Volatility

August 5, 2018

You Can Hoard, But You Can’t Hide (Svalbard’s Broken Freezer)

<

 
 
When we built the seed vault, there was not even discussion of the permafrost,” Hege Njaa Aschim, the press representative of the organization that oversees the project, told me. But the weather last winter, she said, was “like a Norwegian summer.” “We didn’t come up with the term doomsday vault,” Cary Fowler, the mastermind of the seed vault, told me. “The idea there was to provide an insurance policy, so if anything were to happen to those other facilities, it wouldn’t be an extinction event.”
 
Destruction of seed biodiversity is one of the worst crises and crimes of corporate agriculture. The proprietors of Svalbard – the agrochemical cartel and the governments that serve it – all want the total death of humanity and the Earth. For the ecology, agronomy, and human freedom it’s essential that we the living people breed our own necessary organic crops and sustain and expand a decentralized network of seed saving and seed exchange.
 
You won’t hear this in the corporate media. There you’re far more likely to find the hagiography of Svalbard, the “doomsday vault” which is going to save us all, the seed bank which in crisis is going to enable Monsanto and the Gates Foundation to continue to “feed the world” even though so far all they’re doing is starving it.
 
Svalbard is part of the system dedicated to centralized corporate control of all genetic diversity and committed to the destruction of agroecology, participatory breeding, networked seed sharing and conservation. Consider who controls the Svalbard project: Bayer/Monsanto, the Gates Foundation, Syngenta, DuPont, USAID, the CGIAR, the World Bank, all dedicated to totalitarian technocracy.
 
The project is a typical “public-private partnership” which fits into the decades-long pattern of CGIAR institutions traversing the global South to collect germplasm, convey it to the corporations (i.e. to perform corporate research with public money), and to proselytize on behalf of Western corporate agriculture among Southern officials, intellectuals and farmers, but using a “public” veneer. USAID and the Gates crew specialize in this. The seeds they heist and convey to the corporate vault then come under corporate control and will be used only for the elites’ purposes. The same system which is trying to enclose seeds everywhere will deploy its corporate vaults in the same way.
 
The doomsday vault is supposed to come in handy if the political and corporate elites ever were to have catastrophic need. In the meantime the place serves as a standard publicly-funded corporate gathering and research facility for Monsanto and the rest of the GM seed cartel. In that day-to-day way it represents doomsday for humanity and the Earth.
 
 
Beyond that, the idea of Svalbard – a centralized, literal fortress – is completely wrong ecologically. Here as everywhere else we need networked decentralization. We need a vast network of thousands of seed banks, all devoted to adapting landraces on a regional basis. Also, storing seeds is only second best. For varieties to remain attuned to the ecology people need to keep growing them. There’s no way to rely on the ecological viability of even the most carefully stored seeds as time passes while the plants aren’t being grown in the real world. You have to keep planting and growing them.
 
This also is the only way to restore seeds and crops as a core part of human culture, human spirit. They must be part of our living experience, our immersion in the flows of the ecology.
 
 
Svalbard’s broken freezer, its melting permafrost, is a reminder of how physically and politically vulnerable a bunker like this is, how it’s the wrong path. It’s ironic that the climate chaos being driven most of all by the industrial agriculture paradigm of which Svalbard is a devoted part is coming home to threaten the vault itself. This project of Monsanto and Gates does indeed represent doomsday: First human doom through socioeconomic attack, then ecological doom through poisonism and destruction of habitat and biodiversity, and above all total human and ecological doom through total climate chaos.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

July 29, 2018

Notes on the Industrial Organic Sector

 
 
1. A few years back there were some false rumors, which may have started as satire, that Monsanto was buying Whole Foods Market. This stemmed from the fact that Whole Foods Market, Stonyfield and others joined with Obama’s secretary of agriculture Tom Vilsack to try to make a “co-existence” deal with Monsanto over Roundup Ready alfalfa. This was a backdoor way to try to water down organic standards. The USDA always has wanted to include GMOs within the organic standards, and the industrial organic sector, reliant as it is on the “natural” label scam, has no objections. Lots of rhetoric followed which eventually led to the false rumors. The prosaic truth is that industrial organic is industrial first and organic a distant second. The sector is not committed to anything beyond what it sees as effective marketing and profiteering. WFM’s CEO at the time Jeff Mackey openly said that WFM touts “organic” and “natural” purely as a marketing gimmick, and he explicitly repudiated any ecological or public health philosophy beyond that. This mirrors the USDA’s appraisal of its own organic certification program: According to the agency organic food is no better or healthier than poison-based food, but is merely a kind of lifestyle ornament.
 
What’s not a rumor is the fact that BASF and Cargill are members of the Organic Trade Association. Nor is this a surprise, as the OTA represents the industrial sector and shares the USDA/WFM view of organic agriculture and food as merely a branding device. That’s why the OTA consistently has worked to water down NOSB standards, and that’s why it supported the 2016 DARK Act which put a stake in the heart of the GMO labeling movement by co-opting it in a sham fashion, as I predicted for years would happen.
 
2. Many system NGOs are dedicated to performing a pro-corporate, pro-globalization triangulator role. Some oppose pesticides and GMOs but want FDA control of produce, or of GMO labeling. Some oppose pesticides and GMOs but support expanded use of synthetic fertilizers, themselves a major pollutant, driver of climate change, and basis of pesticide monoculture. In reality it’s not possible to support synthetic fertilizers and not effectively support the entire apparatus of agribusiness and poison-based agriculture. Even the USDA organic certification acknowledges this.
 
In the guise of debunking some pro-GMO lies they reinforce others and in general reinforce the lies of corporate industrial agriculture, commodity farming, and globalization. In the course of it they implicitly attack Food First and other organizations truly dedicated to fighting hunger, and who document and publish the truths of food production and economics. Just like how industrial organic’s lobbying arm Just Label It stressed labeling but supported GMOs on other points, as well as supporting corporate agriculture and food as such, with the eventual result I predicted for years: In 2016 the labeling strategy reached its logical end with the passage of what I called DARK Act Plan B.
 
This reflects the industrial organic agenda. This globalized commodity sector: 1. Opposes food-based agriculture, just as much as the GM cartel and any other commodity sector does. 2. Joins hands with Monsanto in trying to suppress the facts and propagate lies about food production, the environment, and hunger. 3. It diverges from the GM/pesticide cartel on some specifics regarding GMOs. (But not on fertilizer.) These seem to be chosen cynically, with an eye toward continuing to receive some corporate funding. Thus EWG refutes the “feed the world” lie where it comes specifically to GMOs but supports this big lie in general, while Just Label It supported the lie that GMOs have been tested and found to be safe.
 
All this is intended to serve a gate-keeping function, since any real abolition movement would be a threat to: 1. Industrial organic’s leadership of the food movement, 2. The sector’s very existence, which after all is just as dependent on corporate welfare, the parasite paradigm, the whole globalization system.
 
As far as the official certification, organic is nothing more or less than what the USDA says it is, by definition. When the USDA issued its original proposal for an organic certification in the 1990s, this proposed rule would have allowed GMOs to be certified “organic”. Only massive pressure from farmers and consumers forced them to back down and rewrite the standard to exclude GMOs. But the agency has not changed its mind about thinking they should be allowed, just as it has never changed its official opinion that organic agricultural practices and food are no safer or healthier but just add up to a set of “lifestyle” products. The USDA’s basic position on GMOs is that they’re not only safe but normative, and that the environment and food system should maximally be contaminated and transformed. (They would say “improved” or something similar; they call GM seeds “improved seeds”.) They’ve not only approved every GMO application without exception but are doing all they can to declare whole classes of GMOs to be outside their jurisdiction and unregulatable. It’s not every day you see a bureaucracy voluntarily giving up vast swathes of its power. Only extreme ideology could drive such a thing.
 
So much for the USDA. As for industrial organic, the likes of Jeff Mackey openly say that they subscribe to no organic philosophy but view the whole thing as a marketing ploy. Gary Hirshberg never misses a chance to try to euthanize activism, like with his endorsement of the QR code as an allegedly acceptable labeling compromise*. And although the Fabers were unable to reach a deal with Vilsack and the GMA in January 2016, they rushed out to justify the basic paradigm of secret elite conclaves toward some “compromise” which then can be handed down to the people. So there’s the basic attitude of the economic and cultural elites of the movement. As for standard practice, just look at the “natural” scam which is near-universal among them. If they’re willing to surreptitiously sell you GMOs and Roundup in your food (at a premium, no less!) while calling it “natural”, they’d certainly love to do the same by calling it “organic”. They’ve already slipped such poisons as gut-busting carrageenan into the certification standards.
 
Their most clear-cut political ploy was the attempted “co-existence” deal over GM alfalfa which Vilsack tried to broker between the industrial organic sector and Monsanto. The USDA itself in its Environmental Impact Review admitted that over the long run GM alfalfa cannot co-exist with non-GM. This means that legalizing the GM product is tantamount to rendering much of certified organic meat and dairy untenable – unless the standard is changed to allow some level of GM presence in the hay. Obviously Vilsack, WFM, Stonyfield, etc. knew this when they tried to make the deal. So unless one thinks they want certified organic meat and dairy to cease to exist, the only alternative is that they want to see the organic certification standard changed to allow GMOs.
 
Why would industrial organic do such things? In their perfect world, they could sell the same industrial junk but slap the “organic” brand on it and charge a premium. They already do exactly that with the term “natural” (which is why they’re hostile toward any labeling policy like Vermont’s which would end this terminological scam). They cherish the same desire as that of the USDA, to allow GMOs under the “organic” name. That’s why they always felt dissonance and ambivalence toward the idea of GMO labeling. They got involved only as a PR campaign. But as we saw with the history of JLI, AGree, etc., what they really wanted was to control and manage the labeling campaign, in the same way EPA “manages” Roundup and dioxins, and mainstream environmental groups help the corporations manage ecological destruction. They want to control it in such a way that they get the PR benefit while forestalling any reality of a strong, honest labeling policy. JLI, Hirshberg and the GMA are Roundup-burnt peas in a pod.
 
We’ve seen how in response to the Steve Marsh lawsuit there was a major propaganda campaign to the effect that Australia’s organic standards are too strict and need to be relaxed to allow some level of “adventitious presence”. The OTA and the industrial organic sector are leading same campaign in the US. Anywhere this relaxation is enacted, the level of contamination allowed under the standard then will begin a mechanical upward creep, in exactly the same way that pesticide “tolerances” are mechanically raised by regulators as more pesticides are used.
 
That exact same mechanical raising of the allowed level of GM presence also will occur with any labeling policy which is ever enacted, which is one of the reasons why labeling was the wrong idea in the first place. In Europe the 0.9% standard is under strong pressure from the industry to be raised.
 
*The whole attitude that “compromise” is possible and desirable is the same as to say that “co-existence” with Monsanto and GMOs is desirable, and that it’s physically possible at all.
 
3. Some people are more interested in premium niche marketing than in the food sovereignty and abolition imperatives. In many cases it’s obvious, as in the long and ongoing history of small organic companies selling out to big conglomerates. No doubt they’d often claim they were under financial duress and had no choice, and maybe once in awhile that’s true. The system is heavily stacked against healthy, ecological farming and food.
 
But far more often it’s simply taken for granted on an ideological level that a successful entrepreneur sells out at some point to a big corporation. Most entrepreneurs seem to regard this as a “natural” part of some kind of business life cycle, in the same way we physically go from childhood to adolescence to adulthood. But this conventional capitalist mindset cannot coexist with the ecological philosophy and imperative, any more than non-GM crops can coexist with GM for long in the most physical sense.
 
4. Is the USDA organic certification a decadence?** People with money are willing to pay more for what’s good (or at least better) while tolerating the general deterioration, rather than resolving to put an end to what’s bad so we can all have what’s good? I’m fighting to abolish poison-based agriculture and build food sovereignty. I regard the place of organics only from a strategic and tactical point of view. But I’m certain that the goal itself isn’t to expand organics alongside the poison system. That’s impossible anyway. Coexistence is impossible, and if the poison system continues, the organic sector must eventually cease to exist in all but name, if that.
 
Foodies and corporate executives and shareholders alike (often the same people) think humanity (at least moneyed humans) can co-exist with GMOs, pesticides, climate change, etc. For them organic food, electric cars, etc. add up to an island. Monsanto’s CEO thinks he and his people eat separate food, drink separate water, breathe separate air, inhabit a separate ecology. But Certified Organic is not an island, it cannot co-exist (physically or politically) with poison-based agriculture and a poisoned environment, steadily it will be eroded, degraded, corrupted, and soon will cease to exist except in name only, if things keep going the way they are.
 
**There are several attempts underway to promulgate non-governmental organic standards which improve upon the USDA certification. These include the Real Organic Project (designed to overcome many of the abusive features of the USDA standards) and Certified Naturally Grown (designed to be more affordable for small direct retail organic farmers; the USDA system is geared to the big industrial operators). Whether any of these is a big improvement depends on the good faith of all the participants, from farmer to certifier to customer.
 
5. I write mostly about a general mindset and strategy. Most of what I write is geared to organizational and philosophical matters, not as much directly to consumer matter. But for the kind of buying follows from that, I practice and recommend doing the best one can within that framework. Buy the best you can afford, the rules being that local is better than commodified, smaller better than bigger, committed to real values rather than mercenary (especially insofar as you can perceive the mentality and goals of a producer and/or seller – is it a way of life or do they have a mini-Monsanto mentality?), organic/agroecological better than not.
 
It’s true that big corporate buyers can help all producers of non-GM crops, for food and feed, scale up to the necessary level where the products are broadly affordable for the community food sector. In other words, the more non-GM corn is bought for a big retailer’s store brand processed stuff and for their CAFO sourcing, the more affordable it will also become for small direct retail farmers to use as feed. So if producers of non-GM grain etc. saw themselves as just using the corporate sourcing toward the real goal of community sector rebuilding and stuck with that goal without becoming corrupted, the corporate sourcing would be a helpful springboard. On the other hand the more everyone, including “organic” types, see themselves as part of the same commingled commodity economic paradigm as the corporate system, the more they’ll obey the dictates of the big buyers, and the more they’ll have the time-serving house-flipping mindset that they’re only doing this for a period before they get to sell out. In that case the corporate ideology and commodity practice will completely dominate, the community food sector’s development will be hindered rather than boosted, and in the end the quality of the organic consumer product will be degraded completely like I described above.
 
6. If there arose a real movement to rebuild healthy, democratic agriculture and food, the Community Food movement and economic sector as I call it, this sector could use corporate sourcing to help scale itself up to the necessary level where wholesome food became affordable for everyone, and non-GM feed was readily affordable to direct retail farmers. The sector could build out the input and processing infrastructure it mostly lacks and badly needs. I stress, the necessary level of scaling up and building out and no bigger, based on sustainability and distribution within its own watershed and foodshed. That’s a core measure of whether such a movement exists: Is the goal to produce affordable real food for human beings, while seeking revenue only in order to support this goal and support oneself? Or is it the same old capitalism, with profit and “growth” for their own sakes (and eventually cashing in, selling out to a big buyer) the real goal, while participants just pretend to do the best they can as far as the product?
 
Obviously the big corporate buyers don’t care about these goals and want to prevent all this from being built. Which leads to the corollary that if the movement I described above doesn’t exist, if people don’t have that mindset, then not only will corporate control of the organic sector (and of much of the organic movement’s politics as well) continue to escalate, but the depressing pattern of small organic producers offering themselves to be bought up will continue. In that case the big corporate controllers eventually will erode and then gut the organic standards themselves, and that will be the end of the whole thing. They’ll do that as soon as they’re able. We already know, for example, that industrial organic is industrial first and organic second, and that they share the USDA’s goal of allowing GMOs to qualify under the “organic” standards.
 
7. Therefore I’m also not sure about even the industrial organic brands. To the extent the mindset of Food Sovereignty and building the Community Food sector actually exists, and to the extent that the growth of the organic sector helps expand and render economically more viable non-GMO sourcing for animal feed and similar staples which can then be used to build the Community Food sector – its inputs, products, and processing infrastructure – to the extent these are true, industrial organic can be a stepping stone for us.
 
But this boils down to the first question, to what extent does the Food Sovereignty mindset, as part of the public citizen mindset, actually exist, as opposed to the same old private-individual-is-an-island mindset which, even where it comes to organic and localized agriculture and food, thinks primarily in terms of “growth” and eventually selling out to a buyer.
 
And since that’s the primary question, it follows that the first necessary priority of a Food Sovereignty movement is to build this mindset, propagate knowledge of it, encourage it, recruit to it, organize on the basis of it.
 
 
 
 
 

July 3, 2018

Earth’s Call

Filed under: Agroecology, Climate Crisis, Dance of Death, Freedom — Tags: , , — Russell Bangs @ 10:51 am

>

 
 
*I cry from the wilderness. I’ve warned against the physical poisons and the artificial structures which propagate the physical poisons. I continue to warn against these all, against the corporate “person”-demons, against Mammon.
 
I cry out in the streets and am invisible and cannot be heard.
 
*For years I dreamt of a globe transformed to societies based on agroecology and food sovereignty. The evidence says this physically can be done. The evidence says even 10 billion people could grow their own food agroecologically for the price of everyone working a few hours a day at the equivalent of gardening chores. The agroecological society would have nothing in common with the slavery of commodity field work. We’d be healthy and free. The only obstacles are political.
 
Be clear: Agroecology requires less space, less resources, less impact, less money, to produce food for more people, than industrial agriculture.
 
There are no physical obstacles to a global transformation of all human society to an infinitely better order. The only obstacles are political.
 
But such a political transformation would require such a radical rewiring of the inflamed brain as to render the idea of it utopian. I see no way such a political change ever could happen. “Political” types can’t even get it together to enact reforms within their civilization, let alone transform the civilization itself.
 
The only way is to channel the spirit of Gaia, help the people hear the Earth with their own ears, help them feel the Earth with their own souls.
 
*Gaia sculpted us to be hunter-gatherers. Evolution worked our clay. With sane use of the inflamed brain we figured out how to pasture animals on appropriate land, how to do horticulture and husbandry on appropriate land.
 
But agriculture and animal agriculture are the seeds and leaves of the city, corrupt seeds and poison leaves of its prison walls. These are never adaptive, never ecological. They never work for people or the land.
 
*Gaia gave us the idea of her. We’ve learned from observation and eventually from theories. We learned to understand aspects of the Earth. We learned ecology. We’ve seen with our own eyes the campaign of destruction.
 
Let’s take just one part of it, deforestation, the mass murder of trees across all zones especially the tropical:
 
1. Deforestation brings the drought, brings the desert.
 
2. It’s a major part of the ongoing sixth major extinction event in Earth’s history.
 
3. It brings erosion, brings the carbon, which brings the heating, which brings the methane, which is bringing the real heating.
 
The number one driver of global deforestation is the Western consumption maw, especially that of the US.
 
That puts in perspective the lame, fake “solutions” to climate change offered by “activists” in the US. These solutions – offsets, industrial “renewables”, hybrid cars and other product substitutions – also drive deforestation.
 
The truth is there is one and only one real solution for averting the worst of the climate crisis: Stop all industrial greenhouse gas emissions, stop destroying sinks (this means ending ALL deforestation), rebuild sinks on a massive scale.
 
Anything short of that is a lie.
 
*The injury, often lethal, is practical, directly to our bodies, directly to our ability to eat, to sustain ourselves. The injury is to our feeling of beauty and spirit. The injury is to our humanity.
 
There are those who say our humanity makes us superior to the other animals and to nature. Even leaving aside all the other reasons this is false, most of all it’s false because modern civilization, by driving the ecological sunder to its utmost and exterminating all that’s left of human spirit and culture, destroys our very humanity most of all.
 
*Watch the moon travel the sky across thirty sunrises. These are regular phase changes. Then there’s Gaia’s non-linear phase changes triggered by extreme forces. Today the berserk species Homo domesticus, civilized man, is using the billions of years of stored solar energy to murderously assault Gaia. As always Gaia will impose her correction upon this vermin affliction.
 
We can’t know exactly how Gaia’s kinesis will play out, but still we must begin work on the post-kinetic life, the village, the tent camp, whatever the form becomes. We must base our future not on where we were or what might seem to work right now, but on where the grounding of future human life will be, after the collapse. We must understand the unfolding kinesis and prepare to endure it.
 
We’re already enduring it, in the form of the depredations of the corporate technocratic civilization itself and all its horrors: Ecological, socioeconomic, cultural. Things are going to get much worse.
 
*If humanity has more days at all, the return home to Gaia must itself be part of Gaia’s phase change. Our best chance is to build the necessary ideas in our brains.
 
If we’re to have a future at all, our nation has to be phase changing right now in harmony with Gaia’s change. No longer to be the deranged parasitic squatting vandals of industrial civilization but the renaissance of primal humanity living as one with the ecology.
 
That’s what Gaia means today for us.
 
*The mass murder of the trees is one of the most savage feedback loops of ecological destruction.
 
As the trees are murdered by logging and clearance for corporate agriculture, the carbon stored in their biomass and the soil they maintain is released, and the clouds and rains they generate through their evapotranspiration fade out, bringing in their wake drought. The now unanchored soil dries and erodes.
 
The drought then helps kill more trees driving warming and drought further, bringing on the desert.
 
Modern civilization is turning the physical Earth as well as the human soul into a desert. That’s the end goal
 
Gaia will purge this vermin infestation, and she will continue in a new phase. The only question is whether humanity will continue after having done its best to commit suicide.
 
Will we?
 
 
 
 
 

April 22, 2018

Song for the Earth (on Earth Day)

Filed under: Agroecology, American Revolution, Climate Crisis, Freedom, Peak Oil, Scientism/Technocracy — Tags: , — Russell Bangs @ 1:54 am
 
 
The Earth is home. For all our human purposes the Earth is the universe. The Earth is our entire home, and our only home. All social ideas are grounded in this truth. All traditional religions agree upon this as well. Attempts to find the heavens in the “up there” are misreadings. The Bible is unequivocal: The New Jerusalem is supposed to descend to this physical Earth, and heaven is nowhere but upon this Earth. The same is true from every secular point of view. The Earth is where Homo sapiens evolved; humanity evolved in tandem with and as an inextricable part of the Earth; in terms of energy, physiology, and psychology it would be impossible to forsake the Earth even if humanity wanted to (but humanity does not want this; only a handful of subhuman psychopaths claim to want this) ; the Earth is our one and only home.
 
 
 
 
Among all religions only scientism consistently despises its home and provider the Earth. Thus, in addition to its many other evils and idiocies, scientism constitutes the most extreme and despicable ingratitude. All human beings agree this is the worst of sins and the most ominous of traits.
 
 
 
 
For the great majority of us home is a particular foodshed. Only a handful of people are born travelers. The vast majority of migrants are those cast adrift by corporate-driven economic coercion, or by the spiritual and cultural homelessness generated by the technocratic civilization. Part of the great and necessary ecological transformation is our return home to the Earth in the most spiritual and practical sense of learning again to be part of our foodsheds. In the end communing with the Earth through our mode of food is the most direct form of our spiritual communion with the Earth and with ourselves as a whole. Only through the Earth can we become human again.
 
 
 
 
It’s a measure of the decadence of the alienated civilization that “Earth Day” is cordoned off as a discrete holiday. As if we all don’t live at the complete sufferance of the Earth every moment of our lives. As if all the grand towers and fortresses and mausoleums of our civilization, and all our technological self-deification, don’t exist at every moment in an ICU, hooked up and dependent upon every machine while we simultaneously do all we can to pull all the plugs.
 
This self-driven campaign, too, is part of the Earth’s kinesis.
 
 
The Earth is a fount of great abundance.
 
Human ingenuity can render this fount even more abundant. Agroecology is the supreme example, the greatest human accomplishment.
 
Nature’s bounty augmented by human thought and labor provide all that humanity needs and all it can sanely want.
 
The only problem, ever, is human insanity, human depravity, which convinces itself it wants more than the abundant Earth ecologically offers. This has always been the source of almost all human evil and destructiveness. This insanity is pure nihilism, pure loathing of the womb and of oneself.
 
Temporarily aided by the one-off fossil fuel binge, this anti-human loathing of humanity and the Earth has been able to ramify itself in the form of the corporate-technocratic extreme energy civilization. As if their insanity and evil weren’t enough, they even whine that not everyone shows sufficient “gratitude”.
 
On the contrary, it’s these traitors against Gaia and humanity who incarnate the blackest ingratitude, the most capital treason, against all that this wonderful, beautiful, magical Earth has offered us. If only all people had been willing to live in peace, we could all know peace and happiness.
 
 
Ecological history will prevail, and Gaia shall impose the correction she always does in the end. Humanity can participate by building the ecological movement dedicated to all possible action against the productionist-technocratic civilization, to help Gaia take it down.
 
We can best live our thanks to Earth by propagating the necessary new ideas and building this movement. This is the great focus of human life for the next two centuries.
 
On this day of thanksgiving we can thank abundant Earth and consecrate our lives to our gratitude. Earth is the basis of life itself. Only those who choose to march with death deny this.
 
There’s nothing left but to reclaim the land, build the soil, and fight for life. This is the only positive action left in the terminus of the extreme energy civilization where Politics is Dead.
 
This action is the expression of thanks, today and every day. This is the way to make every day a thanksgiving, and to prepare a world where humanity finally shall live its great gratitude in faith, every day, in all the peace, prosperity and happiness Earth’s abundance can provide. That’s why I write, in prospective thankfulness for this coming movement and this coming ecological peace.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Western myth begins with the image of a woman with child in the heavens, the Greek wisdom Sophia, fertility and wisdom. We find the great wisdom at the roots of creation. Her child and the Earth come into being simultaneously along with various notions of an evil dragon. This monster often has been mistaken as Sophia’s misguided creation. This depicts the primordial vision of dialectical conflict unto creation.
 
Human history is the story of the preparation of the Earth for humanity and humanity for the Earth. Before this preparation is complete the Earth must undergo its time of tribulation, first the ravages of the kamikaze campaign of extreme energy consumption, then the unfathomable volatility and turbulence of this era’s collapse and self-immolation, as all the pent up potential, all the physical and spiritual heat and poison this kamikaze civilization has emitted, reaches Kinesis.
 
The time has reached such an extremity of alienation and confusion that few on Earth can read the signs in history and nature, and so humans have conjured religions to interpret the signs. Few have the vision to recover the lost wisdom of the woman who had to flee into the wilderness. But this wilderness is nothing but the fertile Earth, tending itself and waiting for humanity to end our destructive self-exile and come home to our creative work.
 
The visions of Sophia spangle the heavens with the sun and moon and stars. We project these from Earth. As the final star descends, the morning star, its light shall gather all other cosmic lights in itself and glorify them as they continue to shine upon Earth.
 
Light and sight finally shall be liberated here, as we finally understand the mysteries. The new Gaian communion shall prove with light that the only night was in the benighted minds of men. In the new garden there shall no longer be the day vs. night of the mind. The sun and moon and stars shall shine on Earth as before. This shall be the final end of all artificial hate, greed, lusting for power and control, spiritual homelessness. All that’s ecological shall continue the cycle, now fully in harmony, transcending all distinction of natural and artificial, purging all that is anti-ecological and living as one amid the Earth’s now exalted ecology.
 
Thus the trial of perdition, the final judgement of the fossil-fueled technocratic derangement (veritably a malign ghost, a resurrected fossil of evil, a summoned demon), shall be complete, the mystery shall be solved, and from there all which is, was, and is to become, shall become, and shall be, and shall become forever more. The tree of life cycles forever through the twelve seasons, bearing its twelve fruits, and all human stewardship of Earth shall fruit in harmony. The water of life is a river which flows forever. As Greek wisdom has it no one may step twice into the same stream and yet it remains always the same stream.
 
The great vision comes of the air at break of new day, and all creation sings its new song for the new garden. There still must come tribulation from the air. The air of the day must gather and pressurize the power of the heated winds, heated by the oily bonfires of Babylon. When they shall be loosed, as the fossilized technocratic empire loses control, the Kinesis will rage while the vision of the temples and arks range the sky forecasting the flesh and blood and [lignin/chlorophyll] of the new garden which shall sprout. This is the word from air to earth and sea. But there is a tiding of the thunders which shall remain untranslated until the final germination of the garden, whence this too shall resolve to a rainbow.
 
Fire is the great inspiration, fire is the great symbol of tribulation raging as wildfire across the visions, fire is the destructive force Babylon’s bonfires unleash to scourge the world as the empire loses control. Fire shall consume Babylon itself. Fire is the symbol of the ultimate sundering of those who refuse the last call to come home. But as the new garden will flower upon this Earth, so all of hell has been on this Earth and shall continue in the voids within the self-damned. Thus the ultimate fire has been in the minds of men, their raging violence, and so the future lake of fire shall be the soggy ashes in the dead souls of those who refused.
 
The creative fire is the newly transformed light of the new garden. Earth has been cradle and romping ground and home for mind, and shall now resume as home for the soul.
 
The river of life leads the song now sung by all the creatures of creation. The river shall flow forever through the new garden, and throughout the new heaven and Earth. The ocean, primal residue on Earth of the primordial waters before life itself, shall be resumed into these waters. The river still flows on Earth, still flows to the seas that girdle the Earth. All soon shall be cleansed and purified to become as holy water, suffusing Earth as rain and river and sea. These shall bless our crops forever bounteous, shall redeem and restore the ecology of Earth, Garden of Eden, Gaia.
 
But first the age must undergo a great tribulation of water. Babylon sprawls upon many waters and its crimes and poisons surge forth. It shall be destroyed by literal and spiritual tsunami. Humanity must rise up to abolish the poisons and poisoners. The great ecological preparation requires this affirmative act of agency, and Earth shall not forgive the passive.
 
And so humanity and Earth meld, as artist and material, material and artist, to establish the new heaven and new Earth on this very soil. This is the consummation of creation, its transformation. This is the revolution and restoration and renaissance. Humanity and Earth plant the tree of life in this very soil, and secure the trellis of the new garden upon this very rock, the rock of Earth beloved unto all time by all human gods, and our home of Humanity unto all time.
 
The only gods are the gods of the Earth. And let it be blasphemy and the mark of evil to say this sacred rock is not home, and that “we”, meaning a handful of mean and stupid boot-lickers and slave-drivers, still seek a new home somewhere beyond this earth.
 
Humanity has a mission throughout this trial. We must work to prepare the Earth and to start planting our new garden. This is our part in the transformation of creation. We must liberate the Earth, for this is preparation and transformation. We who are called to this mission must work and endure in harmony Earth’s power and the human will transmuted to Gaia’s will which shall bring us through to victory.
 
Paradise is of this Earth. It now shall be established in the flesh and stone and spirit of the true community, the Ecotrinity of Gaia and Humanity and Earth. We will finally know how to use mind and soul in harmony to work amid Gaia’s ecology in harmony. The greatest sin was to embrace the primal sundering, the alienation, the exile. This is what Jesus called the sin against the Holy Spirit. This is the sin that cannot be forgiven because only a willfully sundered soul, in all its deluded depravity, can forbid itself to repent, forgive itself and come home. These who willingly bear the mark of the beast refuse to do so, and so cannot return, and must try to prevent all return by force. This is their main political, economic, ideological, and anti-ecological campaign today.
 
Paradise is of this earth. The Ecotrinity, and the ecological state of mind and soul which accompanies it, is the great and rising idea and spirit at this climax and tribulation of the modern fossil-fueled, corporate demon-ridden, propaganda-exhorted derangement. The false idea of “man vs. nature” is dead and dying, and the false “dominionist” religion, in both its traditional and secular forms, dies with it.
 
The tree of life shall extend its redemptive roots throughout the soil of the newly conceived Earth. Its twelve seasons of fruit shall symbolize the great prosperity of humanity and Earth in the new day. The waters of the river of life shall suffuse all the springs and rains and flows and deep blue seas of the new Earth. Our children and crops and all the plants and animals shall drink of these holy waters.
 
According to Christian scripture the new garden shall not contain a temple, for all Earth shall be a temple. And finally we shall understand what it means to say our bodies are temples. Finally we shall resume living as temples, no longer as coffins. And what we build shall be the bowers and wreaths of these temples, no longer tombs.
 
We shall resume our true heritage as our spirit spreads from the new garden’s model point of light to embrace and combine with the light of the entire Earth. That’s the great promise and goal we aspire to on Earth Day. It commands us to make every day Earth Day, and then for this great aspiration simply to be the living work of each and every day.
 
This is the movement humanity must build. The Earth is calling us home.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

March 24, 2018

Fight the Right Target (Animal Activism Case)

>

For those who truly want to liberate animals, humanity, and the Earth, THIS is the target, not small farms

 
 
According to the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF), animal rights activists launched an action against Long Shadow Farm in Colorado. I haven’t personally been to Long Shadow, but based on the tactics described in the article, the farm’s website and the imprimatur of the FTCLDF it looks like they’re the kind of small pastoral farm which must be the basis of all healthy, humane and ecological animal farming for the Food Sovereignty movement.
 
Therefore it’s an unfortunate clash where animal activists who ought to make their focus the abolition of CAFOs choose instead to target such a small, benevolent operation. Of course from the point of view of the more extreme form of animal welfare, any kind of husbandry automatically is bad. (Though I’ve never heard a coherent prescription from any of them; in my experience the vast majority of animal activists are grossly ignorant about food, agriculture*, economics, and probably ecology as well – for most it’s a typical boutique “cause”, like Prius-driving, luxury vacation-flying “climate activists”.) But even they, if they have any sane sense of magnitude, must agree that a CAFO is infinitely more cruel than a small pasturage. And they must also agree that CAFOs must be abolished, not only on the moral ground that they’re literally the equivalent of the Nazi death camps, but also on critical ecological, agronomic, socioeconomic, and public health grounds, all crises where small pasturages are, at the very least, doing no harm.
 
Therefore I have to question the sincerity and, probably, the physical courage of activists who would duck away from taking on the big corporate target in order to attack the much easier, shall we say softer small farm target. I also wonder another thing. Most animal welfare types display a great enthusiasm for commodity industrial agriculture. Specifically, they usually tout as their “solution” that corporate industrial grains should be used as “food for people” instead of as CAFO feed. This demonstrates a perfect ignorance of capitalism in general and agribusiness in particular, which depends upon CAFOs as the subsidized “demand” for the overproduced grain. This is innate to capitalism and to productionism as such. Conversely, the kind of system which maximizes industrial grain in the first place would never focus on food for people as its goal, since this goal does not serve to maximize power, profit, and destruction. I’ll also observe that such a prescription highlights the activists’ lack of concern for the plight of agricultural workers and the millions driven off their land by these plantations. But like I said, these mostly are white Western liberals who automatically despise unskilled workers, especially brown ones, and who effectively regard the totally dispossessed as not human at all.
 
Given this, I wonder how much of the special animus animal welfare types hold against small pastoral farms is driven, not just by a general belief that any kind of animal husbandry automatically is exploitative and cruel, but by the standard technocratic statist hatred of any activity outside the corporate system, hatred especially for the Community Food sector. In the same way that mainstream food NGOs have more in common with Monsanto than they do with small farmers (especially Southern brown farmers), indigenous peoples, and grassroots democracy activists, so the average Western liberal is likely to hold more in common with big corporate structures as such, including even the CAFO system, than with decentralized, uncorporatized economic systems. Again, it’s no accident that the same who deplore CAFOs tend to move smoothly to exalting the grain and vegetable equivalent of CAFOs, even though the corporate agriculture and food system is an integrated whole, every one of whose parts drives the all the pathologies of the whole. Of course an industrial soy field is an ecological disaster different only in degree from a pig CAFO. The underlying psychological and moral premise is the same.
 
As for the special animus I mentioned, I’ve seen lots of squabbles between small animal farmers and vegan types, including some on both sides of my personal acquaintance. And while grass farmers sometimes do bait animal welfare people, in my experience it’s far more common for animal people to single out small husbandry for special abuse, as if this kind of activity were especially loathesome to them. In that connection, I’ll add that the FTCLDF’s article on this incident was more fair in describing the motivations of anti-cruelty activists, and in giving them credit for their excellent exposures of CAFO horrors, than the depictions of small pastoral operations that I’ve seen in the animal welfare literature.
 
To close where I began, the abolition of CAFOs is a critical human and ecological need for the many reasons I briefly listed above. The community food movement, animal and vegetable farmers, all agree on this. Presumably most animal activists would agree also. That’s why the focus of their action ought to be on the main target and not on a key part of the rising Community Food sector, whose expansion and flourishing is the equal affirmative need corresponding with the great abolition need. Therefore it’s unfortunate where two such important groups conflict.
 
But it’s also unfortunate that many who oppose some notion of animal cruelty seem not to agree on the overall destructiveness and unsustainability of the corporate food system as such. Perhaps many of them usually support that system against any attempt to operate outside it. (We saw how all the food NGOs supported Big Ag’s “Food Safety Modernization Act”.) It seems these are the reasons that the conflict is so largely driven, not by the small farms but by the animal activists. Of course they’d reply that they regard these farms as cruel as well, and probably most of them believe that. But as I described here, only bad faith or a grotesque lapse of proportion could cause them to lose sight of the main goal, the abolition of CAFOs. Certainly if I were an animal activist I’d eat, drink, and sleep nothing but this goal.
 
In the end CAFOs, like the rest of industrial agriculture, are unsustainable and will cease to exist. We who fight to build Food Sovereignty will win in the end, with or without the assistance of the animal welfare movement. It’s up to them to decide whether they’re really part of opposing corporate power and industrial ravage, and whether they really want to help build a human, ecological future, or whether like the climate crocodiles they’re just another stupid self-indulgence amid Babylon.
 
*I used to think agroecology wasn’t sustainable without the supplement of animal manures. Invariably, any alternative I’ve seen touted by animal activists turned out to be based on more or less hidden fossil fuel supplements. The few times I discussed this with vegans or animal activists I told them I was willing to be convinced otherwise, and that researching this question would be a useful thing for them to do. None ever took me up on it.
 
Ironically, the more I’ve researched cover cropping the more convinced I’ve become that with maximal cover cropping and composting, a truly vegan agroecological horticulture probably could work. But I got no help from the vegans themselves in reaching this conclusion.
 
 
 
 
 

January 15, 2018

The Action Spirit of King

>

 
 
In April 1963 Martin Luther King and his fellow Birmingham direct actionists sat in jail. They had expected such a response from the segregationist power structure. It was also predictable that they’d be hearing criticism and condemnation from most of the people who in theory should have been on their side. King anticipated this, and responded immediately with an eloquent refutation and exposure of this collaborator position. This was the Letter From Birmingham Jail.
 
In the letter King refutes those who object to demonstrations, boycotts, sit-ins, civil disobedience in general, those who reject anything but the most lukewarm, “civil” criticism which is guaranteed to remain impotent. He opens up with their standard objection to any real resistance, that it’s “unwise and untimely”. Today this could be the signature of all who are lukewarm.
 
Protest is always timely and wise in the broadest sense. As for the specific timing, we who want humanity and the Earth to have a future must recognize when the time has come, and when today is the day. Our task today isn’t the same as that of the civil rights movement. They sought a specific set of reforms. They were up against an obsolete set of attitudes and practices which for the most part were an embarrassment to corporate power, and the reforms the movement sought wouldn’t interfere with corporate imperatives. Indeed, the end of segregation was put to good political use by corporate power. It has helped render racially astro-turfed divide-and-conquer even more insidious and harder to counteract. It also generated the terrain for anti-political “identity politics”. This isn’t the fault of the civil rights movement, but rather these are crimes of the corporations and the rich and the fault of malingering racists and corporate liberals themselves. But we should be aware of this history of corporate domination.
 
Today we need to abolish poison-based agriculture and transform food production and distribution on the rational, scientific basis of agroecology and the social basis of food sovereignty. We must build this alternative to the corporate agriculture and food system, counter to it where possible, in resistance to it where necessary. This is a permanent necessity whose goal is the eventual complete replacement of this world of waste, bottlenecks, and destruction by a world of socioecological health, well-being, and freedom.
 
We’ll constantly be propagating the need for total abolition. Along the way we’ll encounter many opportunities for the kind of direct action and civil disobedience campaigns King led. We’ll likely have to engage in civil disobedience on behalf of the Community Food movement which the corporate system is trying to repress as an economic and political threat to its domination. Up against these assaults, we’ll often encounter the same sort of opposition, including the opposition King specifically addresses in his Letter.
 

I am cognizant of the interrelatedness of all communities and states. I cannot sit idly by in Atlanta and not be concerned about what happens in Birmingham. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds. You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations.

 
When we speak of the global ecological and human network and the global corporate assault upon it, in particular the global onslaught of poison-based agriculture, we know that anyone who lives as part of Earth can never be considered an outsider anywhere upon it. Conversely, corporations and the hominid functionaries of corporations are purely alien to the Earth, nothing but parasite squatters on the planet’s surface. They never can be considered part of Earth or humanity. They themselves proclaim this with their ugly foreigners’ disdain for what they call “the rock” with its “messy nature”.
 

In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action. We have gone through all these steps in Birmingham.

 
1. The injustice is clear.
 
There’s many reasons to abolish poison-based agriculture. It’s agronomically and environmentally totalitarian. It poisons the soil, all crops and the environment. It accelerates soil, water, air, and habitat destruction. Industrial agriculture is by far the worst driver of the climate crisis. The longer humanity remains in thrall to industrial agriculture, the more abject its dependency shall become, the worse the environmental destruction shall be, and the more profoundly the global ecology shall be chaotically wrought.
 
Poison-based agriculture also is destroying our health. All pesticides cause cancer, infertility, birth defects, organ damage, and autoimmune disease such as allergies, asthma, autism, disease of the gut, and gastrointestinal inflammation which leads to every other kind of disease. These are just the best documented effects. It’s likely GMOs themselves also cause these health harms. Glyphpsate-tolerant crops are nutritionally denuded, and eating the processed foods made from them merely adds to the nutritional deficiency already inherent in diets centered on such “foods” and the many diseases this can cause or exacerbate.
 
The most amazing thing is how all this is over such a pathetic, worthless product. Pesticides and GMOs are shoddy, antiquated, failure-prone products based upon the backward, luddite mental framework of dealing with crop pests and disease with poison. Agricultural poisons and GMOs don’t work for any purpose which could actually help people. GMO yield is poor, no improvement over non-GM conventional agriculture. They require far more pesticides than non-GM conventional agriculture. By helping weeds and insect pests build resistance to pesticides, they generate pest resistance against themselves, uncontrollable by the same poisons which were supposed to be the reasons for having these GMOs in the first place. The ”special” GMOs – those for drought resistance, vitamin fortification, nitrogen-fixing, etc. – are all media hoaxes.
 
These factors build the despair, anger, and the sense of social, political, and economic bottlenecks which are driving the rising global will to rebuild the community food system and abolish the industrial food system.
 
 
2. We the people owe don’t it to those who in principle are our public servants to negotiate with them, but nevertheless we have done so ad nauseum. Citizens have fought for and passed anti-corporate legislation at the local level. Citizens and farmers have filed lawsuits like OSGATA vs. Monsanto. Almost everyone involved with the rising Community Food movement has wanted to do so with the blessing of the power structure and has been appeasement-minded about it.
 
No, we’ve done all we can to negotiate. The fact is, representative democracy itself with its elections were supposed to constitute such negotiations. But this always was a sham. System politicians have done nothing but lie to the people and have never felt the slightest obligation to live up to their promises after the election. Indeed, ideologues of fake electoral “democracy” have explicitly argued that the “representative” has no obligation to his constituents at all after the election is over, but is free to “vote his conscience”. In this case conscience is a euphemism for corrupt personal interest.
 
The “negotiation” failed. We can never have a responsible, responsive, legitimate government in its current form. In his reform context Martin Luther King came to a similar conclusion.
 

As in so many past experiences, our hopes had been blasted, and the shadow of deep disappointment settled upon us. We had no alternative except to prepare for direct action, whereby we would present our very bodies as a means of laying our case before the conscience of the local and the national community.

 
All that’s left to us is self-purification, and then to go out there and do it.
 

You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks so to dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, so must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood.

The purpose of our direct action program is to create a situation so crisis packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation. Too long has our beloved Southland been bogged down in a tragic effort to live in monologue rather than dialogue.

 
This is a direct rejoinder to those who want to keep we the people kettled inside a polity-wide “free speech zone”.
 
King goes on to discuss the change of governmental administrations which never constitutes a structural change. He agrees with the anarchists: Only direct action ever accomplished anything, and it did so with nonviolent force.
 

My friends, I must say to you that we have not made a single gain in civil rights without determined legal and nonviolent pressure. Lamentably, it is an historical fact that privileged groups seldom give up their privileges voluntarily. Individuals may see the moral light and voluntarily give up their unjust posture; but, as Reinhold Niebuhr has reminded us, groups tend to be more immoral than individuals.

We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed. Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

 
We have not only the right, but the obligation, to disobey unjust laws:
 

One may well ask: “How can you advocate breaking some laws and obeying others?” The answer lies in the fact that there are two types of laws: just and unjust. I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that “an unjust law is no law at all.”

Now, what is the difference between the two? How does one determine whether a law is just or unjust? A just law is a man made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God. An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. To put it in the terms of St. Thomas Aquinas: An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law. Any law that uplifts human personality is just. Any law that degrades human personality is unjust. All segregation statutes are unjust because segregation distorts the soul and damages the personality. It gives the segregator a false sense of superiority and the segregated a false sense of inferiority. Segregation, to use the terminology of the Jewish philosopher Martin Buber, substitutes an “I it” relationship for an “I thou” relationship and ends up relegating persons to the status of things. Hence segregation is not only politically, economically and sociologically unsound, it is morally wrong and sinful. Paul Tillich has said that sin is separation. Is not segregation an existential expression of man’s tragic separation, his awful estrangement, his terrible sinfulness? Thus it is that I can urge men to obey the 1954 decision of the Supreme Court, for it is morally right; and I can urge them to disobey segregation ordinances, for they are morally wrong.

 
Today things are even worse than Buber’s “I-it”. Mammon and the corporate technocracy seek to reduce all relationships to purely technical and money relationships. This system does not recognize the existence of human beings, only technology and money. It views all relationships as “it-it.” Corporate personhood and patents on life, two kinds of demon worship, represent the most clear distillations of this.
 
On the contrary, the only relationships are ecological relationships, most importantly to us the relations of human being to human being. Therefore the only just laws would be laws in harmony with ecosystems and interrelating constructively with them, since the only thing which biologically exists are these ecological relationships. Agricultural and ecological pioneers long knew this intuitively and empirically, and over the course of the 20th century science has confirmed it. By contrast, poison-based agriculture, genetic engineering, “intellectual property”, property in land, the corporate-held agricultural system, segregates we the people from our work, from our land, from our food, from our own bodies. The whole ideology of productionism, consumerism, scientism, technocracy, instrumental reason, arises out of a fundamental self-loathing and hatred for the physical earth and the physical human body.
 
The “I and Thou” invoked by Buber and King also signifies the human affinity with the Earth, its natural ecosystems, its soil, its crops, its food, and especially the earthly human labor which indelibly interacts with these. The “I and it” indicates our sundering from all that makes us human, our forced exile driven by corporate agriculture. Alien, anti-human corporations and all that comes from them render human society a destructive and self-destructive parasite squatter on the surface of the earth, no longer a constructive part of it. With every action corporate industrial agriculture expresses its contempt for the earth. It insults the soil as the cradle of all complex life, treating it as nothing but an inert medium. It insults the seed as the universal embryo, treating it as a commodity to be painted, pimped, and most of all controlled. It adds the obscene injury of its wholesale poisoning of the soil, air, water, crops, and environment.
 
Legally and ideologically also this is a surface squatter regime and an obscene alienation of humanity. The land, the soil, the very seed are “owned”, which word we must render in all corporate contexts as controlled and dominated by an alien, anti-human entity. Indeed, a patent on a seed is alienation squared, since the patent is an abominable segregation and sundering of we the people from our common heritage, and it’s “owned” by an alien, anti-human entity whose very existence is also an abomination.
 
Economically as well this is a surface squatter regime and an obscene alienation from humanity. Growing our food is the essential human labor, the core human economic activity, the primary economy, a deep cultural and spiritual endeavor. It’s the main form of our communion with the Earth and our thread of its harmony. We’re now to be alienated from this, driven off the land. For the Western middle class, into spiritual ghettos. For the global South, into physical concentration camps called shantytowns. And soon this bell tolls also for us in the West, as our economic liquidation proceeds and the capitalist era deteriorates to a more brutally direct mode of tyranny.
 
We’re all too familiar with this type today:
 

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

 
Today the “moderate” isn’t an outsider with a shallow understanding, but either a predatory collaborator or a willing part of the prey herd himself. His moderation and lukewarm stance are homicidal and suicidal. He sides with the oppressor against those who would fight.
 
King describes how the inertial mass deplores those who fight as “extremists”, as instigators of violence, and as being too impatient. But these charges are false. It’s the enemy who’s extreme, it’s the enemy who’s violent, and we’ve been far too patient for far too long.
 
But in all the things we do, we aren’t the ones generating the “tension” so unpleasant to conformists. Where it comes to that, we’re merely symptomatic:
 

Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.

 
This is the only path forward.
 
King describes how the early Christians were sustained by their faith and their relentless will against long odds.
 

Whenever the early Christians entered a town, the people in power became disturbed and immediately sought to convict the Christians for being “disturbers of the peace” and “outside agitators.” But the Christians pressed on, in the conviction that they were “a colony of heaven,” called to obey God rather than man. Small in number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be “astronomically intimidated.” By their effort and example they brought an end to such ancient evils as infanticide and gladiatorial contests.

 
The hardest thing is to overcome this feeling of astronomical intimidation. The mission is daunting, and existing institutions can play no constructive role.
 
 

Perhaps I have once again been too optimistic. Is organized religion too inextricably bound to the status quo to save our nation and the world? Perhaps I must turn my faith to the inner spiritual church, the church within the church, as the true ekklesia and the hope of the world.

 
 
This will ring true for us today wherever we transpose it to any institution of the corporate-dominated system.
 
Today in the West the conflict isn’t over de jure slavery (but there’s still much of that worldwide) nor de jure segregation (but land policy is very effective at “segregating” out of existence small farmers who produce food for the community and do so without poisons; and in general we’re all being driven off the land and segregated into ghettos, shantytowns, tent cities, cemetaries), we are being economically destroyed and physically malnourished and poisoned. We are being given cancer. Ecosystems, carbon sinks, arable soil all over the world are physically poisoned and destroyed. New crop deployments based on massive upsurges in dicamba and 2,4-D will turn vast swathes of US cropland into the equivalent of Times Beach, while the “New Alliance” plan to recolonize Africa coupled with corporate-driven climate chaos threatens to turn all of sub-Saharan Africa into a literal desert. Does the Earth have the luxury of the “patience” King discusses here?
 

I have just received a letter from a white brother in Texas. He writes: “All Christians know that the colored people will receive equal rights eventually, but it is possible that you are in too great a religious hurry. It has taken Christianity almost two thousand years to accomplish what it has. The teachings of Christ take time to come to earth.” Such an attitude stems from a tragic misconception of time, from the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills. Actually, time itself is neutral; it can be used either destructively or constructively. More and more I feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than have the people of good will. We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co workers with God, and without this hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right. Now is the time to make real the promise of democracy and transform our pending national elegy into a creative psalm of brotherhood. Now is the time to lift our national policy from the quicksand of racial injustice to the solid rock of human dignity.

 
 
Time itself is neutral, and the flow of time itself has no characteristic independent of what we choose to do with it. Abolitionism is a way of life. It’s not just labor toward a goal, let alone the ideas contained in the goal itself. Most of all it’s a way of life. The goal is most realized in the here and now, every day. This way of life means not only exercising ecology and freedom in any way we can but also fighting for it everywhere we must. This adds to the challenge and striving, but this challenge is the challenge of being human at all. In the context of King’s struggle he was writing of direct action in the most literal sense. Abolitionists of agricultural poisons will certainly have all too many opportunities and needs for such direct action as well. But primarily we rise to the direct action of rebuilding our agricultural and food systems, building agroecology and food sovereignty, propagating far and wide the ideas of these while rejecting the poison systems on a personal and group level and propagating the demolition and condemnation of the ideas of these.
 
The essence of humanity is to take responsibility for oneself within the community and ecology, to achieve power over oneself, to exercise one’s responsibility, combining one’s personal strength in free cooperation with others to build a free and prosperous human community. Only in such a community can we then create the space for the essence of humanity, positive freedom. This is spiritual freedom, creative freedom, political freedom, participatory freedom, ecological freedom. These can exist only on the basis of the cooperative prosperity which affords the time and opportunity for this freedom. Only this deserves the name democracy, and only this can be called in the most profound sense civilization.
 
Today corporate-technocratic barbarians seek to destroy democracy, civilization, agriculture, the world ecology, humanity itself. These barbarians are the opposite of the original tribes raging out of Central Asia. Those were the vigorous barbarians of ascent toward a richer civilization. Today’s barbarians of decadence are rotted and malevolent, ugly and stupid, meanly wicked. Their technology and wealth renders them the most powerful ruling class in history, at the same time that their utter lack of any redeeming quality whatsoever renders them history’s nadir, history’s most degraded, nihilistic, parasitic, worthless ruling class. They represent not a stage of Western Civilization but its final self-cannibalization. This is the end of this pseudo-civilization, for better or worse. The corporate barbarians certainly intend the worst: The full reinstatement of a slave economy, through economic liquidation, debt indenture, and corporate domination of agriculture and food.
 
We can defeat this satanic plan if we redeem from the wreckage of the corporate industrial agriculture system the greatest treasure we’ve won: The consciousness that we the people can feed ourselves and rule ourselves. We can realize and fulfill our freedom, well-being, and strength through full ecological democracy.
 
All we need is to accept this fact, believe in it, take responsibility for it, take action upon it. The true Human Renaissance beckons. This is the same human evolution and salvation for which Martin Luther King fought, for which he sat in jail, for which he wrote a letter from that jail.
 
We shall live up to the standard he and so many other great fighters for humanity have set for us. It’s a very high standard, and the forces ranged against us are powerful and evil. But we can do it. Freedom is ours wherever and whenever we want it. The time is ours whenever we choose it. Our freedom will assert itself as soon as we freely choose to fight for it.
 
 
Propagate the necessary new ideas.
 
 
 
 
 

January 9, 2018

Japan is Buying at the Peak of the Bubble

>

 
 
In spite of the US having temporarily pulled out of the TPP negotiations, Canada, Japan, Australia, and several Asian countries are going ahead (obviously expecting the US to adhere later on).
 
For the sake of tilting at this windmill Japan is scrapping what’s left of its classical public agricultural infrastructure, the same way the US and other Western countries did over the course of the 20th century. In the 1980s globalization’s debt terrorism was used to force most third world countries to scrap their public agriculture systems, as part of the IMF’s “structural adjustments”. India dismantled its system in the 1990s, immediately triggering a suicide epidemic among small commodity farmers which rages to this day. (The US stanched the beginnings of a similar epidemic among American farmers at the same time by greatly increasing Big Ag subsidies, many of which are laundered through the farmers in the form of crop insurance and direct payments. Without this massive planned-economy program of corporate welfare, commodity farming in the US would be economically impossible for the farmers.) Today the corporate “New Alliance” project, spearheaded by the Gates Foundation and USAID for the benefit of Monsanto, DuPont, Cargill, Yara, Unilever and others, is targeting African countries trying to force them to scrap what’s left of their public agricultural systems.
 
 
This a particularly stupid and short-sighted move for Japan at this late date. As the extreme energy civilization enters the era of Peak Oil and energy descent, as climate chaos drives sea-level rise and hyper-destructive Pacific cyclones, and as ecological collapse avalanches, it becomes all the more imperative for every society to wean itself from globalization, especially from commodity industrial agriculture, and to restore its food security on an agroecological basis. This is sanity, while any other course of action is insane.
 
This is especially true for Japan, a country whose classical problem has been to make the most of a small amount of land. The US always has had tremendous leeway to be stupid and wasteful because it was blessed with such a vast abundance of land and resources. Japan has no such cushion. It needs to be smart or perish. So it doesn’t bode well for Japan’s future well-being that it’s choosing now of all times to dismantle its public seed programs and other agricultural programs for the sake of propping up its exports of consumer junk. On the contrary, of all industrialized countries Japan ought to be one of the first to detach its food production from the globalized system and restore it to its natural, rational condition. Food production and distribution naturally and logically is regionally-based, as a rule concurrent with a watershed. Historically only a few luxury imperishables were traded extensively over long distances.
 
The modern era of extreme energy consumption which made it physically possible to globalize food systems has been an ahistorical blip based on the one-time draw-down of the unique, non-renewable fossil fuel hoard. At the same time this era’s obscene insult to the ecology is reaching its breaking point, and wholesale ecological collapse will make all human activities increasingly difficult or impossible.
 
For both these reasons, resource limits and ecological limits, Babylon’s ahistorical binge is coming to an end and soon humanity shall be forced to return to historical patterns whether it wants to or not. That means the relocalization of food production and distribution. At this site I’ve long called for the necessary abolition of industrial agriculture and the transformation to agroecology. This transformation is physically and scientifically possible, right up to the global scale, and lacks only the cultural and political will to do it. Humanity still can choose the agroecological transformation.
 
But there’s no choice as to the ultimate destination. If humanity refuses the route of chosen abolition and transformation, which would be the least hard way, then nature will impose both by force. And this will be the very, very hard way. It looks like Japan is choosing the hardest of all ways, and given its weaker position to begin with, nature’s correction is likely to be hard indeed.
 
 
Propagate the necessary new ideas.
 
 
 
 
 

December 26, 2017

Genesis and Anti-Genesis

<

 
 
The dominant religions of today have their version of the book of life and the lake of fire. They give themselves the false moniker “life sciences”, though theirs is more verily a necrology. We know that the corporate power system and the scientism cult seek to wipe out all natural and humanly crafted ecology and replace these with their centrally engineered technological pseudo-ecology. They do this for profit reasons, reasons of power and control, and out of religious zealotry.
 
Let’s look to their own mythology and self-image. Star Trek II and its sequel featured a technology called the Genesis Device. According to government propaganda it was to be used to seed barren planets and moons with proliferant life. But what if instead of deploying it on a barren planet they fired it into a planet which already had indigenous life? It would be a weapon of planetary genocide and ecocide. Power could have no other plan for it. Even if we grant the mythical “good intentions” at the outset, once all the so-called empty space is filled, action demands that the already-occupied space be re-occupied. This is the fundamental logic of power. History proves that once power is concentrated it can never stop concentrating. Power becomes and remains inherently aggressive the moment it’s allowed to begin the concentration process.
 
This is true at the secular level of the corporate technocracy and at the religious level of Mammon and scientism. Whether conceived religiously or at a more mundane level, the corporation represents the ultimate form of this totalitarian process. It elegantly concentrates all the energies of greed, aggression, powerlust, egotism, sadism, hatred, and places them all at the service of profiteering and power-seeking. In turn, the profit motive is the most purely concentrated sociopathic assault on every value, institution, and physical creature, except insofar as any of these can serve the ends of profit. Profit is the one and only end, money relations the one and only relation. All means, and literally all of existence, are to be judged instrumentally, relative to this end. Corporations, purely sociopathic in principle, obligated in principle to the profit motive and nothing but the profit motive, are the organizational form of this totalizing process. This is the essence of Mammon, and the essence of technocracy.
 
Corporate technocracy has no choice but to completely encompass the globe. By its very nature it can tolerate no limit upon its expansion. Up against any limit whatsoever, profiteering immediately stagnates and soon collapses. It must fully reach the extreme limits of the earth itself, and then dream of going beyond. As Cecil Rhodes put it, “I would annex the stars if I could.” Thus he found the words to express the cancer of the mind which drives all cadres of these cults. Anyone who fantasizes about “getting off the rock” is an enemy of humanity and the Earth.
 
The religious fantasies of interstellar colonization and asteroid mining are pipe dreams. If there were ever enough fossil fuels to seed such a project which would send the likes of Bill Gates, Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump to the stars (anyone who’s not an idiot knows such colonization would be only for the 1% and its flunkeys while humanity dies on its destroyed rock), the system long since has squandered them on more terrestrial luxuries. Alas, these fanatics are stuck with the planet we have, and they must kill and violently die upon it. Expansion, colonization, financialization, the corporate welfare state, these are all attempts at meta-profiteering, the capture of all society and economy within the fictive bonds of Mammon’s tokens, the corporate mark, the hypnosis of propaganda.
 
Mammon is trying to use its globalized economy of phony cash and debt to gather all real assets and resources in its hands. But this too has a strict limit. In the end the earth is finite, and its most important resources, those of food and water, are renewable. These are the essence of the globe’s indigenous cycle of life. Humanity is anchored in this cycle, and when the vicious parasite finally is purged, humanity amid nature shall remain intact.
 
But what if Mammon and technocracy could find a way to destroy indigenous nature and replace it with a proprietary, enclosed pseudo-nature sufficient to sustain some version of hominid life? This would, at one stroke, wipe the slate clean and replace a full planet with an empty one, ready to be recolonized and re-enclosed. At the same time it would prevent the redemption of the Earth and wipe out the final land base for any form of independent human existence. Once we’re forced into dependence upon the corporate Satan for our literal food – first politically, through tyrannical police enforcement of patent prerogatives, and eventually physically, as the seeds will be engineered to render their replanting physically impossible – it will be the end of any human hope whatsoever.
 
That’s the goal of GMO imperialism: To drive out nature itself and replace it with the corporate-marked pseudo-flora and fauna. They intend this to be the death blow to the resistance of humanity and Earth and plan to open up a literal new world for Mammon’s accumulation and domination. In principle this process will be infinitely repeatable, as each genetically engineered “order” is superseded by a new one, much like how Louis XIV would sell titles of nobility, then declare them void and resell them. Repeat as necessary. Each time the globe shall be wiped clean to present Mammon and Science with a blank slate. This will be the final, fullest development of disaster capitalism, which by now is synonymous with capitalism itself. This will be the ultimate harmony of total destructive chaos and total order. This harmonized contradiction is the holy grail of totalitarianism. It is the anti-religion vs. all religion, the anti-science vs. all science, the anti-reason vs. all reason. It will use its pesticides to exterminate all seed of the Garden of Eden once and for all and prevent by force the descent of the New City. It will prevent forever the building of civilization. This is the nightmare and the goal
 
They shall fail and this evil shall be destroyed. Gaia shall destroy them, humanity shall help. The fraudulent anti-miracles of corporate technology such as the pesticide/GMO complex cannot in fact sustain life. They’ve done nothing but fail in every way while subverting all physical health and fertility. This system can lead to nothing but total biological collapse. It would be a race to see what happens first – a catastrophic crop failure and subsequent famine pandemic, or a non-linear health cataclysm suddenly crippling people after years of ingesting these poisons.
 
But this is irrelevant to Mammon and irrelevant to the corporate imperative, which cares about nothing but carrying out its power mission for as long as the corporate-technocratic system exists. Think of the Terminator and its single-minded murderous focus. That’s the character of totalitarian psychopathy in individuals, groups, and organizational forms. Indeed, this appetite for collapse is a feature, not a bug. The system considers the hyper-vulnerability of monoculture in general and GMO monoculture in particular to be desirable. That’s why the system is unconcerned with the strength of Bt- and herbicide-resistant superbugs and superweeds. This always was a desired outcome, since it now escalates biological warfare, requiring the purchase of ever greater amounts and varieties of herbicide and ever more expensive proprietary seeds. Each new GMO generation is more expensive than the failed one it must replace. GMOs were the epitome of disaster capitalism from their inception. We’ve long known that corporate agriculture, via the Big Lie of the “green revolution”, seeks scarcity and disaster, not plenty. Only continuous disaster makes capitalism and corporate domination possible at all. Thus we have the preparation of the GMO Genesis Device, whose goal is to wipe out a flourishing living planet and fill the artificial dead zone with its synthesized “life” whose one and only goal will be to continue the hideous death march of profit.
 
Earth shall destroy them, and humanity shall help. This abuse of ecology and humanity contains its own destruction as it triggers the counteractions of revolution. Politically and ecologically it is unsustainable.
 
The situation is untenable and intolerable. We must, with all organized speed, decentralize, relocalize, and democratize food production and distribution on the basis of agroecology and food sovereignty.
 
 
Propagate the necessary new ideas. Destroy the dinosaurs’ eggs every chance you get.
 
 
 

December 21, 2017

The Dicamba Crisis Part 2: GMO/Pesticides Vs. Evolution

<

The final step would be no plants and therefore no humans.

 
 
Part one, describing the crisis.
 
 
Contrary to modernist religion evolution does not “progress”, but barring extreme events it tends in a linear way toward greater diversity. It doesn’t make great leaps outside of its own limits and laws. This is why scientifically sound agriculture is based on soil-building, biodiversity, attracting beneficial insects and other organisms, and putting natural stress on pests. These are the basis of agroecology.
 
Poison-based agriculture comprises, in theory and practice, the radical repudiation of science and wisdom. Rejecting biodiversity in every way and exalting monculture, it is anti-evolutionary and counter-evolutionary. It seeks to break out of evolution and nature completely and replace these with a technological desert. We see this most clearly with the GMO campaign.
 
One of the core cult faiths of genetic engineering cultism is that the engineers can lift themselves and their product out of the framework of natural evolution, leap over all its processes and safeguards, and superimpose their own anti-evolved, non-contexted product over the entire globe in minimal time. The GMO ideology is based on a technological leaping-out of natural evolution, in the same way technocracy as an order of social engineering wants to leap out of human politics, indeed out of human nature as such. As we see with the unfolding dicamba crisis, the results are likely to be disastrous.
 
 
The networked organisms of the ecological system are always reacting to changes in their environment. Their organic reactions generally sum up to relative stability over evolutionary time, and this is part of the process of evolution. Where a change radically leaps over the dampening effect of evolutionary time including its many safeguards and diminishing feedback loops, especially where this radical change is combined with many other drivers of chaos and destruction, the network becomes overstressed as many component organisms find it difficult or impossible to adapt.
 
Naturally evolving organisms and the conventional crop breeding which necessarily is done within the framework of evolution must encounter the naturally evolved safeguards against mutation and ecological disruption. Changes need time and effort to run a gamut of naturally imposed challenges, or the challenges of breeder selection, to become established. Genetic engineering, on the contrary, aggressively seeks to override these safeguards and leap over these challenges. It seeks to deploy the infected genome in the environment over vast regions as fast as it can. This is such a difference of magnitude, speed, and geographical reach as to comprise a qualitative difference. It seeks to maximize mutations and chaotic effects in the environment, along with the great disruptions the impresarios deliberately premeditate.
 
Black Swan author Nassim Taleb co-authored a paper on the systemic risk of genetic engineering. Genetic engineering has zero in common with conventional breeding, physically or ecologically. The lies and denials of pro-GMO activists with regard to this fact demonstrate their general ignorance of evolution and flippant disregard for its implications. The most extreme manifestation of pro-GM evolution denial is this incapacity or refusal to recognize the great difference between adaptation to a wide range of natural environmental hurdles encountered over evolutionary time, as opposed to seeking to leap over all the hurdles in an instant, with the entire process from genetic extraction to insertion to breeding to distribution taking place in a totally artificial, hermetic, alien, non-contextual bubble, and from there to deploy a biological technology developed in this anti-environmental way all at once on a global basis in the real world. Under such circumstances a rational person would expect nothing but disaster.
 
No one even slightly familiar with ecology, biology, genetics, agronomy, or history could take this seriously for a moment. Any natural allele, mutation, horizontal genetic transfer, must run a long gauntlet of safeguards developed by evolution including the genome’s own repair mechanism, then the greater hurdles of the local environment, and must adapt and spread over millions of years. Farmer selection and conventional breeding have followed such a pattern for 10,000 years.
 
But the genetic engineering technique which has existed for just a few years now claims to supersede these thousands and millions of years. It claims to be able to leap over the evolutionary genetic hurdles using technology. This is impossible. Therefore the genetic engineering project implicitly seeks to maximize the harmful mutations, latent weaknesses, unfit traits, and hazards.
 
Similarly, genetic engineering and the political-economic GMO deployment system claim to be able to leap over the evolutionary environmental hurdles, as well as the geographic hurdles, using economic brute force. This means it wants to spread the infected, harmful genetic and biological material, and the agronomic and ecological destruction which follows from it, as globally as possible as fast as possible.
 
Genetic engineering ideology wants to leap over the entire evolutionary time and action during which all matters of fitness, quality, and toxicity are worked out by nature, or by human thought and labor in conjunction with nature. The hubris and contempt for science on display with these persons is staggering. Genetic engineering has nothing in common with conventional breeding. GMOs can be only a debilitating parasite free riding on conventional breeding and destroying its work.
 
Therefore with GMOs we have a phenomenon where politics and economics meld inextricably with ecology. Ecologists, and those whose science is sculpted by an ecological mindset, are the only scientists qualified to speak about GMOs. Beyond that this technology is fundamentally a political and economic phenomenon. GMOs as deployed in the real world, rather than in the depraved minds of their idolators, have very little to do with science. This renders it all the more ironic when the pro-GM activists go hysterically braying about how even the most modest questions or criticisms are “anti-science! anti-science!” We see the evolution denialism of the pro-GMO activists.
 
 
The pesticide model of agriculture is conjoined with the GMO ideology of technologically leaping out of natural evolution. Pesticides are dedicated to the scorched earth monoculture model of agriculture and the ideology which regards the natural world as something to be wiped out. Poisonism is a radical rejection of biodiversity in principle and practice and comprises the will to wipe out all life except that specially selected to be part of the technocratic socio-ecological engineering.
 
The primary privileged organisms in this anti-evolutionary order are the bacterium A. tumefaciens (used as the main insertion vector in genetic engineering, thus using the engineers for its own purposes) and the proprietary GM crops themselves, along with the corporate persons (dogmatically declared to be “real” life forms) and the few humans who are monetarily wealthy. Ironically, the other main group of life forms privileged under this system are the pests, weeds, and diseases whose eradication is the alleged reason for deploying pesticides in the first place.
 
Corporate industrial agriculture denies weed and pest resistance in principle, even as its monoculture provides the best terrain for these organisms to prosper. (It does the same for rats, now the subject of a pro-CRISPR propaganda campaign against “invasives”; more on how the corporate system deliberately privileges rats for its own purposes in an upcoming piece.) Where forced by reality to discuss resistance, the corporations and media blame farmers for sloppy pesticide application and thus pretend that proper application can forestall the development of resistance. But everyone knows the pesticide treadmill, the endless arms race between the escalation of poisons and the resistance the targets inevitably develop against these poisons, is an intrinsic element of the system. In fact this is deliberate planned obsolescence. Everyone knows that no poison works longer than a few years and then must be supplemented by additional, more destructive poisons. The entire model of agrochemicals and GMOs is based on this malevolent dynamic. Therefore weed and pest resistance is the phenomenon upon which they are completely dependent for their continued profit and power. By contrast, if farmers switched to agroecology and dealt with pests and weeds by balancing them out within the framework of evolution rather than a scorched earth arms race running directly counter to it, agriculture would be far more productive, constructive, efficient, and profitable for the actual growers, and it would be the end of the power of agribusiness.
 
We see the horror this prospect strikes in the minds not only of the corporate operatives and scientism cultists themselves, but of the entire governmental, scientific, academic, and media system. That’s why, in spite of some lip service here and there about mixed systems like integrated pest management (IPM), the only truly allowable response to the patent failure of each pesticide and pesticide/GMO system is to deploy even more and worse poisons. The deployment of the Xtend/dicamba system is in response to the collapse of the Roundup Ready system as glyphosate-resistant weeds make a mockery of even the most copious slatherings of the poison. Dicamba and 2,4-D (upon which Dow’s Enlist system is built) both, Monsanto and the USDA promised in the 1990s, would be rendered obsolete by the Roundup Ready system based on the allegedly less harmful glyphosate. All the weed scientists researching and publicizing the dicamba disaster nevertheless agree that the dicamba deployment is the necessary response to Roundup’s collapse, even as they acknowledge that dicamba inevitably will fail and, implicitly, that the herbicide-tolerance GMO model itself is a complete failure. Dicamba’s revival is just the latest proof. For the corporate-technocratic system the only allowed response to failure is to escalate on proven failure. Poison-based agriculture is the most clear and extreme example.
 
Sure enough, weed scientists already are touting the upcoming corporate poison escalations.
 

Scott talked about the HT3 soybean from Monsanto, a “triple stack” soybean that will tolerate three herbicide chemistries: glyphosate, glufosinate and dicamba. Glyphosate is known commercially as Roundup. Glufosinate is known as Liberty. Scott said these beans may be available as early as 2019, but likely in limited amounts.

“We observed very good pigweed control with these technologies”, he said.

Also on the horizon, possibly as early as 2018, are the Enlist soybeans. Scott said these beans are “only awaiting Chinese approval for their being legal to use in the U.S.”

Syngenta and Bayer are working on HPPD-tolerant soybeans, “which are further down the line.” The timeline for availability may be 2020 to 2023, Scott said, and the beans are likely to be stacked with other traits.

Still, the message was hopeful at a time when current weed management methods are dividing the farm community.

“This is the first time in a long time that I’ve heard the chemical companies say they’ve got some new tools in the pipeline,” he said.

 
And if these are commercialized, just as surely as glyphosate and dicamba before them these too inevitably will fail, causing even more extreme damage along the way. And so they ratchet from poison to poison, each allegedly representing the end of all other poisons.
 
This proves that the system’s mode of action systematically selects for weed resistance (just as the Bt refuge scam and the entire insecticide model select for insect resistance). This is the one and only point of contact between the poison system and evolution. The system denies evolution in principle and claims some magic combination of poisons will overcome it, even as in practice the system intentionally drives the evolution of resistance in order to sustain and increase its own political and economic power.
 
Therefore, just as monocultural cropping provides the optimal terrain for pests and weeds, the pesticide treadmill fosters their accelerated evolutionary resistance to poisons. In the same way dicamba, like all herbicides and like the entire industrial system based on CAFOs and the antibiotic resistance markers used in genetic engineering, drives the evolution of antibiotic resistant microbes. This too must be seen as an intended goal of the system, a way it manipulates evolution even while denying it. This affects most of all those people directly in contact with the herbicides – farmers, applicators, and in the case of dicamba’s atmospheric loading, all people who live in the dicamba zone. Herbicides decimate our microbiome, selectively sparing pathogens and boosting their resistance to antibiotics. The greater the drift effect, the greater the antibiotic resistance effect. Therefore the dicamba deployment, and the entire glyphosate/2,4-D/dicamba campaign, must be placed in the context of the systematic campaign of governments and corporations to wipe out antibiotics as a medically effective treatment. No one who understands and respects evolution could be in any doubt about this goal.
 
 
We understand the insanity of the dicamba GMO crisis. It builds on the failure of Roundup and of the pesticide model as such. It simultaneously denies evolution and drives a specially destructive mode of evolution. Herbicide tolerant GMOs systematically select for weed resistance. Sure enough, dicamba-resistant weeds already are on the rise. The greater the atmospheric loading of volatile dicamba vapor, the faster it’ll drive weed resistance along with every other ecological and health harm.
 
Dicamba’s inherent volatility renders it impossible to control even assuming the greatest care in spraying. Contrary to Monsanto’s lies, all dicamba is volatile including the name brand formulations of Monsanto and BASF. Indeed there’s evidence that dicamba’s volatility is essential to it having any proximate herbicidal effect on weeds in the first place. The more dicamba is sprayed under the warm, humid conditions which cause it to become volatile (i.e., the way it’s intended to be used with the Xtend system), the more the atmosphere in the dicamba zone will become suffused with dicamba vapor and the more completely it will settle over the entire countryside. Under those conditions it will become impossible for any other soybean variety, GM or non-GM, to exist. Farmers will be forced to purchase the few soybean varieties engineered with the Xtend trait. This is Monsanto’s deliberate campaign of biological extortion. (“Xtortion”, as many soybean farmers are calling it.)
 
Therefore Monsanto’s goal is to wipe out all non-Xtend soybeans and attain a monopoly. But that’s just the beginning. We also see the system’s implicit will to destroy vast swaths of vegetables, ornamentals, and trees. However senseless this might seem from the point of view of any textbook profit motive, it’s an expression of the fanatical monoculture mentality which wants to wipe out all natural plant growth and reduce all cultivation to corporate-controlled industrial monoculture.
 
What alternative intent can we infer from the system’s will to escalate the deployment in 2018 after 2017 already proved it so indiscriminately destructive? All USDA and Monsanto projections and proclamations continue to prove that their strict goal is to maximize dicamba’s use and destructiveness. If all goes according to corporate plan, by fall 2018’s seed increase 80% of the commercial soybean seed and 90% of the cotton will be engineered to maximize spraying of dicamba or 2,4-D. Monsanto’s rebate plan for 2018 is further proof that the goal is to attain a complete monopoly over soybean seed, and dicamba’s complete geographical and biological domination, as quickly as possible in order to forestall all social resistance and agronomic alternatives. Any advcacy of full speed ahead with business as usual proves the will to drive out all non-Xtend soybeans and from there all other broad-leaf plants, period. (Meanwhile 2,4-D threatens/promises to do the same for grasses.)
 
We see what an extreme renunciation of evolution’s process and diversity this campaign is. The ultimate monoculture goal is nothing less than to wipe out all biodiversity except for the pests themselves and replace it with a technocratic blank slate. The cultists and operatives first deny evolution in principle, then seek to wipe it out in practice. The goal is to use violence (technological and where necessary conventional) to force their nightmare vision of technocratic “progress” onto natural succession.
 
They cannot succeed because their program seeks to defy evolution. In spite of their pretensions to, as one of their leaders in the Bush administration said, “create our own reality”, they cannot do so. However grim things look right now, their anti-nature, anti-evolution program dooms them to destruction.
 
 
We mammals must wait it out, taking every opportunity to destroy the dinosaurs’ eggs.
 
 
Propagate the necessary new ideas.
 
 
 
 

December 19, 2017

The Dicamba Crisis (Part 1)

>

 
 
Decades of experience prove the model of agriculture based on pesticides doesn’t work and is unsustainable. A rational, honest person would long ago have rejected poison-based agriculture in favor of agroecology. They would have had a “Show Me” attitude toward Missouri-based Monsanto’s proposition that the GMO version of this poison model would be any different, and they quickly would have realized it’s the same failure.
 
That’s how we know support for GMOs, and continued support for pesticides, has zero to do with reason and science. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the case of the resurrection of such herbicides as 2,4-D and dicamba which the GMO paradigm previously declared obsolete. Nowhere is the big lie more obvious than in the case of how dicamba’s new GMO-based escalation immediately precipitated the most acute American agricultural crisis since the Southern corn leaf blight epidemic of 1970.
 
In the 1990s Monsanto rolled out its glyphosate-tolerant Roundup Ready product line of GM crops. One of the big selling points was that glyphosate allegedly was less harmful to human health, the environment, and other crops than dicamba and 2,4-D. Monsanto and the USDA promised Roundup Ready would permanently supersede these bad old poisons. Monsanto and the USDA also promised weeds never would become resistant to glyphosate.
 
As anyone could have predicted and many did, these were both lies. Within a few years Roundup-resistant weeds began to proliferate. Soon the same old arms race was on between ever more commonplace and resistant weeds and escalating glyphosate applications. A few more years and Roundup Ready was in ruins, glyphosate near worthless, glyphosate-resistant weeds on a triumphal march across America’s farmland.
 
Monsanto was lying when it claimed Roundup Ready was the final word on weed control. On the contrary, as per the standard corporate program of planned obsolescence the company developed a new type of herbicide tolerant GMO in anticipation of the obsolescence of Roundup Ready. Monsanto’s new flagship product, designed to rescue the company from its Roundup dependency and lift it to new heights of dominion and profitability, is the Xtend system of dicamba herbicide and dicamba-tolerant GM cotton and soybeans. In 2015 Monsanto put Xtend cotton seed on the market, in 2016 Xtend soybeans. The EPA was uncharacteristically slow and didn’t approve the new Monsanto and BASF dicamba formulations until autumn of 2016. In 2017, in tandem with the new and allegedly improved brand-name dicamba, Monsanto was able significantly to escalate the acreage of Xtend soybean sales.
 
Knowledgeable commentators long forsaw problems. Pesticide drift has always been a problem, and this problem is especially acute with dicamba. Prior to the advent of the Xtend system dicamba was used only early in the season before crops had sprouted and under weather conditions which didn’t maximize its drift potential. As early as 2011 farmers, scientists, and industry figures warned that any large-scale spraying of dicamba under the warm, humid conditions of late spring onward was likely to maximize drift and the damage to other crops and plants this drift would cause. Dicamba kills all broad-leaf plants. Soybeans are especially sensitive to it, but it easily damages and kills most crops, ornamentals, and trees.
 
Right on schedule, as dicamba began to be sprayed during the growing season the drift damage to innocent bystander crops began to be reported. There was significant damage in 2015 and far more in 2016 as the acreage sprayed greatly increased. But this was only the prelude to the full blown disaster of 2017. By May a flood of damage reports was coursing in to the agricultural departments and university extensions of the major soy producing states, especially Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Tennessee. Soybeans everywhere not engineered to be tolerant of dicamba were sustaining often lethal damage, along with peanuts and vegetable crops such as tomatoes, squash, cucumbers, and leafy greens. Arkansas’ largest peach orchard was decimated for the second straight year. Symbolically, the University of Arkansas test plot where researchers were studying the drift potential of name-brand dicamba succumbed to drift and was wiped out.
 
By July Arkansas and Missouri issued emergency bans on further spraying of dicamba, but Missouri quickly backpedaled under Monsanto pressure. The damage reports continued to pile up across more than twenty states. By season’s end weed scientist Kevin Bradley of the University of Missouri tallied 3.6 million acres of non-Xtend soybeans damaged or killed by drifting dicamba.
 
Throughout the destructive year Monsanto ran its standard campaign of denial, lies, and scapegoating. Forced to take some kind of action the EPA announced a voluntary agreement with Monsanto and BASF to impose new certification requirements for dicamba applicators. More substantially, the Arkansas Plant Board unanimously recommended that its existing emergency ban be made policy for 2018, banning dicamba use from April 16th through October 31st. (This proposal is currently in limbo as Monsanto-subservient state legislators are trying to gut the ban. Monsanto also has sued to prevent its enforcement.)
 
 
Dicamba can move off site in several ways. One typical way for pesticides to drift is when applicators are careless about spraying under windy conditions and the poison immediately is wafted away on the wind. This is what is properly called “drift”. But dicamba has a far more insidious and destructive mode of drifting. Under common conditions of warmth and humidity liquid dicamba resting on plants and soil is prone to volatilize, turn into a gas, lift off the surfaces, and float on the air often many miles from the site of spraying before weather conditions change and cause it to resettle on whatever plants are in the vicinity. The more dicamba is sprayed in a region, the more all-pervasive the suffusion becomes. This is called atmospheric loading.
 
Dicamba’s volatility effect is well known. Monsanto and BASF promised that their new dicamba formulations, XtendiMax and Engenia, had solved the problem and would not be volatile. But Monsanto immediately signaled it was lying when it forbade university researchers pre-market access to XtendiMax in order to test it for volatility. They were allowed to test only its herbicidal capability.
 
Sure enough, in 2017 when researchers were able to purchase XtendiMax and Engenia at the store and test it themselves they found that these brand name formulations are nearly as volatile as the earlier cheap formulas. The fact is that all dicamba is volatile. It’s impossible to use it under warm humid conditions, i.e. the way it’s intended to be used under the Xtend system, and not have it promiscuously volatilize, move off site, and kill any broad leaf crops and plants it resettles upon.
 
Many farmers already have filed suit against Monsanto and BASF, as individuals and in class actions, seeking to hold these poison-peddlers accountable and make them pay for the damage they willfully have caused.
 
 
The Xtend/dicamba GMO series is the most extreme manifestation yet of what is typical of all commercial GMOs. They’re pesticide plants designed to escalate poison use and escalate the futile arms race between pesticides and the resistant pests and weeds. This absurd and destructive treadmill clearly is, in itself, the purpose of poison-based agriculture and especially its GMO-based incarnation. The pesticide treadmill ensures incessant product obsolescence, constant escalation of the potency and amount and cost of the pesticides which must be deployed, maximal dependency of farmers on the most artificial, vulnerable mode of agriculture which requires the maximum of the costly inputs supplied by agribusiness.
 
In this way agribusiness consolidates maximum control over farming and the food supply and launches a general assault on the ecology, all toward the goal of maximizing human and ecological monoculture. This is the scorched-earth terrain which provides the best habitat for pest, weed, and disease infestation, and therefore the maximum ideological and political habitat for the power claims of agribusiness, the scientism cult, and all who hate humanity and nature and who seek total domination. Poisonism therefore generates the maximal habitat for the propaganda campaign of lies, fear-mongering, and fraudulent promises that the solution is right around the corner if farmers and society only stay the poison course. This is proven every day in a hundred new articles and press statements from corporations, governments, Wall Street, academia, and the mainstream media, all speaking as one proclaiming that the only solution to the escalating crisis is to escalate the poison.
 
 
This doesn’t cause those of the true faith to falter, because beyond mundane profiteering poisonism is an ideological cult. Monsanto of course has responded with a campaign of lies. They openly deny that brand name dicambas are volatile and instead blame farmers for improper application which leads to regular wind drift, and for using older dicamba blends which are volatile.
 
The response of pro-dicamba activists across the board has been to promulgate new certification requirements and restrictions on how and when dicamba can be sprayed, in accord with the right wind conditions, temperature, time of day, and the right equipment. The EPA’s voluntary agreement with Monsanto and BASF enshrines these kinds of restrictions which allegedly will solve the problem.
 
But the whole notion of new regulations is based on the false premise that volatility isn’t the main cause of the off-target damage. This already has been proven false. The 2017 research demonstrated that no amount of care in the application can prevent dicamba from volatilizing and moving off site. Therefore the entire campaign for new restrictions is conjoined with Monsanto’s primary lie. In other words the entire campaign is bogus, nothing but a sham. As usual, EPA is the lead government propagandist backing up the corporate lies.
 
The most direct proof that these restrictions don’t work comes from Missouri. I mentioned earlier how in July Missouri instituted a temporary spraying ban but quickly lifted it. At the same time it rescinded the dicamba ban Missouri imposed the now standard set of new restrictions on its use. But this accomplished nothing: Within weeks the damage reports surged anew. This is the most proximate proof that the extra regulations don’t work.
 
But then we didn’t need that extra proof. Contrary to Monsanto’s lies, most farmers who spray dicamba do their conscientious best to spray so that it doesn’t spread beyond their farms and damage their neighbors. (Besides, if you’re going to pay to spray a pesticide, of course you’re going to do your best to keep the maximum amount on your site in order to get the full extent of what you think is the benefit.) In spite of this dicamba has drifted promiscuously, in many cases miles away from where it was sprayed. This is in spite of every care taken, and it certainly will continue in spite of any added care short of a ban on spraying past mid-April.
 
This proves that all dicamba is highly volatile and nothing can prevent it from moving off site and killing other crops and plants. Co-existence with the Xtend system is impossible. If dicamba continues to be deployed the way it was in 2017 (and Monsanto is projecting a doubling of the Xtend soybean acreage in 2018, from 20 million acres to 40 million), all soy farmers will have no choice but to buy Xtend GM seeds, while much vegetable farming and gardening as well as the existence of many other plants and trees will become impossible in the soybean zones. This proves that Monsanto’s goal remains the same as it’s always been, the goal it enshrined in what it calls its “Expanded Trait Penetration” program. Monsanto’s goal always is to force farmers to buy as many stacked GM traits as possible. Xtend is the most extreme version yet of this program. Monsanto’s goal is to extort all soybean farmers, under threat of the drift destruction of their crop, into buying the Xtend seeds and the XtendiMax herbicide (along with Roundup; Xtend is tolerant of both dicamba and glyphosate).
 
 
We see their wickedness. The dicamba crisis is the epitome of all that’s bad about GMOs as such and herbicide tolerant GMOs in particular. Agronomically this system shackles farmers to a destroyed soil and weak, denuded crops which constantly must be goosed with fertilizer, irrigated water, and an ever greater slathering of pesticides. It drives the monoculture of crop varieties as Monsanto seeks its goal of forcing seed growers to increase and farmers to buy only the few varieties into which the Xtend trait has been crossed, as only these will be viable in an atmospheric zone suffused with dicamba vapors. Weeds are guaranteed to evolve to resist dicamba, indeed already are doing so. This will require an even more complex, expensive, toxic brew to be deployed. Sure enough, in 2017 the corporations already were touting the poison plants slated to replace Xtend in a few years.
 
Socioeconomically the herbicide tolerance GMO model is designed to destroy hand-weeding jobs and force farm consolidation by driving out smaller farmers and rendering giant plantations more easy to manage. In this way agribusiness works to attain domination over farming. The fewer and bigger the farms, the easier they are to control.
 
Ecologically this poison-based monoculture wipes out habitat for monarch butterflies and many other animals and plants, kills honeybees, and directly poisons the soil, water, and air, causing havoc among these ecosystems. During spraying season humans and animals continually breathe the atmospheric load of vaporized dicamba. This aggravates dicamba’s known irritant effects on the eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. Dicamba causes cancer and birth defects. We can expect to see a spike in birth defects in the dicamba zone in 2018. Along with glyphosate and 2,4-D dicamba, as a grossly abused antibiotic, drives antibiotic resistance among many strains of harmful bacteria, thus contributing to the general campaign of corporate industrial agriculture to wipe out antibiotics as a medically effective treatment.
 
These crises are endemic to massive herbicide use in general. Dicamba, by spreading beyond where it’s sprayed to a far greater extent than other herbicides, represents a great escalation of all the crises of agronomy, farm economy, ecology, and public health.
 
 
The system offers no solution, whether it be to the acute dicamba crisis or the general chronic crisis of corporate industrial agriculture. Even the weed scientists who have been doing the volatility research, tallying the destruction, and sounding the alarm offer nothing but the meek suggestion that poison use, while “necessary”, should be reformed and limited. In a mass manifestation of Stockholm syndrome damaged farmers still say the same. But the scientists’ own research demonstrates that the standard reforms can accomplish nothing, while the corporations will never accept such limits. Even as Monsanto pretended to endorse the EPA-brokered voluntary agreement it continued defiantly to assert there should be no restrictions beyond its own label.
 
Nothing within the system can meet the challenge of a crisis inherent to the core premises of the system itself. Poisonism has no future. The only way forward for weed and pest control is soil-building combined with organic pest management. The health of the soil, so ravaged by industrial agricultural practice, is the foundation of all sustainable agriculture and agriculture’s entire future. Everything else is a footnote.
 
Only a new movement built completely from outside the corporate agriculture system can meet the challenge of the day. This movement must be based on the rising ecological, agronomic, cultural, spiritual paradigm centered on the necessary transformation to agroecology and food sovereignty and the necessary abolition of poison-based agriculture.
 
 
We started by pointing out that anyone motivated by reason and the scientific mindset would long ago have concluded that poison-based agriculture doesn’t work, does far more harm than good, and should be rejected in favor of agroecology. They would have been skeptical of GMOs based on escalating this already disproven agricultural model. They would’ve found quickly that the GMO version of this model is no different and simply intensifies the same failure while rendering it even more destructive.
 
The continued denial and defense of the dicamba outbreak on the part of the pro-poison activists proves that for today’s cultists reason is the last thing any of them care about, and actual scientific evidence a close second to last. It proves that support for GMOs has zero to do with reason and science and everything to do with religious/ideological wingnuttery, where it’s not just a gutter profiteering motive. They have proven this true with every step of the genetic engineering deployment. Nowhere is this better demonstrated than the way they’ve seized upon the collapse of Roundup Ready, by any rational measure a catastrophic discrediting of the entire GMO and pesticide paradigm, as an opportunity to exalt an even more destructive poison product, one which they themselves started out promising Roundup Ready would render obsolete, and whose doom at the stems and vines of the same resistance-evolving weeds is already on the horizon.
 
The already disastrous advent of the dicamba GMOs, and the fanatic will of the GMO cultists to push forward such an insane, disproven, short-sighted, destructive project, is the best proof that the scientism/technocracy cult, just as much as the poison corporations, is the enemy of humanity and the Earth. Humanity must organize against this cult as surely as against the corporations themselves, as a key part of the corporate totalitarian cabal against humanity and the Earth. The ecocidal and genocidal monoculture aspiration of this cabal is self-evident, as is clear from the dicamba onslaught.
 
 
 
 
Older Posts »