Anti-democracy forces are mustering all their legal weapons against Hawaii’s recently enacted county-level pesticide and GMO restrictions. These new laws, modest and inadequate as they are, are still too democratic for the poison corporations.
The new offensive has two prongs so far. The corporations have filed a federal lawsuit claiming that regional democracy, in the form of county-level legislation, is illicit according to federal and state law and the constitution.
Meanwhile there’s an attempt in the state legislature to pass a so-called “Right to Farm” law. This kind of law is really a pro-corporate scam. These laws claim to want to protect local farmers from onerous legislation, but are really meant to prevent communities from legally protecting themselves from corporate invasions, such as the pesticide test plantations which have turned Kauai into one big poison gas zone. For now, the bill may end up dying in the state House.
Anyone who really wants to help local agriculture would want to pass legislation strengthening communities against alien corporations. Most “Right to Farm” laws are meant to do the opposite, aggravating corporate prerogatives in order to override democracy. (Meanwhile such laws seldom do much to protect real farmers against truly onerous regulations. Often they explicitly exempt real farmers from protection.)
Philosophically/ideologically, we need to get our minds straight. We must recognize that agriculture is naturally local/regional, that commodification/corporatization of it is illegitimate, and that corporate agriculture is necessarily irrational and destructive. Two conclusions which follow from its illegitimacy are that no large-scale central government has any legitimacy to “regulate” agriculture or food, and that no corporation can hold a patent on any seed or plant, nor can government issue such a patent. The “supremacy clause” is illegitimate, as is the “commerce clause” as interpreted by the corporate courts. Examples of its necessary destuctiveness include the way centralized, commodified agriculture automatically relies on ever-escalating deployment of poison, and automatically degrades the soil and devastates the environment.
We must recognize that the corporate state is a monolith, with concentrated power itself constituting tyranny. Any nominal division of “public” government from “private” corporations is a meaningless, false, misdirectional distinction. Corporations are extensions of government, the Fourth Branch in US constitutional parlance. We must completely, non-negotiably reject the legitimacy of corporations and their prerogatives, and implicitly draw all conclusions which follow. There’s no such thing as corporate “rights”, corporations have no right to exist at all, and we the people would be much better off in every way if corporations were abolished completely.
Until we build this ideological discipline and refuse to be diverted from its full logic, we’ll remain confused and without self-assurance, and our actions will remain incoherent and non-cumulative. Our minds will remain the most potent weapons in the hands of the oppressor, as Biko put it.