To put it in terms of the “spheres” media analysis, GMO labeling has become part of the “legitimate controversy”. That’s because the people forced it there, and because elites regard it as manageable. Monsanto would prefer that it remain within the “sphere of deviance”, opinions and advocacy which aren’t even allowed to be discussed or mentioned at all except in the most dismissive, derogatory terms. But the likes of Walmart, Coca-Cola, and other retailers and manufacturers decided back in 2013 to try to manage labeling rather than keep fighting a scorched earth campaign.
Thus the labeling idea is a feature of the corporate media, as a legitimately controversial issue. It’s generally depicted in a condescending way as unscientific and as bad policy. The criticism is always implicitly elitist, often explicitly so in saying that the American people are too stupid to understand product labels. These are the same media who generally flatter these same American people as electoral voters and as savvy consumers. How is it that someone who’s qualified to elect a president or to decide that poison-laced industrial food is safe to purchase is somehow not qualified to assess a simple label? It would be one of the mysteries of neoliberalism if we didn’t know the answer, that the system pretends to be democratic in direct proportion to how profitable it expects this semblance of democracy to be, and to how much the people force it to do so. The system generally fears that GMO labeling will harm a critical commodification gambit. (Which is all GMOs really are. As a practical matter they’re nothing but crappy products which perform far worse than all competitors. For media purposes they’re supposed to exist only in hoax form. For consumerist purposes they’re supposed to be invisible; thus the resistance to simple labels.) But it also thinks the idea of labeling, and some sort of sham policy which would try to maintain the idea while forcibly suppressing the substance, can be managed propagandistically. They hope to use a sham, preemptive “voluntary” FDA policy in order to hijack the concept, repair the FDA’s shattered credibility, and forestall more assertive ideas and actions. Thus the goal, from the system’s point of view, is to use the labeling controversy to neutralize GMO activism, and perhaps to help normalize GMOs themselves.
Thus the labeling idea is discussed but subtly denigrated in the media. Only the unwashed rubes want it, but what can you do with such a horde? You shouldn’t want it, but perhaps if it’s properly administered by the FDA it can be an acceptable compromise between the wisdom of our betters and the childishness of democracy. In that case you should definitely be satisfied, and only an incorrigible malcontent or someone with the dreaded “agenda” would continue to criticize GMOs.
That’s the way the corporate media, many of the system NGOs, the food manufacturing and retail sectors, want to “manufacture consent” as Chomsky would put it. So the goal is to kettle political thought and activism within the concept of preemptive FDA-administered GMO labeling as the only legitimate regulation and advocacy of it as the only legitimate kind of advocacy.
Meanwhile even this sham policy would eventually be banned under globalization regimes like the impending TTIP. One of the GMO cartel’s avowed goals for this is to eradicate Europe’s labeling policies. They’ll want to do the same for even the most threadbare FDA policy in the US. So we already know that even if the GMA bill or one of the similar sham bills were passed as a temporary propaganda retrenchment, the cartel will never stop fighting until no labels exist at all. It’s bad faith for anyone to pretend otherwise.
GMO labeling is a good step but not sufficient. It’s good only as a step toward the necessary abolition goal. In addition to all the inherent reasons humanity must abolish GMOs, there’s also the fact that the GMO regime is totalitarian and will never be willing to “coexist” with any restraint upon its dominion whatsoever. So it’s also a matter of them or us. I propose that we get rid of them.