*The movement to abolish glyphosate once and for all is developing. Over the past week the portents have been especially strong from Europe.
The magnitude of the crisis becomes ever more apparent as the latest study of glyphosate exposure found that well over 99% of Germans have glyphosate residue in their urine.
“The report analysed glyphosate residue in urine and it concluded that 75% of the target group displayed levels that were five times higher than the legal limit of drinking water. A third of the population even showed levels that were between ten and 42 times higher than what is normally permissible.” Children, who are most vulnerable to glyphosate’s genotoxic and endocrine disruption effects, had the highest levels. When we consider that Germany has no cultivation of Roundup Ready crops and therefore significantly less indigenous use of glyphosate than countries like the US, Canada, Argentina, Brazil, or Australia, we can see how the aggressiveness with which this extreme poison is invading our food, water, and bodies has reached an intolerable level. No political prescription which wants to take the extremely circuitous route to an eventual glyphosate ban is sufficient to the crisis. The monarch butterfly won’t wait either.
This news added force to a rising momentum against at least the most rote re-approval of glyphosate, which the EU government had expected to see the member states wave through earlier this week. The Commission has proposed that the cancerous poison not only be fully re-approved through 2031 but that its use even be expanded. Meanwhile the EFSA is already in the process of almost doubling the allowed “tolerance” level for human ingestion. This is in spite of the fact that the EU has known since the 1980s that glyphosate causes cancer and birth defects, a decades-long cover-up finally and definitively unmasked by the WHO’s Cancer Agency in 2015. There’s no longer the slightest doubt, factually, morally, or legally (in Nuremburg terms) : Those propagating glyphosate, from the manufacturers and technicians to the regulators to the marketers to the users, are willfully causing cancer on a mass scale.
This realization and culpability isn’t enough to drive most governments to ban glyphosate, and in most cases they concur with the European Commission that glyphosate and cancer need to be maximized. But under rising pressure from the people, several European state governments are at least balking at the most rote fast-track procedure.
The environmental ministers of France, the Netherlands, Italy, and Sweden stated that they would vote No if the re-approval is to be based only on the EFSA’s fraudulent assessment
, which was nothing but a regulator rubber stamp on the industry’s own propaganda package, issued by Monsanto’s Glyphosate Task Force. The French environment minster stated that her agency concurs with the WHO’s assessment and rejects that of the EFSA. Even the Netherlands agriculture minister said that they need more information:
“If there is no possibility to postpone the vote, then we will vote against the proposal.” Sustainable Pulse reported
that Bulgaria, Denmark, Austria, and Belgium were also planning to vote No. Germany was said to be planning to abstain.
Facing this looming revolt, the EU postponed the vote
rather than face possible defeat. Reports are that the vote is rescheduled
for the next member state meeting in six weeks. They still need a decision before the end of June, at which time glyphosate’s license expires. Officials and the media are saying expiration would lead to a “legal limbo”, which I think means governments would have to scramble to concoct ad hoc “legalizations” which would in fact be illegal by EU law, in order to allow the poison to continue to be sold and used in defiance of the law. The policeman is there to preserve disorder
, and no entity is more lawless than today’s governments and legal systems. Still, if they can’t coerce the vote I’d expect them to just put off the expiration date again. The June date is already an illegitimate extension by the EFSA from the original expiration in December 2015. The Commission is now discussing concessions it could make
in order to get the vote it needs, such as proposing a shorter re-approval period than 15 years, or banning formulations containing POEA (as Germany has already done). But as the WHO’s IARC recently reiterated, the evidence is that pure glyphosate itself causes cancer
, and not just commercial formulations. PAN Europe greeted the news that the EU had postponed the re-approval vote by calling for a ban
not only on the POEA co-formulant
but on glyphosate itself.
Potentially as momentous, the European Chemicals Agency will reassess the human health effects
of glyphosate in light of the WHO’s finding. If the ECHA finds that glyphosate is carcinogenic, harmful to the reproductive system, or an endocrine disruptor, according to EU law the chemical will have to be banned. But this assessment isn’t expected to be completed until late in 2017. Greenpeace calls for any reauthorization of glyphosate to be postponed until after this report is released.
Whether or not this becomes a true legal and most of all political deadline for glyphosate or whether it’s another EFSA-style whitewash will depend on the grassroots will of the people.
The more the motivated people force the facts into the public consciousness and pressure retailers to stop selling glyphosate, food retailers to stop selling food poisoned by it, and towns to stop buying it, the less tenable it will become for regulators to continue telling lies which will only further discredit themselves and destroy their own legitimacy.
Here’s a tally of some of the campaign accomplishments
in Europe so far. Several retailers have pledged to stop selling glyphosate-based products. These include do-it-yourself shops in Germany (Bauhaus, Baumarkt, Hornbach, Obi and Toom), Switzerland (Coop, Migros), Austria (Bauhaus, Bellaflora) and Luxembourg (Cactus, Profi Zentrum). In the Netherlands, major garden centres and DIY shops have stopped selling glyphosate, including Intratuin, Praxis, Groenrijk, Ranzijn and Hornbach. Several cities including Edinburgh (Scotland), Barcelona (Spain), Hamburg (Germany), Rennes (France), Rovereto and Livorno (Italy) have promised to ban or otherwise end the use of glyphosate in public spaces.
In Europe there’s enough grassroots and public pressure to drive member governments to sometimes take pro-human positions. We see how glyphosate’s progress is tangibly being hindered, and how it will eventually be banned completely. The exact same thing can be done in America.
*If GM maize cultivation is legalized in Mexico, this will trigger a radical escalation of the already dire contamination
of the world’s center of genetic diversity
for this critical crop. Farmers, scientists, and civil society groups are fighting in court the government’s plan to legalize this cultivation. With one exception the court rulings have been in accord with the law and against the government, but in 2015 a corrupt judge removed the injunction against the GM plantings. The people appealed and have just won a restoration of the injunction.
The legal struggle will continue toward a final trial, but for now the ban remains in place and no GM maize has legally been planted.
*Here’s the revolving door at its most frenetically swirling
and a strong challenge to anyone who still wants to claim that a regulatory agency like the USDA has some kind of adversarial role vis its affiliated corporations, or indeed that there’s any real organizational demarcation between them at all. The evident fact is that there is no difference between corporations and regulatory agencies – no difference in ideology, no difference in a fundamentally sociopathic view of people and the environment, no difference in careerist commitment, no difference in the literal personnel. Regulators and what they themselves call their clients
, the industry sectors, comprise one indivisible whole, the corporate state.
*It seems that after years of being a US poodle the Indian government may be following the lead of its fellow BRICS and looking to shake free of US/Monsanto agricultural domination. The central government is already threatening to reduce the tax
it will allow Monsanto to collect on Bollgard II cotton seed, and now it’s making noises about revoking Monsanto’s patents altogether
on the grounds that the technology doesn’t work.
Of course regulators don’t usually care about that kind of thing, and the Modi government remains pro-GMO
(though there’s factions within the coalition which oppose GMO expansion), so the answer may be that the government thinks India’s ready to start building its own GM crop system the way China’s seeking to do. Monsanto-Mahyco cotton has been a bust, and globalization has done nothing but harm to India’s cotton industry in general. So it would seem that a nationalist government would find it easy to cut Monsanto out, as long as it had the pretext to do so within the WTO system, since it doesn’t want to quit that system completely.
“Weakness in ag markets, which are currently over-supplied, is likely to persist for the foreseeable future.” These markets have always been over-supplied. That’s what productionism and commodification, including the crackpot “yield” statistic, are all about. But the end is in sight.
The agrochemical cartel’s last big hope is that a mass Asian middle class will rise and adopt Western-style CAFO consumption patterns in order to provide a use for all that grain overproduction. But that’s not going to happen. The glut, the price depression, and the need to dump like crazy
will only get more dire. For any thinking flack or troll, this must generate lots of cognitive dissonance, what with their need to continue touting the “Feed the World” lie and to blow up another tech stock bubble
around things like “hi-tech agriculture”. Ironically, those putting Monsanto in the Buy category may be right for the short run, if this bubble gets blowing.
But as this whole state of things demonstrates, the GMO and poison cartel have nothing left but force, lies and hot air. These won’t be enough to stem the reprisal of reality, they won’t be enough to keep down the people, and they won’t be enough to keep down the Earth. In the end a patent certificate and a spray bottle of Roundup will avail them little against the hurricane.