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June 29, 2014

Notes on GMO Scientism and its Ideological Threads

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One of the constant ideological threads among scienticians and adherents of the scientism cult is denial of how poisoning our bodies damages our health, and shrill hostility toward anyone who states the fact that our food and water are being poisoned.
 
This is part of their hostility toward the body and their resentment of the fact that the conscious mind, itself just an epiphenomenon of neurobiology, needs to concern itself with care of the mere physical body.
 
Support for GMOs and other agricultural poisons is therefore, for many, a gesture of anti-body defiance, and is self-evidently an expression of homicidal-suicidal resentment toward one’s own body.
 
This is obviously the basis of the transhumanist religion. Ironically, although the devotees of this cult see themselves as rational technologists in thinking that some aspect of the mind can be transferred to a computer, this is really just a rehash of age-old metaphysics and mysticism of “the soul” as distinct from the inferior, mechanical body. The transhumanists are merely epigones of a prehistoric mindset.
 
It’s also ironic that they despise this marvelously crafted work, the human body, so well designed by millions of years of evolution, in favor of a relatively shoddy machine which imperfectly conscious humans constructed over the last few years. This is one of the many manifestations of anti-evolutionism and creationist ideology expressed by today’s scientism cult. They deny the craftsmanship of evolution while religiously fetishizing the idea of what their own alleged godhead can “create”.
 
So we can see how support for poison-based agriculture has, as one of its ideological threads, a deranged epigone version of an ancient religious cult notion, the duality of mind and body. This of course dovetails excellently with the debunked genetic engineering ideology, that one gene = one trait, and so an engineer can remove a gene from one organism and insert it into another with predictable results. It also dovetails with the broader NPK ideology, that agriculture is just the sum of its inputs, which can be dismantled, reassembled, mixed and matched, in any way the manipulator desires. GE ideology is just a subset of this broader fallacy. I’ll be writing more about how it dovetails with eugenics, and how today’s genetic engineering cadres are direct descendants, ideologically and institutionally, of the original, more honestly racist eugenicists.
 
In every case we have a hatred for holistic systems, and especially for ideas about these systems. It’s all grounded in the worst aspects of human nature – greed, hatred, lust for domination, self-loathing. These ideological threads offer the delusion that one man can be an island, that the food he eats and the water he drinks aren’t the same as those he poisoned for everyone else, and most of all that someday, somehow, the pure soul shall break free of this disgusting prison of the body. So even if we are poisoning the body, it won’t matter since we’ll soon break free of it anyway. The “get off this rock” fantasy, and the hatred of the earth it expresses, is another version of the same pathology, and leads to the same nihilist practical conclusion. Since we’ll be “breaking free” of the earth anyway, there’s no reason not to destroy it while we’re here.
 
These are all, in turn, clearly versions of another age-old religious doctrine, that there’s going to be a “second coming” or some other kind of apocalypse. Therefore, as Reagan’s interior secretary James Watt said, why worry about poisoning and destroying the environment? IBGYBG (I’ll-be-gone-you’ll-be-gone), as they say on Wall Street.
 
So there’s some notes on the ideological basis of support for poison-based agriculture and how it dovetails with the corporate drive for profit, power, control, and domination.

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June 27, 2014

GMO News Summary June 27, 2014

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*The 2012 Seralini study, the best scientific work done on a GMO to date and one of the best scientific studies of recent years, has been republished by Environmental Sciences Europe. The new publication includes expanded material, a reply to the media smear campaign against the study, and a commentary on how the original publication was censored by an anti-scientific cabal presided over by a Monsanto commissar.
 
This makes two duly constituted peer review processes the study has passed, while its retraction by Food and Chemical Toxicology was the result of a secret conclave among the editors and could muster only the most bogus rationale. Scientists around the world welcome this vindication.
 
*More proof from Argentina that glyphosate causes cancer. A new report from the health ministry of the Cordoba province documents high rates of tumors and cancer deaths in the agricultural depratments of the province. These areas are dominated by poison-based industrial soy production, with massive applications of glyphosate.
 
The government is doing its usual thing of emphasizing the broadest numbers it can in order to submerge the significant figures for the plantation zones. As Damien Verzenassi, medical doctor and one of the organizers of field studies in villages among the plantations, says, “They keep demanding studies on something that is already proven and do not take urgent measures to protect the population. There is ample evidence that the agricultural model has health consequences, we are talking about a production model that is a huge public health problem”. 
 
*It’s not just in Western countries that surveillance bureaucracies see domestic spying and subversion on behalf of international corporations to be their primary task. In a report recently leaked to the press, India’s Intelligence Bureau (IB) attacks domestic anti-GMO critics and activists for being enemies of the commodification economy, and therefore of India. The nature of the allegation itself proves the opposite. Since globalization seeks the global dictatorship of a handful of multinational corporations, almost all of them based in the US and Europe, nothing could be more alien to India and the well-being of the Indian people than this corporate domination. Conversely, nothing is more treasonous than the actions of those who want to hand over domestic economies and polities to these corporations.
 
That’s just as much true in the US as it is in India. Corporations have no home and are the enemies of all of humanity.

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June 24, 2014

GMO Arms Race, GMO War

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In the latest example of how the herbicide tolerance genre of GMOs is a failure, by now turning into a horrific hoax, Texas cotton contractors are applying for permission to use propazine on Roundup Ready pigweed.
 
Pigweed, AKA palmer amaranth, is one of the most aggressive agricultural weeds, and has been one of the most successful superweeds which have become resistant to Roundup (glyphosate).
 
Propazine is acknowledged even by the government to be so toxic and cancer-causing that it’s on a restricted-use list, and special EPA permission will be needed for this proposed use.
 
Monsanto and the US government originally promised that the Roundup Ready (RR) system would render a wide array of extremely toxic herbicides like propazine, 2,4-D, and dicamba obsolete. This was in fact a monumental lie, as weeds predictably became resistant to glyphosate. By now there are several dozen documented superweeds spreading rapidly across the US. Large swaths of arable land have been all but taken over by these weeds. As we see here, corporatized “farmers” are helpless to deal with the crisis, having lost all real farmer skills. By now they’re little more than corporate overseers who understand nothing but poison, poison, and more poison. Just like corporatism in general understands nothing but force and more force.
 
Herbicide tolerance, one of the two genres of GMOs which effectively exist (the other genre endemically produces its own Bt poison vs. insects), is a complete failure from any rational point of view or any point of view concerned with human well-being. Any decent, rational human being agrees that the HT genre needs to be discontinued.
 
But HT GMOs were never developed in the first place to help humanity. They were developed for the standard sociopathic corporate goals – selling more poison, eliminating labor costs, expanding enclosure via intellectual property, and imposing greater control. (The same is true of the Bt genre.)
 
GMO proponents are evolution deniers who continue to deny this ever-escalating biological arms race which the weeds and insects are guaranteed to win.
 
But for the corporations themselves, this arms race is simple planned obsolescence. Each iteration of the product line is supposed to fail even more quickly than the last so that the next, even more profitable and coercive generation can be deployed. Thus Agent Orange ingredient 2,4-D, one of the viciously toxic herbicides the government promised would be rendered permanently obsolete by the RR system, is now the centerpiece of the so-called “second generation” HT GMOs. Agent Orange GMOs are set to be planted in the US in 2015. The only result of this will be a massive escalation of 2,4-D use which will be monstrously destructive to other crops and the environment (2,4-D is far less controllable than glyphosate, which itself often drifts from the intended application site), will leave vast stretches of soil laced with dioxin (picture a large portion of America’s farmland as one big Times Beach), and generate 2,4-D resistant pigweed and other superweeds even more quickly than the glyphosate resistant ones evolved.
 
Of course glyphosate, itself vastly more toxic than the propaganda claimed, is not being retired or anything. 2,4-D and other retrograde poisons like propazine will just be slathered on top of the ever escalating amount of glyphosate which has to be sprayed to get any effect at all.
 
Eventually all existing herbicides will be massively sprayed everywhere in sight with no effect. This is the clear logic of poison-based agriculture. The earth and humanity will be tortured to death by this insane poisoning, which will never stop for as long as the system can prop itself up and humanity allows the attack to continue. As I wrote the other day, under corporate control the “agriculture and food” sector is really the poison sector, with food production being merely the pretext to sell and apply poison, toward no goal at all but profit, power, and control.
 
That’s what this war is about. 

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June 22, 2014

Do We Want to Produce Poison or Food?

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Even though today’s corporate agriculture produces vastly more than enough food for everyone on earth, 1 billion go hungry. For as long as corporate ag continues to dominate, hunger will only spread and worsen. This is effectively a mathematical truth, since it’s based on numbers and the fact of what corporations do.
 
Conversely, agroecological practice within a food-based economy, as summed up in the concept of Food Sovereignty, is proven to outproduce industrial corporate agriculture acre for acre in terms of calories and nutrition.
 
This is common sense, since if you seek to produce food you’ll do a better job of producing food than if you seek to produce export commodities and hope that food will somehow trickle down from that as an afterthought.
 
Axiom: Corporate agriculture is about deploying as much poison as possible and concentrating as much wealth and power as possible. Food, where it comes out of the process at all, is an afterthought.
 
That, of course, is why the GMO cartel and its supporters simply don’t care about the health and environmental effects of the poisons. It’s because the poison is the whole point of the endeavor. As for the inexorable march of superweeds and superbugs, that’s premeditated obsolescence of the product, intended to generate the ever more profitable, ever more tyrannical poison treadmill.
 
Today what are called the agricultural and food sectors are really subsets of the chemical sector, more accurately the poison sector. To find the real agricultural and food economies one must look to the millions of small farmers across the global South who can benefit from agroecological knowledge but must be supported in their struggle to resist commodification and coming under the poison dominion. In the West, one must look to the rising Community Food direct retail sector which is striving to provide an alternative to this dominion and a vision of the only possible future.

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June 20, 2014

GMO news Summary, June 20th 2014

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*Australian organic farmer Steve Marsh will appeal the biased, fraudulent ruling against him in his GMO contamination lawsuit. The court refused to deal with the case as a simple trespassing and property destruction case, but instead chose to turn its decision into a long op-ed piece on how organic certification rules are too strict. In other words, the court engaged in judicial activist corporatism in asserting that GMO aggression is normative while organic and non-GM agriculture have no right to exist at all.
 
*The latest study on Roundup confirms its nature as a severe endocrine disruptor and finds that it causes abnormal sperm development at concentrations commonly found in agriculture.
 
*Soybean cultivation is becoming ever more difficult in Latin America as herbicide resistant superweeds overwhelm fields populated by Roundup Ready soybeans. The author of the piece, a former DuPont agronomist, admits that this is the direct result of a system totally dependent on massive applications of glyphosate.
 
What’s more, as we’re hearing more and more often, there are no new herbicides in the industry pipeline, no new modes of action. The poisoner side of the herbicide/weed arms race looks set to stall out soon, and there will be nothing left but ever more massive and frequent dousing of glyphosate, glufosinate, 2,4-D, dicamba, and a few other extremely toxic poisons to get even the most modest result. The weeds look set to totally rout industrial ag wherever GMOs predominated within the next decade.
 
Herbicide tolerance is a failed product genre and should be discontinued immediately. Everyone who’s even minimally informed about agriculture knows this, and no one still supports HT GMOs on any basis other than the sociopathic ones of profit and control at all costs.
 
*Reports out of Kyrgyzstan say it has become the first country to ban all cultivation and importation of GMOs. This is an important move for one of the world’s most important centers of agricultural genetic origin. Previously Bhutan announced a similar move toward preserving a 100% “organic” agriculture, a superfluous term in the case of a farming country so far never ravaged by poison-based agriculture. (“Organic” as we know it in the West is first of all a reform term and concept, though it could be transformed into an assertive revolutionary program.)
 
The pieces I read didn’t say whether these countries plan to attempt agricultural quasi-autarchy on a traditional/agroecological basis, or whether they plan to participate in global agriculture on a strictly organic basis. Some combination plan, the latter as part of working toward the former, could work for many regions.
 
*Should the boycott of the corporate organic brands of GMA members include Unilever’s Ben & Jerry’s? After contributing money to the GMA war chest in California in 2012, Unilever sat out of 2013’s Washington battle. But it’s still a GMA member. Meanwhile Ben & Jerry’s, unlike many other corporate “organic” brands, has been very active in labeling campaigns in Vermont, Washington, and Connecticut. I think that last point is most important. Actions are always the most important thing. Meanwhile the brands who do nothing to help the people but then whine that they’re being treated unfairly are really being treated exactly as their actions, or lack thereof, warrant.
 
*The GMO cartel’s Biotechnology Industry Organization along with some of its Hawaiian contractors is suing the county of Hawaii (the big island) over the GMO cultivation ban it passed in 2013. (The ban exempts GM papaya and would have little immediate practical effect.) This joins the lawsuit the poisoners filed in Kauai against the modest spraying reforms that island passed, also in 2013.
 
This comes a few days after the people of Maui gathered enough signatures to put a GMO cultivation moratorium on the ballot for 2014.
 
*Communities are starting to fight back against the standard tactic of corporations and central governments of filing SLAPP suits against community rights ordinances and other democracy measures the people enshrine at lower levels of government. The residents of Lafayette Colorado are filing their own class action suit against the Colorado Oil and Gas Association and the state itself for its pre-emption law. The CELDF provides strategic advice and legal representation in these cases.
 
If only Hawaii, Vermont, and other states had the backbone to legally counterattack in this way.
 
The CELDF doesn’t expect this war ultimately to be won in the courts. The goal is for the actions of passing the ordinances, fighting the court fights, and spreading the ideas underlying them to galvanize people into building a true community sovereignty movement. The goal is for this movement to build the strength and will to assert itself politically and economically on whatever extralegal basis is necessary, and in that way eventually force “the law” to move to where the people demand it be.
 
In the end, this is the only way any freedom or democracy movement has ever won any enduring victory, and it will be the only way every freedom and democracy movement of today, including GMO abolitionism, shall win. The strategy of the community rights movement is just one version of this.

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June 17, 2014

The Health Dangers of GMOs

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I think that when the ultimate destruction is tallied, the worst poison vectors of poison-based agriculture will be the herbicides and pesticides, including GMOs as poison plants. That GMOs endemically express Bt toxins and are endemically suffused with vicious herbicides will turn out to have been their worst effects. So in the future, as I write about the health effects of the poisons of poison-based agriculture, I’ll be focusing more on these than on the dangers of genetic engineering as such. It’s interesting, though, that corporations and governments live in terror of what safety testing would reveal about genetic engineering as such. Perhaps they know something we haven’t learned yet.
 
At any rate, in this case as always the truth is on our side. There’s never any need to exaggerate it. To give one example where some might be prone to exaggerate, there’s no need to say “All GMOs as such are definitely hazardous to human health.” 
 
What we know:
 
1. The Showa Denko and X-SCID incidents provide proof of principle that the results of genetic engineering can be lethal to humans.
 
2. When we consider GMOs as such, we find there’s a strong theoretical basis for their being dangerous to human health, and considerable experimental and epidemiological evidence that this is so.
 
3. At the very least, no GMO should ever have been commercialized without long-term rigorous safety testing. There’s sufficient evidence today for a recall of existing commercialized products and a moratorium on new approvals until they’ve all been sufficiently tested.
 
That’s the position supported by the science, and that’s what critics say.
 
Contrast the hacks, who have zero evidence on their side. They have nothing but lies and dogma.
 
They originally dodged the precautionary principle and justified commercializing GMOs without safety testing based on the fraudulent ideological, anti-scientific dogma of “substantial equivalence”. The US FDA led the way in promulgating this criminal lie. (The EFSA equivalent is called “comparative safety assessment”, a term invented by the ILSI industry group to replace the embarrassing “substantial equivalence”.) This dogma never had a rigorous definition (it was an intentionally vague bureaucratic notion) but was always known to be a lie by any definition.
 
Today the main lie regarding GMO food safety is the ever-inflating number of meals allegedly safely eaten. This started out a few years ago at a relatively modest figure in the billions, but quickly hyperinflated to “three trillion”, the figure always regurgitated today.
 
This lie tries to shout down the growing evidence of surges in many allergies and diseases correlated with the commercialization of GMOs and their subsequent ubiquity in the food supply of the West and other places.
 
The “three trillion” Big Lie is often accompanied by a corollary direct factual lie, implicit or explicit, that governments have performed epidemiological studies and determined that the food supply is safe. But the fact is that no government has ever performed any such study. Nor has anyone else. Nor could such a study easily be designed, since governments have suppressed information about GMOs in the diet by not requiring labeling.
 
And then it’s common to see, for example in the pages of “Scientific American”, the direct lie that government regulators like the FDA performed safety tests in the first place, prior to commercialization. To repeat, no government has EVER performed or required a single such test.
 
That should tell us all we need to know about the cartel and government attitude toward truth where it comes to the health hazards of GMOs. They believe that GMOs are hazardous to human health, and they believe that rigorous safety testing would prove this. Therefore, they made sure never to require or perform the testing.
 
They hope claims of naivete and innocent ignorance will save them at the New Nuremburg. But their ignorance is not innocent. It is willful and systematic, and is based on their belief that they’re lethally poisoning humanity. Morally this is every bit as culpable as the most consciously premeditated mass murder policy.
 
As for the self-styled “reasonable”, “moderate” commentators we see everywhere, those who are total ignoramuses where it comes to the subject but who believe in the non-existent “scientific consensus” because the New York Times told them to, they’re the same type who in the past have known that tobacco was safe, asbestos was safe, as were PCBs, DDT, dioxin, thalidomide, and many others. Their record of wrong-headed conformity is so perfect that it’s practically a guarantee GMOs are at least as toxic as these.

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June 15, 2014

Intellectual Property and Ideology in the War of Control Over Humanity

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Intellectual property in any aspect of life is just the arbitrary placement of an ownership marker somewhere amid the self-renewing cycle of life itself. It would be no less arbitrary to place the ownership marker with whoever first espied a bacterium or found a plant and dug up a specimen. After all, that’s how it’s done with gold claims, oil, etc.
 
The fact is that corporatism strategically placed its otherwise arbitrary marker at the position best suited to maximize its power and control. We should see this as a military position, and the military task of the abolitionists is to drive the enemy out of that position.
 
From this point of view, it never mattered if genetic engineering actually did anything worthwhile. All the corporatists needed was for the techniques to sort-of work to give enough of a pretext for the patenting and for the “innovation” ideology they would then promulgate to get the public to accept this control marker on a cycle of life which, if it belongs to anyone, belongs to humanity as a whole.
 
On the other hand, it did matter very much that genetic engineering could be claimed to have every sort of miracle potential, since a goal from the start was to use the scientism/technocracy strain of the “progress” ideology as the ideological window dressing. This was designed to turn something as prosaic and brutal as corporate control over agriculture and food into a grand ideological crusade, a kind of mass movement based on liberal-type good vibes about “feeding the world”, “revolutionizing medicine”, and similar lies.
 
Although the corporate cadres themselves never believed much in their own hype (cf. Nick Azevedo’s testimony), liberals and conservatives, professionals of every stripe, and of course the technicians themselves and “scientists” in general, were supposed to be true believers.
 
So a key strategic goal also is to discredit and trounce the obscurantist scientism/technocracy/”feed the world” ideology, leaving the stark fact of corporate domination exposed to the full light of day.

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June 14, 2014

EU Set to Gut GMO Regulation and Democracy

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This week the European Council voted to change the process by which EU member states can opt out of authorizing cultivation within their territories of GMO crops authorized by the Commission. The change heavily weights the process in favor of the cartel and bureaucracy and against the people.
 
As things are now, whether or not a GMO which has been authorized for cultivation in the EU (as of this writing, only MON810 maize, though Commission approval for 1507 maize seems imminent) is allowed in a particular member state is a matter of that country’s normal political process. The result of this relatively accountable system is that MON810 has been banned in ten European countries and is widely grown only in Spain.
 
Under the new system, the main power over the opt-out process will be in the hands of a country’s unaccountable bureaucracy, which is far more likely to support the GMO prerogative than a European legislature. It’ll be up to the bureaucracy to take proactive action during the initial application stage and jump through several hoops in order to lay the groundwork for the government to then ban the GMO. If the bureaucracy fails to do this, the government’s hands are tied. The system also sets up a legalistic catch-22 in that member states must agree to accept EFSA rubber-stamping where it comes to human, livestock, and environmental safety, while basing their national bans only on socioeconomic, planning, or cultural concerns. These, of course, are the kinds of concerns which are banned by the WTO, which on the other hand in theory does have to allow the safety exceptions. So the goal is to render all rationales legally invalid one way or another. States must also waive all right to redress in the inevitable event of contamination.
 
Meanwhile, a state which goes through this rigmarole would also be forestalled from voting against EU-wide approval for the GMO. The result of all this is that everything rubber-stamped by the EFSA would automatically glide to EU-wide approval, and any state which wanted to allow any GMO would have license to go ahead. The UK government, hysterical to authorize GM crops and frustrated by both the EU and rejection by Scotland and Wales, has spearheaded this whole campaign.
 
Of course all of this is typical of what happens when a nation surrenders its sovereignty to any kind of alien bureaucracy. I’ve written before about how, from the point of view of the European Commission, the goal of the TTIP is to radically mitigate the extent to which European politics which can still affect the corporate economy.
 
But as we see here the Commission’s doing what it can to work with what it has right now. If this policy goes through it’ll gut the democratic oversight the peoples of Europe now have over whether GMOs are cultivated in their own lands. (Their NIMBYism in importing a huge amount of GM feed from Latin America and elsewhere is a different problem.)
 
I wrote more on this here and here.

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June 13, 2014

GMO News Summary June 13th, 2014

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*The Organic Consumers Association is renewing its call for a boycott of all the brands, including certified organic brands, of the members of the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA). The GMA is Monsanto’s main conduit for mainstream propaganda and its main attack dog vs. the people’s labeling campaigns. The GMA is also the impresario of the pre-emptive DARK Act now being bruited in Congress.
 
*An open letter from 815 scientists worldwide and counting deplores the reckless release of GMOs with zero scientific study in accordance with the Precautionary Principle, along with the known socioeconomic and environmental evils of poison-based agriculture. It calls for abolishing GMOs and patents on seeds and the worldwide embrace of agroecology. Like similar previous letters, it also self-evidently refutes the canned lie that there’s a scientific “consensus” in favor of GMOs.
 
The letter is posted at the website of the Children of Vietnam Veterans Health Alliance and Agent Orange Dioxin Survivors Uniting Internationally, as part of humanity’s campaign to halt the spread of Agent Orange GMOs.
 
*A new Canadian study confirms the growing consensus that GMO-based agriculture is decimating the monarch butterfly population. The omnipresent spaying of glyphosate has wiped out milkweed, the monarch’s only egg-laying and larval diet plant, across wide swaths of the monarch’s breeding grounds in the US midwest.
 
*DuPont shareholders have filed a $1 billion lawsuit against the CEO and several directors for forcing an incompetent strategy and research program upon the company. This involves DuPont’s failed attempt to develop its own glyphosate-tolerant GMO technology. In the aftermath of this failure DuPont lost a $1 billion lawsuit to Monsanto over a dispute involving DuPont’s licensing of Monsanto’s Roundup Ready trait.
 
*First death squads, now Monsanto seeds and herbicides. The US government just keeps on “aiding” El Salvador.
 
*From Western Australia, a typical example of the rigorous anti-contamination measures at GMO field trial sites. The “Jill” quoted in the piece seems to be some kind of pro-GM whistleblower, since her revelations are interspersed with typical canned lies.
 
*China continues with its campaign to control the spread of GMO cultivation and use in food. China’s government is certainly not anti-GMO, but wants to maintain control of China’s food destiny, unlike the countries which have come completely under the US/Monsanto thumb. China, perhaps in consortium with Russia, intends to build its own rival GMO cartel.
 
Abolitionists must always embrace anything which hinders the advance of the GMO cartel while not supporting “alternatives” which are not alternatives. We don’t want a GMO version of the Cold War, but the self-assertion of global farmers and eaters against all who would control our agriculture and food.
 
*Maui’s SHAKA movement has gotten on the ballot with its ordinance requiring a moratorium on GMO cultivation.

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June 10, 2014

“First the Seed” – Science and Agriculture

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Summary and review of chapter two, “Science, Agriculture, and Social Change”. Part one.
 
Before proceeding with his history, Jack Kloppenburg takes chapter two to delve more deeply into the way economic forces act upon agriculture and farming. The basic drive of capitalism has been to separate input and processing systems from what was once self-sufficient farming, and present them to farmers as commodified needs. This kind of revolutionizing drive is constant within capitalism since the actors (by the time of today’s late capitalism, big corporations) must constantly strive to maintain and increase market share, and because the commodifier is always at war with the productive classes. The natural tendency is always for those who do the work to gain more of the fruits. Constant innovative assault is necessary in order for economic parasites to keep overriding this natural mechanism so they can keep stealing the fruits of what workers produce. Everywhere possible they enlist technology and science toward their power and robbery goals.
 
Technology was always easily harnessed by economic elites. Science was more difficult, and wasn’t readily enlisted till the latter 19th century. This required two developments.
 
1. Historically, technology had to be adapted to the physical ability of the worker to use it. Modern machinery could often replace the worker completely. Now technology was bound only by what machines could accomplish. Now “the conscious application of natural science” to economic development was possible.
 
2. The natural sciences developed unevenly. Chemistry and biology lagged behind other disciplines. That is, it took elites longer to develop the relevant technology which could help foster this scientific development.
 
Thus science has developed primarily in response to the needs of capitalism and according to the data made available by the practical technology developed by capitalism. Scientific disciplines do have inherent obstacles to knowledge, but economic factors are primary. Science initially lags behind technology, which itself is developed to serve a particular economic regime. A different kind of society would have developed a different system of technology, and perhaps a differently oriented science. Once science matures, it then acts back upon technological development, but largely along the lines of the pre-scientific trajectory.
 
Since the industrial revolution science as we have it has seldom formulated its ideas and conclusions by itself, but usually parallel to or in collaboration with technological development. To believe that this techno-scientific melding under specific economic and political circumstances is “science” as such is a core element of scientism ideology. Since we would commit the same offense if we called uncontexted scientism “anti-scientific” (though it is, according to the good civics textbook version of what science is), we can instead affirm that this point of view is fundamentally irrational and ideological, and has nothing in common with the ideal of the scientific method. 
 
In reality there is no such thing as “science” in the abstract, there’s only what scientists do, and this is a social process and a labor process – “the application of labor to the production of knowledge of the natural world”, as Kloppenburg puts it.
 
As science became able to contribute to capitalist development, it necessarily began to gear itself to this purpose. As science always takes on the qualities of the civilization in which it exists, so under capitalism science necessarily becomes capitalist science. Technicians brag about what economic production owes to science, but it’s really the other way around – technological development has been driven by the needs of production and depends upon the surplus of this production for its very existence.
 
According to Kloppenburg, in this way “scientific invention become business” is what “distinguishes the technical base of contemporary capitalism” from that of prior capitalist forms. Thus we have what Harry Braverman called the transformation of “science as generalized social property incidental to production [to] science as capitalist property at the very center of production”.
 
That concludes the overview of the relationship of capitalism, technology, and science. Kloppenburg then moves on to an extended introduction to what he identified in chapter one as the three main trends of economic and political development in modern agriculture: commodification, the division of scientific labor, and world flows of germplasm.
 
We start with commodification. The basic activity of capitalism is to commodify every possible natural resource and human activity including labor. (Commodity production means production for monetary exchange rather than for actual use.) Commodification requires the forcible separation of the producer from the means of production, the liquidation of small producers and their transformation into impoverished wage workers. This is a core aspect of what Marx called primitive accumulation.
 
This primitive accumulation toward commodity production is always aggressive and coercive and often violent. The late medieval enclosure of farmland and expulsion of the peasants is a classical example, and the same process continues in modern times as the “Green Revolution” launched an enclosure and mass explusion onslaught across the global South. Today the planned “second green revolution” in Africa intends to carry out a much vaster liquidation and expulsion into shantytowns of millions of African community farmers. The land-grabbing onslaught is a key part of this awesome crime.
 
Kloppenburg describes how this origin of commodification has worked historically and how new rounds of primitive accumulation are always necessary to keep the growth and profit machine going. The process includes forcing new modes of consumption, new buyer “needs”, into being. Wherever necessary primitive accumulation is coerced by governments.
 
Although capitalism will immediately and forcibly expropriate whatever it can, elsewhere it often has to operate alongside small-scale production. In such cases it tries to force all other parts of the sector economy into the commodity exchange form, and in this way gradually comes to control and then liquidate the small producer.
 
In particular, the big capitalism seeks to turn independent small producers into dependents, by inducing them to purchase inputs from it and gradually monopolizing this input market; and by becoming a monopsony buyer of the commodity, thus turning the independent small proprietor into a de facto laborer. As we see with agriculture contracts today, the buyer eventually gains complete control over the production process, and the laborer (as we should now call the “independent” farmer) is left with nothing but his nominal “ownership” of the land/facility and his massive debts.
 
Other obvious examples from today’s agriculture are farmers buying seeds from an oligopoly seed sector instead of producing and exchanging their own seeds; buying fertility and pest control from similarly concentrated sectors (often from the same corporations) instead of providing these themselves; requiring massive artificial irrigation to maintain these high-maintenance inputs.
 
All this inherently goes along with technologized commodity production under today’s globalization. We can see how self-evidently fraudulent the claims are that any of it is “sustainable”, or that it could possibly do anything but wipe out small farmers. It’s easy to see how corporate agriculture couldn’t possibly “feed the world”; it doesn’t produce food and doesn’t seek to. It only produces commodities. Meanwhile small farming using organic and agroecological practices clearly goes best with sustainable, use-based production. This is food-based farming rather than contract growing for commodifiers.
 
The indirect commodification process leads to economic stratification among the small producers. Marxism thought that this would inevitably liquidate all small producers and leave only a handful of big capitalists facing the vast mass of wage workers.
 
For a long time this analysis seemed not to apply well to agriculture. Smaller farmers seemed to persist alongside rapid stratification in other sectors. Kloppenburg defines the issue with three questions, 1. Are independent farmers being liquidated and turned into wage workers? 2. If not, what are the obstacles to the commodification of farming? 3. If obstacles exist, are they enduring barriers to exploitation, or can capitalism, which today should more properly be called corporatism, find indirect ways to control and extract from the nominally “independent” producers?
 
A few paragraphs back I anticipated Kloppenburg’s position, which is that corporatism has for the most part attained effective control of farming, and de jure liquidation is proceeding as well, but slowly. Some nominal, and even real, independent production continues, as there are some obstacles to the liquidation of this small-scale production. Indeed, the fact of this achieved control may itself be a barrier to de jure liquidation. (But the liquidation is indeed proceeding. See the new GRAIN report, Hungry for Land, for a more pessimistic appraisal of the status of small farmer landholdings than the UN continues to report.)
 
One of the obstacles inherent to the farming sector is the requirement to amass large landholdings in order to construct corporatized factory farm. For various reasons it can be difficult to procure enough contiguous land. Another is the peculiar (from the capitalist point of view) timing of sowing vs. harvesting, the difficulty in centrally controlling the labor, the perishability of the product, the unique vulnerability to the weather and environment. Then there’s the selfless labor-of-love mindset of many farmers, their willingness to farm at a loss and even support themselves by taking off-farm jobs, because they find farming so meaningful. And there’s the state’s historical policy of subsidizing the mass of small farm proprietors in order to help legitimize itself. We give you the land, you provide soldiers for the army. It was a holdover neo-feudal arrangement which expired with the modern separation of the people from the land which in the US largely proceeded not because farms were directly liquidated, but for other socioeconomic reasons. Although the causality and proportion of causes is hard to determine, on the whole these explain why capitalism was delayed in fully commodifying farming in itself.
 
We can see why the Stalinist attempt to forcibly and quickly collectivize agriculture had to be so violent and was still only partially successful. Neoliberal corporatism’s more gradual, less brutal campaign has also been only partially successful, but has been gaining ground. (It’s only relatively less violent than Stalinism, but highly murderous nonetheless. Violent dispossessions of peasants and indigenous tribes across the global South and the coerced mass suicide of Indian farmers are typical examples of corporate agriculture’s crimes against humanity.)
 
But by the 1980s the predicted stratification was proceeding, with a few corporate megafarms doing the bulk of commodity production, a vast mass of beleaguered small farms increasingly dependent on off-farm income, and a shrinking number of the true independent commodity farms, and these too increasingly controlled by contracts, debt, monopoly markets.
 
Perhaps the most important phenomenon has been the way elements of agriculture are separated from farming and isolated in commodity systems. Over the last 150 years labor and capital have reversed their respective contributions to agriculture. Kloppenburg includes tables which demonstrate how agriculture went from being the most labor-intensive, capital-efficient sector to being the most capital-intensive, labor-efficient. (“Efficient” by capitalist measures.) This is exemplified in how dependent farming has become on the purchase of inputs manufactured off-farm – machinery, fertilizer, chemicals, and increasingly seeds.
 
Understanding the rise of agribusiness, the oligopoly sellers of these inputs and buyers of the farm commodity, is essential to understanding agriculture and its political economy. It also seems to demonstrate that farming itself does present some barriers to corporate penetration, since in principle the capitalist wants to liquidate the small proprietor rather than sell to him and buy from him. But where it comes to inputs and processing the corporations can directly exploit their own workers in the factories which produce tractors, pesticides, and seeds and indirectly control and exploit the farmer by imposing monopoly relationships upon him. The farmer becomes what Marx called a “propertied laborer” who has only “sham property”.
 
How did the commodification of inputs proceed? With a lot of help from agricultural research: First technology, then science; at first and for a long time publicly distributed, later privatized and corporatized (but still dependent upon public funding). The commodification imperative was the driver, technology and science was the mechanism. In the 19th century, with the agricultural private sector incompetent and derelict, the public program was supported by other corporate sectors who were not able to fully exploit farmers but who wanted to build up agriculture and a food surplus for the sake of expanding and exploiting the rest of the economy. Thus the banks and railroads lobbied for public germplasm gathering and free seed distribution to farmers. Subsequent chapters go into far more detail about all of this.
 
Seed is the linchpin of the whole structure, the key input above all others. Seed is unique in that it constitutes both a finished product in the form of grain, and a means of the farm reproducing itself in the form of saved seed which is planted for the next crop. As K puts it, “Seed is grain is seed is grain.” I’ll add an analogy. Seed is like money earning compound interest, except that seed is real while money is a cult fiction. It’s a testament to the depravity of this civilization that it worships money as real while it officially views seed only through the seed’s intellectual property hologram. That is, the seed has to be fictionalized as well. That’s what’s involved in making anything a commodity for exchange rather than a product for human beings to use. A core purpose of GMOs, by any objective measure an inferior product, is to reinforce the fictionalization of the seed as commodity, in order to make it conform to the fictional monetary measure, for the sake of real power.
 
All this is nothing but a struggle for power, and as Kissinger put it “food is a weapon”. So is the propaganda of “feeding the world”.
 
Seed is a threat to capitalist control because, as Kloppenburg puts it, saving seed lets the farmer “short-circuit” the commodification process which seeks to force him to keep purchasing his means of production in the form of commodities from outside in order to be able to do his work. For capitalism to be able to function in this sector, it has to carry out its primitive accumulation and separate the farmer from reproduction of the seed. How this was done, Kloppenburg states, “is the central question of this book”. Only under the joint attack of corporatized science and law has the seed succumbed to commodification. The process has been all about using research, technology, science, with massive support from corporate welfare, advertising, and the law, to attain a fraudulent product differentiation among seeds and induce the farmer onto an indenture treadmill from which escape is difficult to impossible.
 
Both legally and technologically the corporate commodification of seeds has been completely dependent upon government support. Public sector research has generally been friendly to business needs, but wasn’t always a pure flunkey. On the contrary, business had to struggle for decades to get public research to do everything it wanted. The basic ideological aspect of this struggle was a fraudulent distinction between “basic” and “applied” science. I recall being taught this dichotomy as a kid in school, along with the bogus notion of “science” as a disinterested, self-driving entity. It all had its origin in the 20th century corporate takeover of scientific activity, which was already geared to capitalist production.
 
According to system propaganda “basic”/pure/fundamental science refers to an alleged idealistic, non-mercenary scientific mindset which seeks knowledge for its own sake. It’s therefore an ideological term. The whole terminological sham is meant to “focus attention on the search for knowledge rather than on the search for the commodity”. The researchers themselves are deeply emotionally invested in this ideology of “pure” science which allegedly can be separated from the economic and political uses to which it’s put.
 
To the extent this “Basic” scientific status can be identified in reality at all, it’s associated with an institutional setup like a university which allegedly lets a scientist work with no profit-seeking pressure upon him. Of course this is a sham. Universities increasingly seek profit directly. Even if a university researcher is on a schedule which is leisurely from the point of view of generating a patent, he knows he’s expected to produce something profitable as the end result. Even if he individually does not generate profit, the point is that grants like the ones he receives are expected to be profitable in the aggregate, like movies put out by a studio or albums by a record company (back when they still focused on albums). Another false distinction between so-called Basic and Applied science is how “useful” the results are alleged to be.
 
In reality, no one knows ahead of time what general theoretical results practical research may lead to, nor what practical results may come of a general line of inquiry. Most of all, research is always a process toward productive ends. “Pure” research and the productive results of research are always on the same continuum. The only question is who defines what’s “productive” and controls the research toward their own measure of productivity.  What kind of socioeconomy will desire which products and will distribute the products in which way. Under capitalism, scientific research will always seek the result of commercial commodity products.
 
The chapter reproduces tables published by the National Science Foundation in 1986 detailing the distribution of research funding sources and recipients. The funding is split into the categories of “Basic”, “Applied”, and “Development” research. (Most assessments would have only the first two categories, with what the NSF is calling “Development” being part of “Applied”.) The takeaways are that government provides the majority of funding for university, NGO, and corporate research, while corporations dispose of most of the “Applied” and “Development” funding.
 
In explaining its data the NSF is forced to acknowledge the facts about research. It negatively defines Basic research simply as research “which does not have specific commercial objectives” (emphases theirs). Applied research is defined actively as “hav[ing] specific commercial objectives“. Development research is “directed toward the production” of commercially useful methods and products. The ideological bias is clear. Here the NSF drops the utopian eulogy of the individual researcher’s disinterested state of mind and admits that the whole thing is about “the relationship of the research to the commercial product, to the commodity-form” (Kloppenburg). The whole terminological sham is meant to “focus attention on the search for knowledge rather than the search for the commodity.” But it’s the latter which dominates the rest.
 
Finally, in order to understand the way germplasm’s been commodified we need to understand the global distribution of germplasm. The botanist N. Vavilov was the first to draw up a global map of botanical centers of origin. Vavilov was the first to systematically describe how and where agricultural crops were first developed, how the crops themselves and their thousands of landraces were the work of farmers selecting for certain traits over thousands of years. Historically, the goal was never to maximize production yield but production consistency and resiliency. The very concept of maximizing yield is alien to free, natural, food-based agricultural economies. On the contrary it’s a defining trait of profit-based commodification economies which, it must be repeated a thousand times, have ZERO to do with producing food at all, let alone “feeding the world”*. “Feed the world” is a perfect Orwellian term which means the opposite of what it says.
 
A glance at the map shows how twelve of the fourteen “Vavilov centers of diversity” span the global South while only two are located in the North. This distribution is even more lopsided than it looks, as the southern centers comprise far longer lists of crops than the meager centers of the North with just four each. This provides facial proof that the North’s domination of germplasm commodity flows has an imperialist character, and that the patents of the North are based on biopiracy, the systematic robbery of the farmers of the South who developed all these landraces in the first place.
 
(More recent maps show 11 rather than 14 of the areas described in the book. This includes omission of the two northern areas, whose original inclusion does seem to have been tendentious on account of how threadbare their contents were. But it’s good to be able to look at all the lists on one page to further highlight the lopsided distribution.)
 
Later chapters will give a more detailed indictment which philosophically and morally disproves the very concept of the patenting of plant and genetic material by Western corporations.
 
It’s appropriate that the ideas of Vavilov and others are disparaged and attacked today by the GMO regime. Similarly, Vavilov himself was purged and arrested in 1940 under the pseudo-scientific agricultural tyranny of Lysenko, who served Stalin’s power mania. So it is today with Big Ag, poison-based agriculture, and the whole pseudo-science which has been fabricated around the corporatist technology of genetic engineering.
 
[*Thus even though today’s corporate agriculture produces vastly more than enough food for everyone on earth, 1 billion go hungry. For as long as corporate ag continues to dominate, hunger will only spread and worsen. This is effectively a mathematical truth, since it’s based on numbers and the fact of what corporations do.
 
Conversely, agroecological practice within a food-based economy, as summed up in the concept of Food Sovereignty, is proven to outproduce industrial corporate agriculture acre for acre in terms of calories and nutrition.
 
This is common sense, since if you seek to produce food you’ll do a better job of producing food than if you seek to produce export commodities and hope that food will somehow trickle down from that as an afterthought.
 
Axiom: Corporate agriculture is about deploying as much poison as possible and concentrating as much wealth and power as possible. Food, where it comes out of the process at all, is an afterthought.
 
That, of course, is why the GMO cartel and its supporters simply don’t care about the health and environmental effects of the poisons. It’s because the poison is the whole point of the endeavor. As for the inexorable march of superweeds and superbugs, that’s premeditated obsolescence of the product, intended to generate the ever more profitable, ever more tyrannical poison treadmill.
 
Today what are called the agricultural and food sectors are really subsets of the chemical sector, more accurately the poison sector. To find the real agricultural and food economies one must look to the millions of small farmers across the global South who can benefit from agroecological knowledge but must be supported in their struggle to resist commodification and coming under the poison dominion. In the West, one must look to the rising Community Food direct retail sector which is striving to provide an alternative to this dominion and a vision of the only possible future.]

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