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October 15, 2015

Seralini Receives Whistleblower Award

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Gilles-Eric Seralini is a co-recipient of the 2015 Whistleblower Award from the Federation of German Scientists and the German branch of the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms for his work which has helped expose the severe health harms of Roundup.
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As the press release indicates, the 2015 finding of WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer that glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup and similar commercial formulations) probably* causes cancer in humans has boosted the reputation of Seralini’s work.
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Ironically, this may be another example of one of the GMO cartel’s lies backfiring upon it. One of the most common lies deployed during the coordinated smear campaign against the 2012 Seralini study was to depict it as an allegedly flawed cancer study when it was really by far the best toxicology study** ever performed upon Roundup or upon any GMO (in this case Roundup Ready maize, aka NK603). Indeed, in refuting this lie Seralini’s defenders sometimes went too far in disparaging the additional cancer evidence it found.
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But in a case of “be careful what you wish for”, Monsanto may yet end up with the Seralini study being considered a meaningful contribution indeed to cancer research, but not quite the way they intended when they pushed the theme that it was a cancer study. They were certainly very upset when the IARC took them at their word and assessed the study that way. (Actually, the IARC considered the study and decided not to include it in the evaluation (p.35), which makes sense since it wasn’t designed as a cancer study in the first place. But Monsanto’s goal in getting it fraudulently retracted from its original journal was to make it disappear completely from any kind of formal consideration. With the study’s 2014 republication it was restored to official status. The IARC’s finding was based on a combination of lab evidence from other rodent studies and epidemiological studies on humans, mostly farmers and farm families.)
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By now the legal existence of Roundup is being propped up by nothing but brute economic and governmental force, as its popular political existence becomes more untenable by the month. That’s a big part of why Monsanto is on the ropes with investors, and why it made its desperate try to buy the more product-diversified Syngenta earlier this year. Although Monsanto’s hype is high on dicamba-tolerant crops and RNA interference technology, the prospects of its current product lines are more bleak. If we can muster strong campaigns to prevent these horrid new herbicide-tolerant GMOs from getting a market foothold (we also need to stop Dow’s 2,4-D tolerant “Enlist” line), we can cut off a vital source of oxygen for the increasingly short-of-breath monster.
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*Contrary to Monsanto’s lies, there was zero debate among the IARC panelists about whether glyphosate “probably” causes cancer in humans. On the contrary there was unanimity that the evidence is at least this strong. The only debate was whether the evidence was strong enough to declare glyphosate a “known human carcinogen”, with some panelists strongly arguing for this classification. In the end the panel chose the more conservative option.
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**Whatever one’s view of the methodology of the study itself or its overall importance in the big picture of the struggle vs. corporate agriculture, one fact which is incontrovertible is that the 2012 Seralini study is by far the best safety study which has been performed upon any GMO. It’s impossible to criticize it on any ground without having to criticize far more strongly the various bogus “studies” the industry has performed, and it’s impossible to advocate that it be disregarded without having to even more decisively rule out of consideration Monsanto’s patently illegitimate studies. The fact that the EFSA (and Food and Chemical Toxicology, the journal which originally published the study and then retracted it) disparaged the Seralini study while maintaining the fraudulent Monsanto studies in good standing is de jure proof of their corruption and structural criminality. Double standards don’t get any more stark.
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While the EFSA, FCT, and Monsanto failed in their attempt to suppress the Seralini study, they inadvertently succeeded in absolutely and permanently discrediting themselves in the eyes of honest people everywhere, and especially the eyes of anyone who actually believes that it matters whether or not the food we feed ourselves and our children is poisoned.
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The Federation of German Scientists and the International Association of Lawyers Against Nuclear Arms care, which is why they are honoring Gilles-Eric Seralini with the 2015 Whistleblower Award

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October 14, 2015

The 2015 Food Sovereignty Prize

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Part of the bountiful harvest of autumn is the annual award of the Food Sovereignty Prize, which will be presented today in Des Moines. The Food Sovereignty Prize honors the people and groups around the world who fight and create to build the necessary new within the doomed old, often against long odds. Honorees work to deploy the fully developed science and practice of agroecology, proving it more productive than industrial agriculture, a core part of the only solution to climate change and, unlike the status quo, sustainable for humanity’s future. They work on the critical project of rebuilding local and regional food production and distribution economies. And they work to propagate the global political and economic vision of Food Sovereignty, the social form which will naturally accompany our transformation to an economy and society which builds and sustains freedom and democracy in accord with justice, morality, reason, science, and the Earth itself.
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This year’s theme is “Black Farmers’ Lives Matter”. The 2015 awards to the Federation of Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund and the Black Fraternal Organization of Honduras honor two organizations which have fought long and well to organize, educate and organize black small farmers agronomically and politically, often while subject to state persecution.
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The Prize was first established by the US Food Sovereignty Alliance (USFSA). Food Sovereignty is a political and economic philosophy which affirms decentralized, democracy-based agroecology as the basis for food production and distribution, and for politics and the economy in general. It is a comprehensive world view.
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Food Sovereignty is the political complement to agroecology, the great body of agronomic science, knowledge, technology, and practice.  Agroecology is about growing food in harmony with nature, in a way which provides the most wholesome food, with the highest amount of calories and nutritional value, builds the soil, uses less water, cleanses the water and air, grows the physically strongest crops, improves the genetic robustness of our crops, most effectively discourages weeds and pests, attracts beneficial insects and companion plants, provides wildlife habitat, enhances ecosystems in general, and provides a spiritually fulfilling human environment.
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I describe the Seven Principles of Food Sovereignty (quoted here) as described by the global farmer movement Via Campesina:
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1. Food Sovereignty affirms healthy food as a basic human right. We have a pre-political right to work the soil and enjoy the food we produce from it. This is because our creative and productive work is an essential part of our humanity, and any attempt to sunder us from control over our work is an elemental crime. This right to food can also be encoded as a formal constitutional right, wherever we the people choose to do so. Free access to our work is the essence of freedom.
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2. Food Sovereignty affirms our human right to productively work the land, which means control of the land by those who productively steward it. Free access to our work is the essence of freedom.
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3. Food Sovereignty recognizes the need for productive stewardship of all natural resources, including the need and obligation to use them as sustainably as possible, in harmony with the nature which provides their foundation.
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4. Food Sovereignty affirms that economies are naturally demand-based, never supply-based, and rejects all top-down command economy measures. It therefore rejects globalization, commodification, corporate welfare, corporate existence as such. Trade must be about food only, never agricultural commodities.
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5. Within the current globalization of food, Food Sovereignty especially rejects the domination of agricultural and food economies the economies of any other natural resource by the finance sector. All commodity speculation must be abolished.
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6. Food Sovereignty seeks modes of production and distribution based on natural human cooperation instead of artificial elite-imposed competition and mutual destruction. Food production and distribution, where done democratically and according to the natural rhythms of the economy, can be forces for freedom, the reality of happiness and not just the pursuit, and social peace instead of sublimated civil war. Food must never be transformed into a “food weapon” or be part of economic warfare. Food must never be forced into the role of war by other means, violence by other means, politics by other means.
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7. Food Sovereignty affirms that political and economic organization must be democratic, with the food producers and citizens taking the lead and exercising control of everything which they create and consume. That means everything which exists within the bounds of polity and economy.
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The Food Sovereignty Prize honors those who fight to advance food sovereignty and agroecology as bodies of knowledge and real world practices, and as the great political ideas our future shall require.
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The Food Sovereignty Prize is just one part of the growing good news from around the world. The tide is turning against corporate rule. More and more people everywhere are taking up the fight. They resolve that we shall never give up until corporate power over our agriculture and food are abolished and we fully reclaim our food, our land, our Earth.

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October 8, 2015

Liberal Climate Change Denial (“the Anthropocene”)

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Climate change denial at NPR. The correct definition of climate change denial is either denying climate change is happening at all or that industrial activity is causing it, or to insist that the answer to it is anything other than: Reduce emissions, stop destroying carbon sinks, start rebuilding carbon sinks. The liberal variety is usually of this latter sort, though there’s increasing overlap.
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The scam here is to use the faddish propaganda meme of “the Anthropocene” to say, in effect, that nuclear war is the same thing as a chimpanzee throwing a rock. The real goal of the “Anthropocene” notion, as I predicted the first time I heard of it, is to absolve industrialization and capitalism of blame for environmental destruction. The implication is that civilization can go ahead with business as usual. The convergence of liberals and conservatives to the point of being indistinguishable continues. Today the only difference between a liberal “believer” in climate change and a conservative “denier” is those empty words. Both agree that under no circumstances must we reduce emissions, stop destroying carbon sinks, and start rebuilding carbon sinks, which are the only three things to be done if you actually want to prevent the worst. Both also agree that certain highly subsidized and profitable technologies like GMOs (via “climate smart agriculture”) and geoengineering should be deployed, even though neither of those could possibly do anything but make climate change worse while wreaking every other kind of environmental carnage.
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To correct the corporate publicist who writes the NPR blog, indeed it isn’t “we” who are destroying the Earth, but it is most definitely one faction among humanity – Western capitalists, their supporters, and their imitators around the world – which is doing so. The magnitude of environmental destruction since the onset of the industrial era and its mode of economic organization is orders of magnitude beyond anything that went before, and is qualitatively different. But, much like apologists for imperialism claiming that the British Empire was “acquired in a fit of absent-mindedness”, today we have corporate apologists like this one writing “We didn’t change the climate because we were greedy. We did it by mistake.”
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“Anthropocene” means nothing more than denial of modern capitalism’s unique destructiveness. It therefore is a form of climate change denial, since by definition anthropogenic climate change is impossible other than within the framework of capitalist organization of fossil fuel extraction and burning. The point of this propaganda campaign is to lend pseudo-scientific credibility to the hackneyed lie that “we’re all equally to blame”. The purpose of such a universal attribution is to sow despair and fatalism, and specifically to be anti-political, to denigrate all political solutions since these must necessarily target one element of what, according to the lie, is a universal syndrome. On the other hand it’s well-suited to advocacy of technocratic rule and technological “solutions”. In this way it dovetails perfectly with scientism ideology and corporate goals. Indeed, both formally and in its genesis and function it’s similar to the lie of pro-GMO activists that genetic engineering is a form of natural evolution.
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The most bizarre thing about the Anthropocene lie is how internally self-contradictory it is. If humans can’t help themselves and have no choice other than to be ecologically destructive, than that’s all the more reason to stop deploying such inherently or potentially destructive technologies. How can the NPR scribbler maintain that “While triggering climate change might not be our fault, not doing everything we can about it now that we know it’s happening — that would be our fault”? On his own telling, this new consciousness is impossible for humans. After all, even the extreme environmental changes wrought by fossil-fueled capitalism were allegedly the result of a process as unconscious as ants building an anthill.
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But if such a change in consciousness is in fact possible, as the NPR piece itself admits, this refutes Anthropocene determinism and puts us right back in the political realm where we should have remained in the first place. The fact is that climate change and all other environmental crises are nothing but the result of political choices which societies have made. We can make different choices at will. All that’s needed is for enough people to recognize what we have to do and commit to doing it. I write in order to help propagate the new ideas of what is necessary and what will lead to a much better world for all of humanity. That’s the first step, getting the new ideas out there.

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October 2, 2015

Europe Standing Tall Against Monsanto

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What’s happening in Europe is interesting. A solid bloc comprising the great majority of Europe’s people and arable land is taking official action to block GMO cultivation under the new EU rules which were designed to be more industry-friendly than the previous ad hoc system. But, evidently contrary to the cartel’s expectations, Europe is reacting with alacrity. If anything, the people and governments of Europe seem even more motivated today to repel the GMO invasion than they previously were, even as the EU relaxes its already farcical assessment and approval procedures.
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From any point of view Europe’s rejection of GMO cultivation is the rational choice. Europe’s non-GM conventional agriculture is more productive than the GM-dominated agriculture of the US and Canada, and the gap is widening. Similarly, Europe’s pesticide use continues to decline while that of the US continues to skyrocket. GMOs yield less and require greatly more pesticide, fertilizer, and irrigation. They’re an inferior yet vastly more expensive product in every way, even before we get to their health and environmental harms. Europe also has a booming organic sector, while the American organic sector is increasingly being polluted by GM contamination, at great cost to already beleaguered farmers. Forcing US organic to assimilate GMOs seems to remain the policy of the USDA, just as it attempted to do in the 1990s when it was first devising the certification program.
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Europe’s campaign may bode well for its resolve to reject the TTIP and CETA globalization pacts, which in the long run would render all this for naught. The goal of these compacts is to eradicate all popular democracy and national sovereignty and impose direct corporate dictatorship.
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There seems to be little hope of stopping the TTIP from this side of the pond, but the nations of Europe are certainly capable of rejecting it. Right now Europe has a great agricultural advantage over the North American Babylon, from the point of view of the great transformation which will soon be necessary as well as from today’s mainstream marketing point of view. Why throw this away? On the European side, the TTIP makes sense only from the point of view of a few big corporate sectors and the Commission bureaucracy. It would be a pure disaster from the point of view of anyone else, an abject submission to US corporate power. Here’s to the prospect that Europe’s broad-based rejection of GMOs is a preliminary to its rejection of corporate globalization’s last, greatest gambit.

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October 1, 2015

Anybody Want to Do Something About Climate Change?

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There is one and only one way to lose weight: Eat better, eat less, and exercise.
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In the same way, there is one and only one way to avert the worst consequences of climate change: Greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stop destroying carbon sinks, rebuild carbon sinks.
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There is no argument which can be made against this fact, and anyone who tries to say it’s wrong or “complicated” or that there’s some kind of workaround is a criminal liar or an easily duped fool.
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The most direct and necessary way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to abolish industrial agriculture, the worst-emitting sector. This abolition is the one and only way to conserve and rebuild sinks.
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Just the emissions from nitrogen-based synthetic fertilizer alone outweigh the emissions from any other sector. This doesn’t include the oil and gas used to manufacture pesticides, the fuel burned by the tractors, trucks, ships, and planes deployed by the globalized agriculture and food sectors, or the energy burned in food processing and dissipated through waste. Humanity must abolish industrial agriculture. The alternative, vastly superior in every human and ecological way, is agroecology. This is a fully developed and demonstrated science and set of practices, ready for full scale deployment across the entire arable world.
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The worldwide destruction of grasslands, forests, and carbon-rich soil is a direct, intentional, unequivocal campaign of industrial agriculture. So is their replacement by denuded dirt which does nothing but hold the crop roots in place while they’re subjected to an ever escalating dosage of fertilizer and poisons. This destroy-and-poison treadmill is the fundamental business model for agribusiness and a paradigmatic exercise in the subjugation of the Earth by the most malign strain of man.
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Given this confluence of sociopathic profiteering and the depths of evil, it’s no surprise that climate scams have proliferated like no weed would dare to dream. Medieval-style “offsets” which were always self-evidently a fraud, “cap-and-trade”, carbon taxes, waiting for the EPA to directly regulate GHGs, waiting for “the market” to transform to “green energy”, every kind of techno-gimmick, propaganda fronts which want to maximize fancy talk about GHGs while suppressing all action and even the ideas of action. All PR campaigns of government, corporations, the UN, and the corporate-environmentalist front groups are of this character. This is most obviously manifested with the fronts for “climate smart agriculture”, a contradiction in terms where it means anything short of the abolition of industrial agriculture.
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At the most vile extremes of disaster capitalism, we have campaigns like chemical no-till agriculture, “clean coal”, fracked gas as a “bridge fuel”, and geoengineering. These not only do nothing to mitigate climate change but actively worsen it while wreaking even worse ecological devastation. With fracking they’re literally poisoning our wells along with destroying our communities and farmland. With geoengineering the homicidal psychosis breaks all bounds of calculability and moral comprehension. Even the most rabid Nazis were relatively tame compared to the level of malign insanity which would be required to even contemplate such a catastrophic action. Only the fantasists of nuclear war are comparable.
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Meanwhile the various kinds of climate change deniers get the most respectful treatment in the corporate media. This includes the old-style direct deniers as well as today’s more common “delayer” version, so-called because they pay lip service while counseling against action for the time being. As with all technocracy advocates, they call upon humanity to renounce political solutions and look to techno-“solutions” which will always be in the future. This is an endemic trait of scientism cultists, who unanimously are climate change deniers in this sense, and often in the more direct sense as well.
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Most of all, the climate change deniers and their friendly media collaborate to pretend that corporate agriculture and its technologies are, in some mystical way, in alignment with climate change science, even though this is directly in contradiction of 100% of the evidence, and even though it’s empirically documented that pro-GMO activists are climate change deniers and vice versa, while actual climate change activists also oppose corporate agriculture.
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What has to be done about climate change? The same thing which needs to be done about every other crisis of the age. It requires enough people to relinquish the status quo-conforming consciousness in whatever form, burn their boats and embrace a revolutionary consciousness. Enough people, first to build a movement outside of, out of synch with, where necessary in opposition to, the status quo. Outside of it, and fired by the will to overcome and transform it. First to build and sustain this movement, to have the patience for the hard work of perhaps many years without flashy public victories, patient to win the smaller, at first more quiet day to day victories of disciplined work toward the necessary future, focusing most of all on building this movement’s own culture and economy while propagating the new idea, getting it into the public consciousness. (Although even during this stage there’s great potential for effective political wedge campaigns which can directly advance the movement toward its goals while serving as recruitment drives.)
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And then, if this movement has done its work well, when the time comes where circumstances radically change and vastly more people are abruptly jolted into a new consciousness and become ready for a new idea, the anti-corporate movement of earthly freedom and organic harmony will be ready to receive and organize them. Then great things will become politically not just possible but inevitable. And that’s when humanity will be ready to deal with climate change, along with the other great crises which simultaneously loom.
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Will that be too late? We can’t attain what’s necessary until we embark upon what’s necessary. There’s no other way. These are radical political crises and nothing else. These crises can have only radical political solutions, nothing else. The sooner we begin, the sooner we attain. If only humanity is willing to begin, to fight for a new beginning, it will be soon enough.

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