Volatility

March 2, 2016

Permanent DARKness Campaign

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The campaigners who fought for Vermont’s labeling law should take pride in how they’ve terrified the corporate establishment all over America. If and when the DARK Act is forced upon them, I’d love to see them escalate their resolve by suing and then going ahead in defiance of this unconstitutional law which not only forbids state-mandated labels but which directly guts the First Amendment, forbidding “express or implied claims regarding safety or quality based on whether food is or is not bioengineered or produced or developed with the use of bioengineering…” In case anyone’s wondering where this will leave even voluntary private-sector labeling like the Non-GMO Project, it’ll be placed under the autocratic control of the Agriculture Secretary, who will be given power “to promulgate regulations establishing a national voluntary bioengineered food labeling standard.” So counties and states will be forbidden even to have their own voluntary standards. The secretary will adopt the “voluntary standards” as dictated by the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association.
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It’s clear what a monumental effort will be necessary to get a semi-decent labeling policy in place (Vermont’s is only semi-strong and has lots of loopholes), what an endless war of attrition. People assume that because labeling is the modest measure while abolition would be the allegedly more radical one, therefore labeling must also be easier to achieve. But I’d say that with every passing month this proposition looks more and more dubious. The fact is that in extreme times (and with this massive, insane assault of the poisoners we are indeed in extreme times) the measures necessary to meet these extreme challenges are actually less difficult to achieve than allegedly “moderate” measures suited to moderate circumstances. I urge everyone seriously to ask themselves: Which do you really think will be less difficult to do, get a real GMO labeling policy in place and rigorously enforced at any government level (and not have to keep fighting the DARK Act over and over indefinitely), or abolish GMOs completely? And what’s the most likely route toward getting rid of Roundup, the circuitous and grossly contested labeling route, or the direct route of fighting for bans? I suggest that the evidence is increasingly clear that labeling in itself and abolition-via-labeling comprise a less practical aspiration than the direct goal of full abolition.
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This question of the real practicality of labeling compared with abolitionism is ancillary to the greater truth that co-existence is impossible and even strong labeling policy would be insufficient. This is in addition to labeling’s many dubious philosophical and moral implications.
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We must oppose all versions of the DARK Act because they’re anti-democratic and would hobble all legal attempts to constrain the poison products on the consumer front. So I’m not writing this to disparage the anti-DARKness efforts.
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But I write to propose that even as we oppose DARKness we still need to look to the ideas which shine the strongest light. I argue that having to fight constantly on such an unproductive battleground in itself demonstrates how inadequate to the times the labeling idea is, and that this constantly looming specter of DARKness must be a spur to look to alternatives, to diversify strategy and tactics, most of all to transcend the consumerist front where the enemy is very happy to keep the attrition war contained.

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2 Comments

  1. […] set up a filtering system, evidently to suppress “undesirable” ideas) starting with this piece, which my friend praised for what she saw as its optimism. I myself thought the piece was quite […]

    Pingback by Prospects and Stagnation | Volatility — March 6, 2016 @ 7:28 am

  2. […] where it comes to many labeling advocates, I increasingly doubt either of those is a real goal. Is this war of attrition, this rut, really now the measure of progress? Am I the only one who’s already extremely sick […]

    Pingback by GMO News Summary March 18th, 2016 | Volatility — March 18, 2016 @ 6:47 am


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