, soil, water, air, body – more healthy. Agroecological solutions are not only necessary, not the only ones which work at all. They’re the best. They’re desirable.
 
But to get what we need to have, and what we want to have, to save ourselves from death by poison and claim for ourselves our human birthright as creative, prosperous stewards of the Earth, we’ll first have to take action against those who would kill us and the Earth. We must abolish GMOs.
 
Abolition!
>

October 3, 2013

The GMO/Glyphosate Regime and Crop Disease

>

The unraveling of GMO-based agriculture continues in the US as a devastating corn disease, Goss’s wilt, lays waste to Roundup Ready (RR) corn.
 
A bacterium takes advantage of any weakness or physical damage to a plant to infiltrate it and infect its cells. The outward symptoms are lesions on the leaves. The infection badly depresses yield, and often kills the plant outright. The disease used to be regional, mostly occurring in western Nebraska and eastern Colorado. But since 2008 it’s spread explosively across the Midwest and southward. 2011 was particularly bad in Illinois and Indiana. Although thanks to drier conditions the outbreaks haven’t been as bad the last two years, farmers and agronomists are still living in fear of how bad the epidemic will get in the future.
 
This is the kind of bad news even the corporate media can’t just ignore. So the New York Times is on the job, peddling the Monsanto party line.
 

No one is certain why Goss’s wilt has become so rampant in recent years. But many plant pathologists suspect that the biggest factor is the hybrids chosen for genetic modification by major seed companies like Monsanto, DuPont, and Syngenta.

“My theory is that there were a couple of hybrids planted that were selected because they had extremely high yield potentials,” said Dr. Robertson, whose research is financed by Monsanto and the Agriculture Department. “They also may have been highly susceptible to Goss’s wilt.”

 

 
This explanation does imply the hazards of monoculture agriculture. The less genetically diverse your agriculture is, the more vulnerable it’ll be to disease and other problems. But it’s still trying to be as superficial and ad hoc as possible: The problem is insufficient technology, so it can be fixed with more technology. Sure enough, the piece, which started out describing a broad trend, ends with an anecdote about one farmer who found a temporary respite by switching to a different variety of RR corn.
 
But why is corn becoming more susceptible to this disease in the first place? The problem of lack of biodiversity wasn’t new in 2008. To answer this we need a structural explanation.
 
Industrial agriculture is based on a completely false and anti-scientific view of nature. It comprehends nature as a machine with discrete, interchangeable, mass-producible parts. This is rooted in 19th century agricultural dogma which decreed that all plant growth and health is based on three nutrients: Nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K). This led to what organic agriculture pioneer Albert Howard called “the NPK mentality”, which would reduce all natural processes to simple manipulations of a few variables. Once you’ve simplified everything that way, and done so in a way which recognizes only a few readily industrialized factors as meaningful, your path is open to organize everything according to the rhythms of industrialization, mechanization, corporate organization, and power and wealth accumulation.
 
The NPK mentality was the perfect ideology to complement the rising industrialization of agriculture and its increasing control by big corporations and governments. Who cares that food production and distribution was always naturally locally and regionally based? Since agriculture is nothing but the measured application of three nutrients and some water (with the soil being a passive medium), it’s best to put it under the control of centralized power hierarchies who can deliver these few inputs most prodigiously and efficiently.
 
Genetic engineering developed its own version of the NPK ideology. Its dogma is: One gene = one trait. This dogma, along with the older one that genetics are the main (or only) factor dictating real life outcomes, enabled technicians to claim that they’d soon be able to precisely analyze, predict, and manipulate the relationship between genetic codes and the way plants, animals, and humans would develop and act in real life. This was their path to funding and influence, and it soon became the path to power for biotech corporations engaging in genetic engineering. One-gene-one-trait became the basis for all the foundation lies of genetic engineering: That it was a precision technology, that its effects could be precisely calibrated, that it would not have unforeseen effects, that food products generated this way would be safe and nutritious. The goal is to achieve total corporate enclosure, control, and domination through GMOs and eugenics.
 
Based on these lies governments moved aggressively to approve and commercialize GMOs without performing any safety testing. To this day no government has ever performed a scientific safety trial on any GMO. The US set the pace for this policy aggression*, under the banner of “substantial equivalence”, the lie that GMO crops are identical to real crops and therefore, by definition, don’t need to be safety tested.
 
[*NOT any kind of neglect or abdication, the way the reformists who want “better regulation” would have us believe. The US government, including the USDA, FDA, state department and others, has always been aggressively pro-GMO. Giving more power to the FDA simply means giving more power to Monsanto. Nor has this been any kind of secret, with Obama or any previous president. Obama openly installed Monsanto cadre Michael Taylor as FDA “food czar”, charged with enforcing the new Food Control Act regime on Monsanto’s behalf. The NGOs and others who claim to oppose Monsanto but have supported the Food Control Act and a hopped-up FDA regime have no excuse for their schizophrenic, self-contradictory position. They’re conscious liars or pernicious, willfully ignorant idiots.]
 
One-gene-one-trait has been completely disproven, most spectacularly by the system’s own Human Genome Project, which expected based on the number of phenotypal traits to find over 100,000 genes in the human genetic code, and instead discovered only c. 20,000. We now know that most genes have multiple effects, and that the range of these effects is very difficult to exhaustively catalog. Similarly, we know that most traits of the phenotype (the way the body physically develops) are the result of several genes collaborating. Here again, it’s very difficult to identify all the genetic contributors.
 
Meanwhile the nature-over-nurture theory of genetic determinism has long been on science’s trash heap. We’ve known for decades that most genetic effects are dependent upon environmental factors to varying degrees. In effect, a genetic potentiality is often a switch which must still be turned on (or off) by some external factor: The mother’s health during pregnancy, the pregnant mother’s diet, the infant’s diet, infant exposure to things in the water or air, psychological stresses, etc.
 
So the two basic theories of genetic engineering have been completely disproven. Yet to this day all advocacy of GMOs, and all the alleged “science” supporting GMOs, is based on these same two crackpot falsehoods: That heredity is destiny, and that one gene = one trait. We see how, just as genetic engineering has zero to do with science and is simply technical manipulation, so pro-GMO ideology has zero to do with science, but is rather a fraudulent political ideology based on nothing but Big Lies. For its true believers, it’s a fundamentalist secular religion.
 
The takeaway: Genetic engineering is not science, and support for GMOs is anti-scientific, based on proclaimed fidelity to crackpot lies.
 
Coming back to the broader NPK ideology, we find the same crackpot view of nature in its concept of the soil. Here’s where we’ll find the cause of the Goss’s wilt epidemic.
 
I said earlier that NPK considers the soil to be an inert medium, just there to hold the roots in place. This is completely false. On the contrary, the soil comprises a rich ecosystem of microbes, annelids (like earthworms), and other organisms. These engage in an incredibly complex interaction among themselves and with a vast array of soil nutrients, far beyond the big three of industrial dogma, to create the organic basis of plant growth. Plants depend upon this soil ecology for their nutrition, for water (an organically healthy soil retains moisture far better than the sterile soils of monoculture), for the physical integrity of their roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits. Plant health starts from soil health (and of course seed health), and plant resistance to pests and disease depends upon the basic health of the plant and the soil.
 
Another reductive notion related to the NPK ideology is “germ theory”, which thickly postulates that a germ comes along and “causes” a disease. This too is crackpot science. Organic terrain theory has proven the opposite. In most cases, for there to be a significant incidence of a disease, the pathogen must first find the right habitat (the “terrain”) where it can thrive, and then it must find a weakened target. This is the usual scenario where an epidemic breaks out.
 
In agriculture, disease outbreaks are usually from a combination of a degraded habitat providing the right terrain for a pathogen to proliferate, and unhealthy crops providing an excellent target for this pathogen. In the case of Goss’s wilt, the herbicide glyphosate, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup, has been a major cause of both soil destruction and crop weakness. I’ll explain how this has caused the epidemic of Goss’s wilt.
 
Glyphosate is extremely destructive toward the soil ecology. It directly kills many beneficial soil organisms, weakens others, and chelates soil nutrients, binding them and rendering them lost to the ecosystem. But it also leaves others, including several potentially pathogenic ones, unscathed. This includes the bacterium Clavibacter michiganensis spp. nebraskensis, which causes Goss’s wilt. These unaffected microbes are then able to proliferate in the absence of predators and competitors.
 
[Glyphosate has a similar effect within our bodies. When ingested (most of our meat and dairy products, and almost all processed foods, are full of glyphosate residue; also the drinking water in many places) it wreaks havoc with our gut microbial community, our microbiome. This can have devastating health effects. For now I’ll have to save that subject for future posts.]
 
At the same time glyphosate weakens the crop itself. The Roundup Ready GE trait which renders a plant “herbicide tolerant” does not let the plant remain unscathed. On the contrary the crop is physically damaged and nutritionally depleted. (In turn, to the extent our diets rely upon RR crops, our diets with be nutritionally deficient.) The RR trait simply lets the plant overcome a portion of the herbicidal effects, just enough to drag itself along in a weakened state and produce a crop. (The physical state of being genetic engineered in itself also tends to weaken a plant. This most commonly manifests as the “yield-drag” effect, but it has many other such effects which are difficult to discern among other causes of crop failure.)
 
So glyphosate, by degrading the soil ecology, places the Goss’s wilt microbe in an advantaged position. At the same time it renders the target plant in a weakened state. Since 2008 we’ve been seeing the result.
 
Of course the corporate system and its corporate media cannot acknowledge this, since it contradicts the NPK ideology of soil as inert, and because the only solution would be to bring an end to Roundup-based agriculture and replace it with a healthy agriculture in harmony with the soil, which would build the soil rather than destroy it. Since GMOs are the last great hope for corporatism’s future, nothing which refutes the GMO regime as such will get a hearing or be acted upon.
 
Instead we’ll see the usual kludge attempts. It’s the same thing with glyphosate resistant superweeds, which have been expanding exponentially with every passing year. Part of the reason for the acceleration of Roundup-caused soil destruction is that more and more Roundup needs to be sprayed every year to have any effect at all on the target weeds. The whole Roundup regime is collapsing. But the system’s one and only idea is to replace it with other, even more poisonous herbicides – 2,4-D, dicamba, and the GMOs which are engineered to be tolerant to them. Everyone knows this won’t work, and that the collapse of these herbicides will come even faster than with glyphosate, as weeds are developing not just glyphosate resistance but general herbicide resistance. 2,4-D resistant waterhemp has already been documented. (We see the same effect with CAFO-generated superbugs resistant to specific antibiotics as well as developing a general resistance to all antibiotics. Glyphosate, BTW, isn’t just specifically an herbicide, but is a broad-spectrum biocide, in fact an antibiotic. So it too is contributing to the evolution of potentially harmful microbes which may be broadly resistant to all treatment with antibiotics.)
 
The response to the Goss’s wilt has the same kludge character as this general response to superweeds. Acknowledging the obvious failure of the project is unacceptable. At all costs, the GMO regime must stagger along for as long as it can. So if existing GMO corn varieties, in all their narrow lack of genetic diversity, are being ravaged by a disease, then the solution has to be to grudgingly, under duress, widen the genetic pool just enough to get a few seasons of corn free of the plague. Keep doing this for as long as possible.
 
That’s the one and only idea these builders of a Tower of GMO Babel have.
 
Industrial agriculture cannot endure. It’s unsustainable for many reasons. Most obviously it depends upon infinite cheap fossil fuel. But the world is at the end of cheap fossil fuels. It also depends upon fossil water extracted from depleting aquifers, and large phosphorus deposits which can be cheaply industrially mined. These too are becoming depleted. Any of these three may become the proximate cause for the collapse of industrial ag.
 
As I wrote about here, a fourth potential cause is massive crop failure caused by the endemic weakness of monoculture GM crops and the destruction of the soil they depend upon.
 
There’s a good solution to all this, and only one solution. We must replace industrial agriculture with a restored traditional, organic agriculture, enhanced by the marvelous discoveries of modern agroecological science. The science has already proven that even today, in spite of industrial ag’s massive resource inputs, acre for acre low-external-input polyculture farming outproduces industrial monocropping in terms of both calories and nutrition. This difference will become infinite once the end of cheap fossil fuels renders industrial ag economically and therefore physically impossible.
 
If humanity wants to avoid the worst famine effects of this collapse, if we want to not only survive but thrive, we must undertake this agricultural revolution. It’s possible, it’s doable, and there’s no other option anyway. All we need is the will to do it.
 

<

October 1, 2013

“Feed the World” Is A Big Lie

>

“Feed the World” is a classic Big Lie. Corporate agriculture has been dominant for fifty years, it currently produces enough food to comfortably feed 10 billion people, yet of the 7 billion on Earth, 1 billion go hungry, while another 2 billion experience various kinds of dietary diseases. That’s proof beyond any reasonable doubt that corporate ag cannot feed the world and does not want to, because its profit is based on imposing artificial scarcity on naturally abundant food. (This natural abundance is 100% the work of nature and the actual growers, 0% that of governments, corporations, or professional liars. All these only work to destroy abundance.) GMO seed patenting, of course, has no goal other than to make this corporate enclosure and artificial scarcity far worse. It wants to double down on corporate industrial ag.
.
The whole notion that the world needs corporations to “feed” it is also the worst kind of anti-democratic, anti-human passivity. This is no accident. Just as agroecology and Food Sovereignty are the only way forward for all of humanity to provide itself with enough food, and healthy, nutritious, non-poisoned food, so these also comprise the mode of food production and distribution which gives free rein to human action, creativity, self-management, and democracy. So it’s obvious why, politically, the power structure wants to force Big Ag’s total control upon us, and destroy the agroecological alternative.
.
I think this is the main line of counterattack: GMOs have no reason to exist whatsoever; there’s never been any economic demand or natural market for them; no one – farmers, eaters, food manufacturers and retailers – wants them around; they’re a pure artifice and imposition of the corporate welfare planned economy. They’re purely gratuitous, purely pointless, a crappy product, totally worthless to anyone for any purpose. Pro-GMO liars have no argument in favor of their product other than this “Feed the World” lie. Therefore, this lie must be demolished. I’d place this prior even to arguing the socioeconomic and human health evidence, though these too are very important. But the lead argument is that GMOs serve no purpose, have no rationale, fulfill no need, and have been correctly not wanted by anyone but the GMO cadres themselves in corporations and government. They serve zero purpose other than to increase corporate and government power and wealth, and to repress agricultural innovation (100% of which occurs among decentralized farmers and public sector breeding programs) and scientific research (as a rule patented plant materials are available only to corporate-vetted researchers), just as monopoly consolidation and “intellectual property” repress all innovation and change in every other sector, and in society and politics at large.
.
This is also why we must not only reject specific neoliberal assaults like the G8’s “New Alliance” and AGRA’s “second green revolution” for Africa. We must also reject to any implication that a corporate globalization front like the G8 should be doing anything at all. Not only because its action will always be evil (on behalf of Monsanto, Wall Street, and other corporate sectors), but because even to contemplate something like “what should the West do?” is implicitly to give aid and comfort to the Big Lie that world agriculture and world food is in any crisis at all other than the artificial crisis generated by those exact same corporatist cadres and policies. As we know with the wars, the one and only worthwhile thing the West could ever do for humanity is to GET OUT. That’s why we need an abolition movement here in the West as well, to get corporatism out of our landbases and societies. But in the meantime we can support the heroic efforts of the rest of humanity to resist and roll back the corporate onslaught.

>

« Newer Posts