Volatility

October 5, 2019

Cause the Problem, Sell the (Fake) Solution

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GMOs help cause this and cannot help fix it

 
 
As climate chaos worsens, over most of the world drought tolerance will become an ever more critical trait for food crops. Conventional breeding on a regional basis for agroecological horticulture is the great need and is proven to be the only framework which is effective. Industrial agriculture is doomed to collapse for any of all of its many intrinsic fatal flaws: Fossil fuel dependency; fossil water dependency; fossil phosphorus and potassium dependency; soil toxification, malnourishment and physical erosion; the destruction of the genetic base of crops; the rising strength of pests and diminishing possibilities for combatting them; global heating which suppresses more yield for every degree of temperature rise; the general collapse of the ecology upon which monoculture agriculture is completely dependent. Corporate crop varieties geared to commodity production are developed for a system which has no future and offers no guidance for what needs to be done.
 
Even within the industrial commodity framework conventional breeding is proven to be superior to genetic engineering in every way, especially where it comes to agronomic traits like drought tolerance. Here the record has been clear for many years: Conventional breeding works and GM does not.
 
As is typical, most governments have not listened to the facts or conformed to reality, and so subsidies, regulatory approvals and mainstream media propaganda campaigns have emphasized GM drought tolerance as yet another way GMOs are going to “feed the world”, however much of a lie that is in detail and overall.
 
GM-based drought tolerance has been a special feature of the propaganda for the Monsanto-Syngenta-Gates Foundation colonial assault on Africa. Several African governments have approved these corporate products for cultivation in spite of their proven agronomic inferiority and socioeconomic and ecological malignity.
 
So it’s a significant victory for food sovereignty, democracy and deep ecology that the South African government has rejected Monsanto’s application to commercialize one of its so-called “drought tolerant” products:
 
“After more than 10 years of battling Monsanto’s “bogus” drought tolerant maize project, the African Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) has welcomed the decision by the Minister of Agriculture, Ms Thoko Didiza, upholding the decision by the Executive Council: GMO Act and the appeal board to reject Monsanto’s application for the commercial cultivation of its triple-stacked “drought-tolerant” GM maize seed.
 
This landmark decision is a win for the ACB and other civil society organisations on the continent that have resisted the introduction of these GM varieties in South Africa, Mozambique, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
 
The Minister’s decision was made following the failure of the GM varieties to increase yield under drought conditions during repeated field trials in South Africa.”
 
The notion of “drought-resistant GMOs” is one of the most common PR scams found in pro-GMO propaganda. Along with similar hoaxes like golden rice and the GM Kenyan sweet potato, the purpose of the drought-resistant GMO trope is to misdirect attention from the fact that GMOs were created for no reason other than to sell poison. The two kinds of GMOs which actually exist on a significant economic level are those tolerant of herbicides, and those which generate their own Bt insecticidal poison in every plant cell. These also consistently fail in the field.
 
Drought-tolerance, on the other hand, along with traits like real pest and disease resistance, salt tolerance, improved nutrition, and improved nitrogen uptake, is solely the province of non-GM conventional breeding. This breeding, like any other, builds upon the accumulated work of thousands of years of farmer breeding, a collective human heritage. This status was reinforced in the 20th century, as all significant modern crop breeding was done using public money. Anything corporations do with this heritage is at most a minuscule contribution to a monumental and ongoing collective human project. That’s part of the reason it’s morally and rationally impossible for seed patents to have any legitimacy.
 
At best modern commodity breeding is a person standing on the shoulder of a giant. This “at best” is 100% within the realm of non-GM conventional breeding. A “drought-resistant” GMO, on the other hand, is nothing but a drought-resistant conventional variety which has one or more of the poison-enabling transgenes inserted. Thus we have the conventionally drought-resistant variety with an added Roundup Ready and/or Bt trait extraneously added. This then fraudulently is called a “drought-resistant GMO.”
 
The corporate GMO propaganda sounds especially bogus when we take into account the fact that of all economic sectors the industrial agriculture/food system is the primary driver of the climate crisis. Any big corporation, especially an agribusiness concern, which offers any sort of product touted as part of climate mitigation or adaptation, is engaging in straight disaster capitalism, seeking to profit off the crisis they themselves take the lead role in driving and having caused in the first place.
 
They [agribusiness] cause the problem [industrial agriculture is #1 driver of the climate crisis which is driving changing chronic drought and extreme drought events], then want to sell you the solution [drought tolerant maize], which doesn’t even work [the technology fails to produce greater yield under drought conditions] and is harmful in itself [as a typical GMO it drives escalated pesticide use; drives the crisis of antoibiotic resistant bacteria (ABR) through its use of a antibiotic resistance marker in the development process, as well as contributing to herbicide-driven ABR ; GM-driven mutations are never legitimately tested for safety].
 
Such “solutions” based on profit-seeking product and hi-maintenance technology also work to reinforce the technocrat ideology, that drought and farmer dependency aren’t socioeconomic and political problems but purely technical ones to be solved only by technology deployed by technocrats. But again this is precisely the mindset that has caused and driven the crises all along. No part of this framework can ever be anything but counterproductive and destructive, just as there can be no constructive action which doesn’t include rejecting and breaking free of this framework.
 
 
This particular example is typical of the overall economy and civilization which causes the climate crisis and general ecological crisis, then wants to sell you the solution of “green” capitalism, green hi-maintenance tech, technocratic carbon-trading schemes and “carbon neutral”, “offset”, “zero net carbon” regimes. These are solutions which don’t work (for over thirty years they’ve been deployed in various places and invariably are proven to be failures and often scams; overall emissions keep rising and accelerating their rate of rise, atmospheric carbon keeps rising and at increasing rate, deforestation and ecocide continue to rampage, often with the direct encouragement of climate policy as in the case of the Paris accord’s drive to accelerate deforestation by escalating subsidies for burning of wood pellets for electricity, biofuel, and heating*, aka the “biomass” scam/atrocity; plus the whole concept of “industrial renewables” is a fraud in that it remains completely dependent upon a fossil fuel foundation) and are harmful in themselves (industrial fake-renewables directly require massive mining destruction, poisoning of water and the environment, and then the electricity is put to harmful uses; hydroelectric generation is founded upon the enslavement of rivers and massacre of river ecological communities, most notoriously wiping out salmon; the whole concept is designed to prop up the inherently ecocidal economic system).
 
We see the overall recursive pattern. From the grandest “Green New Deal” perspective to the nitty-gritty detail of a particular product like Monsanto thirst-corn, this system offers nothing but malign scams designed to prop up profitable cancer/growth capitalism and herd the sheep away from real ideas and real work for the good.
 
There’s an endless number of such scams. They cause the problem then want to sell you the snake oil, while slandering and where possible forcibly suppressing the real cure. In the case of the climate crisis this means:
 
End all industrial emissions; stop destroying carbon sinks; allow all natural sinks to resume their natural ranges.
 
Food has to be grown on the basis of agroecology and distributed in accord with food sovereignty.
 
All else is a lie.
 
 
*Heating is done effectively in a low-impact way through passive solar and using the underground as a thermostat. Industrial electricity and fuel are inherently ecocidal, there is no sustainable or “eco-friendly” way to produce or consume them, we don’t need them, and would be better off spiritually and socioeconomically without them.
 
 
 
 
 

March 15, 2019

Gaia Makes the Berserkers Insane: They Destroy Their Own Medicines

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Those who Gaia would destroy she first makes insane.
 
A recent study describes how antibiotic and pesticide resistance are exceeding “planetary boundaries”, points of no return. As I’ve written in scores of pieces, these resistance treadmills are fully deliberate effects of poison-based agriculture. In particular, the complete destruction of antibiotics as a medically effective tool is a deliberate goal of modern civilization. All civilized actions prove it.
 
Here’s further proof from the link above:
 
In addition, increasing efforts to fully eradicate bacteria and pests is likely to make matters worse. Instead, new strategies are needed that promote the growth of bacteria and pests that are susceptible to pesticides and antibiotics, at the expense of those with resistance……These strategies are urgently needed as complements to development of new antibiotics and pesticides.
 
Almost all scientists and engineers are morbidly stupid. Here for the nth time going back to the 1950s we have further proof that the pesticide model of agriculture does not work. But as always the recommendation isn’t to abolish poisonism in favor of agroecology, which means to promote soil and field biodiversity which boosts beneficial organisms at the expense of pests, but to find some way to prop up poisonism just a little bit longer, to keep destroying the Earth and humanity as long as possible, to build the Tower of Babel higher.
 
We see this everywhere. Why is civilization determined to push poisonism and ecocide to the ultimate while it ignores and denounces actual solutions? The obvious proximate answer is power and profit, the deeper answer is Dominion theology and the technocratic ideology which goes with it, and the elemental sources of these. The “civilized” have zero thought patterns beyond their fundamentalist “belief”. It’s a modern civil religion with deep roots in prior monotheism. Together those proximate and profound imperatives are against anything decentralized, low-impact, low-dependency. And therefore against anything which could work, since their system depends upon reiterated failure and disaster in order to keep accruing power, to keep metastasizing as a literal cancer on the Earth (aka “growth”). The basic evils are monoculture and commodity as such. Like all industrial agriculture these cannot be redeemed at all nor should they be.
 
 
1. All complex life based on nucleated cells evolved from bacteria and remains connected with and dependent on bacteria. All complex traits including all human traits: Respiration, the cell nucleus, endosymbiosis within the cell, microbiome symbiosis throughout our bodies which is essential for all our physiological systems. Our brains are offshoots of our internal bacteria and remain appendages of it. We are 100% dependent upon microbes and plants for our food: We can’t manufacture a single nutrient ourselves. This is the congenital and permanent condition of hominids. And there’s never been a more totally helpless, totally dependent, inherently parasitic creature which contributes nothing but its own rotting tissues after it dies, than civilized hominids.
 
(Here’s some Elementary Notes on Bacteria.)
 
2. The primary mode of genetic exchange among bacteria is horizontal transfer of genetic information between cells. This exchange is most direct through closely related forms, and indirectly the information can be transferred along a chain of bacteria so that it quickly moves between officially unrelated species. This information network keeps our microbiome in constant communication with all the bacteria surrounding us, and the microbiome in turn communicates this way with our endosymbiotic cells.
 
3. Mob actions of humans, including the civilized mob, arise from bacterial imperatives. We are driven by the bacteria which first evolved our brains out of themselves and the bacteria of our microbiome which continue to influence human brains. This includes our religious, cultural, and political mobs. It includes our economic mobs, such as the mob action which makes the monstrous lurch from working for personal and community need and use to working to produce commodities.
 
4. It was precisely these worthless spoiled brats which rebelled in blackest ingratitude against their creator and sustainer. They forsook their nurturing trees, sundered themselves, launched a campaign of enslavement and extermination against the trees; blasphemed against the bacteria which had bequeathed to them all their necessary traits and which continued to administer those traits, slandering bacteria as “germs” which cause disease and launching a sterilization campaign against them.
 
Blackest of all they declared total war on Gaia herself. Man vs. nature in a total war of extermination. This is the Dominion theology, first extruded from ancient monotheism and carried as a poison torch into modernity by Neochristian science and technocracy.
 
The great irony is that the modern form of the Dominion crusade has systematically selected the worst microbial pathogens as its primary allies in its doomed war on the Earth. More accurately, a few strains of bacteria – botulins, salmonella, E. coli, staph – have selected the civilized Dominionists.
 
5. Governments, corporations, academia, the STEM establishment, media, and Western voters are decades into a systematic campaign to drive the evolution of bacterial resistance to antibiotics and to wipe out antibiotics as a medically effective treatment. This is one of the most perfect examples of self-destructive action amid the delusions of dominion. Those who Gaia would destroy she first makes insane. These few strains of pathogenic bacteria temporarily benefit though they’ll soon kill the host. The host hallucinates the alleged benefits of the war and is driven berserk by the compulsion, forced by the selected bacteria, to wage this war.
 
6. Some bacteria have been potential pathogens throughout the human experience. But only in late modernity have they become a primary Gaian vector against this berserk infestation called modern civilization. The berserkers themselves consciously have chosen this doom, through their most cherished religion – productionism, monoculture, scientism, technocracy, Mammon – and most cherished infrastructure – soil-destroying industrial agriculture, factory farms, pesticide factories, genetic engineering labs, science classrooms (as well as garages and basements).
 
These are the main strategies and tactics civilized hominids deploy in order directly to nurture privileged bacteria (Agrobacterium tumefaciens and the pathogens selected for antibiotic resistance by factory farms, pesticides, and genetic engineering), foster antibiotic resistance in privileged pathogens, and suppress beneficial bacteria. And then these selected bacteria communicate their drug resistance as globally as they can.
 
(Note that the boot-licking techno-wingnuts and proxxer lynch mobs have zero to say about this systematic campaign to wipe out antibiotics, because they know this campaign is driven by their government-corporate masters, and more deeply they are driven by the same bacterial control which controls these structures of modern civilization.)
 
Those who Gaia would destroy she first makes insane. There’s no way to view agriculture’s systematic antibiotic overuse campaign other than as a deliberate campaign to wipe out antibiotics and cause lethal pandemics. Hominids which do this or support it or tolerate it are disease vectors, Typhoid Marys, rabid dogs which need to be dealt with as such. They are controlled and driven by the physical germs whose epidemics these social structures and actions are designed to maximize.
 
7. This de jure antibiotic resistance campaign joins the general diffusion and maximizing of pathogens and epidemics driven by war, globalization, commodity agriculture, deforestation, climate chaos and global heating. It shall be a lead mechanism of Gaia’s Kinesis, her primary acute weapon and mode of inducing self-destruction among the berserkers. We are witnessing the collective suicide of the berserker civilization, in this way and many others.
 
 
 
 
 
 

January 12, 2019

Suicide With a Silver Bullet

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The Extreme Energy Civilization and all its technology boils down to a gun at the head of the Earth and humanity. Today the cultists promise a silver bullet in the head

 
 
Ecological humanity must venture beyond equivocation or compromise in our permanent rejection of the Extreme Energy Civilization, productionism-consumptionism, Mammon, capitalism, corporate rule, technocracy, and the big lie that high-maintenance technology is in any way necessary or can be a “solution” to any of the existential crises of the Earth being compounded by this very civilization. It’s necessary to burn our bridges, make a clean sweep.
 
Pre-existing obsolete political groupings, including self-alleged “radicals”, usually regress to mainstream technocracy and productionism, especially where it comes to utopian, counterfactual techno-cults. The entire left-right political spectrum is a spectrum of various styles of technocracy, and almost everyone on this spectrum, however far apart they may play at being on that left-right axis, are at the same point where it comes to technocracy, production-consumption and therefore, at least implicitly, corporate rule.
 
A brief review of the reasons to reject the idea of high-maintenance technology:
 
1. It’s physically unsustainable (energy). Fossil fuels are finite and cannot be replaced. Here the techno-cult comes to the temporary psychological rescue with castles in the sky. Only counterfactual, fundamentalist-type cults still babble that “technology will save us” when we reach the point of needing to replace fossil fuels.
 
2. It’s physically unsustainable (the environment). Even if it were possible to replace fossil fuels, this would only ensure maximum destruction of the Earth’s ecology. Humanity would force itself literally to extinction, since the elites and all who follow them are like a collective heroin addict presented with a massive pile of dope. They’ll never stop short of total death, ecocide-genocide, collective murder-suicide. They’re kamikazes flying their silver bullets into Gaia’s temple. If the energy is available, they’ll be maximally destructive and ultimately self-destructive with it. While Gaia eventually will recover at a new phase state, humanity would not. So this is a purely malign wish. In reality it’s physically impossible for reasons of the physical limits of energy and ecology. But that won’t stop every kind of scammer touting every kind of silver bullet, from electric cars to “biomass” to “climate-smart agriculture” to geoengineering. I write to counteract this propaganda and to find others who will help counteract it, since even trying to put these scams into action will be tremendously destructive of the environment and human society and will waste vast amounts of time and effort we don’t have to waste.
 
3. Technocracy is inherently elitist, hierarchical, authoritarian, and requires the rule of a secretive priesthood operating according to rules and laws inscrutable to the people and kept as secret as possible, as systematic policy. Any technology which is sufficiently complex and which requires globalized supply lines is therefore inherently elitist, hierarchical, and authoritarian. History gives complete proof of the ecological and social evils of such structures.
 
4. Just on its own terms, we already know this kind of technology doesn’t work for any human purpose. All the main gains for food production, public health, basic physical and spiritual comfort come only from low-maintenance technology deployed according to the right humane, ecological ideas. High-maintenance technology, at best, always exists within the realm of steeply increasing costs to produce steeply diminishing returns. In practice high-maintenance technology never has been deployed under any best-case scenario, in accord with any good ideas. On the contrary it always has been deployed for the worst: Productionism-consumptionism, capitalism, corporate personhood, militarism, scientism, technocracy. The diminishing returns have have been monopolized by the ever-smaller elite class. The escalating environmental and social costs have been borne completely by the Earth, by the poor, by the global South, increasingly by everyone but the elites. Most profound of all, we know the technological civilization has not made us feel sane, secure, or happy. People are at least as anxious, fearful, insecure, angry, and depressed as ever. The magnitude of these is worse today than prior to modernity. High-maintenance technology has not increased prosperity, health, or happiness. By now it has reached the point of doing active harm, being actively destructive. We have cancer and we are sterile. We decay. We rot.
 
The only way forward, the only sapient and spiritual human way, the only way biologically and physically open to us, the only way Gaia leaves open, is the way home to the Ecological Renaissance. Earth will abolish the evils of the Extreme Energy Civilization, the productionist death march will come to an end, no longer will there exist physically toxic commodities for corporate profit and power with only poisoned food trickling down from this regime, corporate poison-based industrial agriculture will collapse forever and we’ll resume wholesome food, wholesome air and water and light, restoration of the whole where we once enjoyed existence and essence as one. Tomorrow and yesterday revolve as one. Today is only a nightmare. The orcs in our nightmare who rampage, committing mass murder and mass suicide, are nothing but verminous figments of nightmare who shall cease to exist as Earth awakes. That finally shall be the human morning as well.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

January 1, 2019

Carbon Sinks

Filed under: Agroecology, Climate Crisis, Food and Farms — Tags: , , — Russell Bangs @ 12:18 pm

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Far more carbon is stored, “sunken” in the soil than in the atmosphere and in all living bodies combined. Whenever forest or grassland or wetland is destroyed, and the soil dried out or ripped up, vast amounts of this sunk carbon is released into the atmosphere. (Wetlands destruction is one of the main sources of methane emission; methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.) In the same way, to destroy a natural community like a forest or grassland or wetland and replace it with any kind of monoculture or suburbia always means a great emission of carbon contained in the natural network of organisms compared to whatever threadbare monoculture is imposed in place of that network. That’s in addition to all the emissions from the industrial infrastructure within which systems like industrial agriculture are ensconced.
 
(For industrial agriculture: Mining, transportation, oil- and gas-based inputs, farming machinery, transportation, commodity machinery, transportation, food manufacturing, transportation, retailing, transportation, preparation in the residence. We can trace a similar oil/gas/coal infrastructure for industrial “renewables” like wind and solar.)
 
So all “carbon-neutral” claims for industrial systems superimposed over the destruction of natural ecologies are lies. In every case huge amounts of carbon which were sunk in the ground and in natural biomass are emitted to the air, and whatever is imposed in place of the natural order sinks or incarnates only a fraction at best of what the natural ecology used to sink and incarnate.
 
The way to reverse this is:
 
1. Stop destroying what little forest, grassland, wetland still exists. This will halt the destruction of sinks.
 
2. Let these resume the habitats where they naturally would prevail. This will begin to rebuild natural sinks.
 
3. We must transform food production from industrial commodity agriculture which destroys sinks and produces only corporate commodities, from which food for people is then supposed to “trickle down”, to agroecological horticulture.* Organized according to food sovereignty and using agroecology we the people grow abundant wholesome food for ourselves and our community and region, not commodities for globalization. We do so in harmony with natural processes and on the ecologically right kind of land. We disturb the environment far less while producing far more food per acre in terms of both calories and nutrition than industrial monocultures. We use the science of building the soil both for improved food growth and to incorporate the greatest amount of soil organic matter. We can grow food in this way which is truly carbon neutral and even help sink more carbon. The industrial agriculture implicitly or explicitly supported by the whole green capitalism crew never could do this. Quite the extreme opposite.
 
 
*The sustainable mix includes agroecology, forage, community-based livestock pastoralism (never commodity-based or industrial, which is never sustainable), community-based hunting and fishing (never commodity-based or industrial, which is never sustainable).
 
 
 
 
 
 

December 24, 2018

Green Deal, Big Deal, Same Old Deal

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Feel the burn

 
 
Why is the green deal a scam? Because like every other corporate “solution” it assumes productionism, consumerism, capitalism, industrial electrical generation and consumption (the great majority for industry), and the dominion of The Car. George Bush said the proper response to 9/11 was to Keep Shopping. And today’s climate scientists, Big Green NGOs and “progressive”/”socialist” politicians say the proper response to the climate crisis is to Keep Shopping. More and Better Capitalism. And of course Keep Driving.
 
But these are the very things driving the ecological crisis. More of the same ecological assaults cannot result in anything but more of the same ecological destruction.
 
There is one and only one way to avert the worst of the climate crisis:
 
Stop industrial emissions; stop destroying sinks; rebuild sinks.
 
And this is the only way to avert the worst of the general ecological crisis.
 
But all corporate system “solutions”, including the “green new deal”, propose to continue massive emissions (industrial “renewables”, to give the most egregious example, can exist only on a foundation of fossil fuels and are ecologically destructive in themselves), continue the massive destruction of sinks (one of the main purposes of the Paris scam was to enshrine the carbon-hemorrhaging “biomass” assault as a system-legitimated climate action), and pay only the most modest lip service to rebuilding sinks.
 
 
(Check out Bernie Sanders’ “Feel the Bern” website for a typical example of all this: Lip service to “family farming” alongside proclaimed support for the centralized corporate poison-based agriculture which is the #1 driver of the climate crisis. (Support for industrial agriculture automatically makes one a climate denier.) He proclaims his support for GMOs (and therefore for the entire pesticide, consolidation, and commodity speculation paradigm) and regurgitates several of the standard canned lies about them. Lip service to the climate along with support for the biomass assault and other scams, and of course support for the military which is a massive emitter. (I didn’t see the military mentioned anywhere on Bernie’s climate pages. Nor do any other green new deal advocates ever seem to acknowledge how the climate crisis and the US military are inextricably conjoined.) Meanwhile elsewhere he’s babbling idiotically about NASA and space travel. There’s just a few typical examples of the typical climate crocodile. With this kind of ideology, the climate will feel the burn all right.)
 
 
 
 
 

December 15, 2018

The Basic Ecological Flow of Modern Civilization

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Over the long run the ecological measure is the one and only real measure for life on Earth. All the artificial measures of Babylon which currently seem so powerful, which often seem even to have superseded the measure of life itself, are ephemeral. The best example is the most extreme example. The fakeness of money, which through global financialization claims to be the most granite reality of all, is just the most extreme fakeness of a civilization whose adamantine towers are always just one breeze away from toppling. These measures of rock built on sand are measures only for the very short run, however long that seems to the victims, and to we ecological dissidents.
 
And so ecology is the only reality-based measure. What’s the basic ecological cycle and flow of modern civilization?
 
1. Extract fossil fuels (and fossil water, fossil phosphorus, minerals, everything which can be exploited for productionism), mine all “resources” (anything and everything including human beings is nothing but a resource), theoretically renewable or not, such that it renders them non-renewable.
 
2. Put all this into motion as aggressively, chaotically, destructively as possible. (Their ideologues call this “creative destruction”.) Force everything and everyone to participate in frenzied action to no purpose. What is the ecological purpose of any action characteristic of civilization? None whatsoever, other than destruction for the sake of destruction. Damage, ravage, poison, destroy the ecology. From the point of view of ecology, the only reality-based measure, almost all civilized hominid action serves zero purpose but destruction.
 
A simple ratio demonstrates this: Look at any hominid and tally what he takes from the Earth, and what he gives to the Earth.* In the case of almost any civilized hominid it’ll be difficult or impossible to discern in what way he’s anything but a pure parasite. And in almost all cases gratuitously destructive as well, a vandal as well as a parasite.
 
3. As the waste product of the pointless frenzy, fill the atmosphere with greenhouse gases and other wastes, fill the water with pollutants, accumulate plastic and other wastes in the oceans, suffuse the general environment with plastics, industrial and agricultural poisons, and every other kind of waste. For as long as the ecology functions, some of this waste biodegrades, some only very slowly, some, especially plastics, maybe not at all. The more waste accumulates the greater the pressure on the ecology to break down and cease function.
 
 
There’s the ecological essence of modern civilization: Extraction of non-renewable “resources”, pointless orgy, massive and terminal buildup of waste and toxification. The ecological measure is the only real measure, over the long run. For civilization it’s a suicide race. Which will come first: Resource depletion, the orgy going to nuclear war or total pandemic, general ecological collapse? Which mode of death: Starvation, shooting yourself, poisoning yourself.
 
The only real questions are, once the nightmare’s over and what’s left behind is a Learian desolation, how much will be left for Gaia to use to rebuild, and at what stability or chaos of a new phase state.
 
This is the long run history of the future. There’s a popular Keynes quote, “In the long run we’re all dead.”
 
Yes. And “Homo sapiens” is determined to make that long run as short as possible for itself as a species. In its civilized form H. domesticus it wants to make life itself extinct. The suicide race also is a homicide race – how much of Gaia can civilization murder before it kills itself. And what can ecological dissidents do: To defend and conserve until the clock runs out; to fight back; even to speed up the clock.
 
 
*To anticipate trolls or even honest questions, here’s what I give to the Earth: On all the land available to me I grow food according to agroecological principles (aka organically). Beyond directly growing food I’ve been active in the community food movement, dedicated to restoring natural modes of food production and distribution, for almost ten years now. I’m a writer and educator, director of two community gardens, have worked at a farmers market and at our herbal medicine garden. In these ways I act and propagate ideas toward restoring these more ecological modes. All voluntary aspects of my life are on Gaia’s vector.
 
I would like to be a full time farmer if I had my rightful place on the land. Civilization encloses the land for only idle or destructive purposes. I’m foreclosed by the religion of money (Mammon), the religion of property, the police. This is to explain how civilization forces limits on how much any of us who isn’t rich or otherwise lucky can give.
 
I offer Gaia my writing, I propagate the necessary ideas to whatever extent I’m able and anyone’s listening. I do all I can to speak to fellow mammals amid the underbrush, calling upon us to wait out the dinosaurs, destroying their eggs whenever we can. I do the maximum I can do. And I engage in no high-impact, high-GHG actions except under duress. I’m conscripted into driving a car; if I could abolish the car completely I’d do so in a second. If I could press a button and cause all fossil fuels to disappear immediately, I’d do so in a second.
 
I envision the coming ecological restoration of humanity, the coming natural community which includes humanity as fully giving and receiving participant. And until then I do what I can to envision the ideas and organization we need today, in order to endure and carry through the little that’s worthwhile, and take whatever action we can.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

December 1, 2018

Morally, Ecologically, COPFOs Are the Same as CAFOs

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Exploited, tortured, malnourished, poisoned, regimented.

 
 
1. Factory farms are among the worst evils of modern civilization. The civilized smugly invoke Auschwitz as a near-mythical symbol of pure evil. Meanwhile Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs), identical concentration and death camps by any measure other than that of domesticated hominid supremacism, continue to multiply across America and the globe.
 
The sadistic cruelty which is the daily routine is beyond sane imagination. The living animals are packed together like dead sardines. They are driven insane with physical pain and crowding and unfathomable psychological stress. Babies are wrenched from their mothers to render the mothers “productive” again as fast as possible. The inmates are fed a gruesome poisoned grain diet which makes them sick. It’s just enough to drag their zombie forms along till they reach slaughter weight. (Producing this weight is the one and only thing GMOs ever have been tested for by the system. Never once has the system performed a legitimate safety test. Governments, corporations, academia, and the corporate and science media systematically lie about this, the ultimate fake news.)
 
Egg layers have it the worst. Broilers can’t be pushed too far into madness lest they rub their breasts raw against the wire till the flesh is stripped to the bone, much as maddened concentration camp inmates would commit suicide by trying to climb the wire. That would ruin the product. But for the layers anything goes as long as eggs can be forced from them.
 
Imprisoned in boxes, living with nothing but foul air and artificial light, never seeing or feeling the sun, or the grass beneath, or the flowing breeze, they live dead lives of misery and torment, all to satisfy the depravities of the sadistic and gluttonous civilized.
 
CAFOs are a clear and present danger to public health. They automatically incubate every kind of animal and animal-to-human disease. This, along with the hideous living conditions and toxic diet, renders the inmates chronically sick. They’re maintained on a constant regimen of antibiotics. CAFO feed also is contaminated with antibiotic resistant GM bacteria which are left over from the factory synthesis of riboflavin and other feed additives. The main effect of these practices is radically to accelerate the evolution of antibiotic resistant pathogens and the failure of drug after drug. By any rational or moral measure we must conclude that the goal of corporate industrial agriculture and government policy is the complete eradication of antibiotics as a medically effective treatment. CAFOs guarantee pandemics from this vector.
 
CAFOs also guarantee epidemics of human and non-human animal illness and environmental destruction from their massive output of air and water pollution. CAFOs spew vast amounts of particulate matter (much of it carrying pathogens), ozone smog, hydrogen sulfide, sulfur dioxide and other pollutants. The Biblical flood of sewage which surges forth from CAFOs, unassimilable by farmland or the natural environment, is a constant volcano of methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, sulfur dioxide, and other potent greenhouse gases. CAFOs are among the reasons industrial agriculture is by far the number one driver of the climate crisis.
 
Agronomically CAFOs reinforce the overproduction of worthless commodity grain. This condemns to effective sterility vast spans of arable land which could be used to grow food for human communities on an agroecological basis. Instead the output of most of the land, and the ecological devastation which goes with poison-based agriculture, all goes down the CAFO rathole in order to produce cheap (at the retail checkout), grotesquely expensive (by any reality-based accounting) meat for the Western and Westernized middle classes.
 
This productionism of worthless grain, and the deployment of subsidies and propaganda in order artificially to generate such “markets” for this grain as the CAFO system, is a long-standing, perverse policy of the US government, fully supported by the entire political, intellectual, and media class.
 
Most important from the point of view of the corporate-technocratic state, the CAFO system reinforces the GMO deployment. This deployment of a worthless, extremely expensive and destructive product genre, depends completely on such artificial dumping grounds for worthless over-produced commodity grains.
 
Socioeconomically the CAFO system is a key driver of farm consolidation and the domination of farming by agribusiness. The system directly destroys small animal farms, indirectly destroys small grain farmers by reinforcing the mass commodity system.
 
CAFOs destroy the communities where they’re sited (always among lower income people of course). They foul the land, water, and air for many miles around rendering the landscape unlivable.
 
Working conditions are very dangerous, with high risks of direct injury, acute illness which is sometimes lethal (workers as well as animals often are killed outright by surges of hydrogen sulfide from manure lagoons), physical and mental disease from the fumes, chronic illness from the general disease incubation, and drowning in the manure lagoons. The working conditions and pay are atrocious. The legal “owners” of the CAFO are themselves indentured servants, forced by the corporation to take on all the work, risk, and debt while the corporation dictates all procedures and reaps all the profit.
 
In every way CAFOs add up to nothing but evil, destruction, death. A sane humanity would abolish them immediately on moral and self-preservation grounds. The fact that the masses not only tolerate but support this system is one of the direct proofs that modern civilized hominids are clinically insane, and incapable of Darwinian adaptation. This has nothing to do with lack of mediated information; mentally sound animals directly sense what will destroy them and fight or flee. Only civilized hominids have lost this core evolutionary trait. That goes for all self-destructive human “politics”.
 
 
2. Plant monocultures, which I will henceforth call COPFOs (COncentrated Plant Feeding Operations), are little better. Everything we just condemned about CAFOs – working conditions, destruction of communities, farm and agribusiness consolidation, agronomic perversity, ecological destruction, public health hazards including the epidemics of cancer and reproductive problems from poisons in the fields and food, including antibiotic resistance driven by herbicides (all herbicides are broad-spectrum biocides, i.e. antibiotics; glyphosate was patented as an antibiotic before it became part of herbicide formulations) and the promiscuous use of antibiotic resistance markers in genetic engineering – all are just as severe and destructive with COPFOs. I’ve written about this in hundreds of pieces over many years and don’t need further detail here.
 
Industrial monoculture denudes and destroys the soil, which becomes a disintegrated, inert medium in which the plants are physically propped up, jolted with synthetic fertilizer, slathered in poison which suffuses all their cells. The plants, malnourished except for a few artificially supplied (usually grossly oversupplied) macronutrients, physically weakened by being constantly drenched in poison, genetically weakened by breeding programs focused myopically on perverse traits like gross yield (meaningful only from a capitalist commodity point of view, not from any ecological perspective or the perspective of growing food for people), genetically tortured by unnecessary surgery and Nazi-style experimentation called “genetic engineering” (the scientists also torture the animals this way), too damaged and weakened to deploy their natural processes which signal one another, summon beneficial insects, and repel pests, become easy targets for pests. So they require even more poison, which then weakens the plants and soil that much further. (The eventual food quality of such crops is of course very low.) This vicious circle is deliberate and goes together with the equally deliberate pesticide-pest, pesticide-resistance arms race, the pesticide treadmill which is as old as the large-scale deployment of pesticides themselves.
 
Both CAFOs and COPFOs are radically toxic, radically polluting, radically destructive of the ecology, radically destructive of human health and well-being, radically destructive of the human community.
 
 
3. Empathy for non-human animals and the moral feeling and philosophy which encompasses them as fully as the human animal is grounded in the fact that non-human animals are as sentient as humans. They have feeling, they have emotion, they have ideas, they have language, they have culture. Only the flat-earth speciesism typical of civilized hominids would deny something so self-evident to healthy perception and so overwhelmingly confirmed by science.
 
But perception and science say we must go further than just moving the boundary of speciesism from human-vs.-animal to animal-vs.-plant. Plants too are sentient. They communicate about weather, pests, drought, they signal to beneficial insects. They can sense nearby plants being eaten and react. They make decisions. They forecast future climate conditions, water availability, and sunlight access and extend their branch and root growth ahead of time in accord with their forecasts. One species, the stilt palm, even “walks” toward a better location it has anticipated by extending new rooting stilts in that direction and detaching from the opposite stilts. Plants remember the effects of stimuli and will modify their reactions accordingly. Integrated with mycelial mats they join to form intelligent collective organisms. Botanists studying plant communication via chemicals released into the air and soil have compiled plant vocabularies of over three thousand “words”.
 
There is no more call to doubt plant sentience than to doubt animal sentience. If we find it difficult to empathize with the mind of a plant, this is no less true of the mind of a whale or dolphin, yet no one but a domestic-hominid supremacist denies the sentience of whales and dolphins.
 
(Of course, relative to potential, so-called Homo sapiens, in the form of H. domesticus, is by far the least sentient, least sapient, most stupid and “vegetative” species on Earth.)
 
 
4. In truth all of us, all plants and animals (and fungi and protozoans and bacteria), are part of the same food web. We all are “predators” and we all shall become “prey”. It’s impossible to refute this, only to deny it and lie about it. This civilization and its apostles, including almost all who claim to care about animals and/or the environment, do little or nothing but deny and lie. (It’s telling that an “or” is even conceptually possible there, yet few things are more common than reductive cherry-picking among things that in reality are inextricable and irreducible.) Thus we have corporate “environmentalists” who support CAFOs, and vegan/animal welfare types who support COPFOs. Indeed both tout such evils as part of their fake “solutions”.
 
In ecological reality, the only reality, the only possible way of life is to take responsibility for ourselves – as individuals, families, communities – as integral parts of the ecology. We must have reverence for Gaia. We must take only what we will use and give back at least as much as we take. Otherwise we’re not even predators but parasites. The modern civilized can never be anything but wasteful and destructive parasites.
 
Whether one believes in eating meat or not, either way industrial monoculture, CAFOs and COPFOs, is beyond the moral and ecological pale. Short of a complete reversion to hunting-gathering (which is not necessary, though the apostles of industrial agriculture seem intent on forcing us to that extreme once their system inevitably collapses; they intend a global Somalia of post-agricultural failure) the only sustainable future is decentralized, low-input agroecology, with or without animal pasturage. This is the great goal our movement must work toward. Meanwhile anyone smugly content to cherry-pick within the industrial commodity system and otherwise be content with that system is offering no solution at all, only a scam which is irrational, anti-scientific, anti-ecological, and morally evil.
 
 
Destroy the dinosaurs’ eggs every chance you get.
 
 
 
 
 

November 29, 2018

“Green New Deal”, Same as the Old Deal

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The Greens are right to point out to the history-impaired Dembots who suddenly have discovered the notion of a “Green New Deal” that the Green Party was touting it earlier. Of course it’s not a new idea at all, on the contrary it’s a hoary old theme. I think I first heard of it from Tom Friedman of all people, well over ten years ago, and I’m sure it wasn’t new then.
 
The Greens also are right that their public-oriented version is sound in a way that the fake “market”-oriented Democrat version is not.
 
But I don’t care who was there with this idea before whom, nor do I care which version is more superficially socialist. What’s more important is that the idea itself is a scam; that’s why the Democrat Party can embrace it, and why it so instinctively appeals to Dembots, and also to constructive critic, loyal opposition types like the Greens. It perpetuates the same anti-ecological onslaught under the fraudulent guise of ending this onslaught. As part of the general assault of the productionist cancer (“growth”) economy it’s part of the problem and cannot be part of the solution, since the solution can only be to end the assault, period.
 
As for the climate crisis, there’s one and only one way to avert the worst:
 
Stop industrial-level emissions; stop destroying sinks; rebuild sinks.
 
Anything else, including the pro-industrial “Green New Deal” meme, is a lie. The Paris babblers still fetishize 2 degrees Celsius as their red line; meanwhile the last time the atmospheric carbon concentration was above 400PPM global temperatures were 5-10 degrees higher than the present. So that amount of rise is already baked in; it’ll just take time for temperatures to catch up to the radical ahistorical speed of the atmospheric concentration.
 
And as we see, literally no one who’s part of the political class, including the UNFCCC-Kyoto-Paris crew, including climate scientists, including the Democrat Party and its “DSA” astroturf, has any intention whatsoever of ending industrial emissions, ending the destruction of sinks, or of committing to a global grassroots-based rebuilding of sinks. Nowhere are any of those necessary steps on the agenda at all, only the same old destruction, the same old death march of production and consumption, both of which boil down to nothing but destruction, waste, and pollution. (Including the social pollution of wealth and power accumulation, every bit as toxic as dioxin accumulation in the physical tissues, and ultimately every bit as much a biological war; the two modes of total war are inextricable.)
 
 
But as they say, when you’re in a hole, keep digging and blasting, just paint your shovel and sticks of dynamite green. “The American way of life is non-negotiable. Therefore the solution to ecological crises can only be More Capitalism. Keep Shopping! And Keep Driving.” That’s the necrotic essence of the “green new deal”.
 
So our climate heroes have no intention of holding any line at 2 degrees – that’s just temporary political theater. Nor are they satisfied with the 5-10 degrees already baked in. No, they join hands with their “conservative”, de jure denier counterparts in their determination to continue emitting and continue destroying. The real magic number of the ultimate global heating, for every apostle of the economic civilization, is far higher than 10 degrees Celsius. And since the accelerating warming will bring the great methane surges and other feedbacks, this ardently yearned-for heat surge may come much. much sooner than anyone in their system expects. They’ll get their Utopia of flame and die in ecstasy.
 
 
 
 
 
 

August 5, 2018

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

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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.
 
 
 
 
 
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