Volatility

May 16, 2016

Poison Sector Concentration: Monsanto May Get Bought

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In my January piece on agrochemical sector concentration I mentioned that Monsanto’s last chance for a merger may be with BASF. Now the business press is percolating with talk of either BASF or Bayer buying Monsanto outright. Both companies have herbicide portfolios not dependent on glyphosate. Bayer also has extensive seed company holdings, while BASF has little in that way.
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All the talk reinforces the perception that Monsanto’s Roundup business is seen as having a highly questionable future and that the only thing which might really interest anyone is the company’s potential to develop GM traits other than those based on glyphosate, along with the germplasm holdings among the seed companies Monsanto owns.
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The specter of “monopoly” always touted in these connections by the corporate media and government is a misdirection ploy. The sector already has monopolies on pesticides and GM seeds, and the handful of companies in an oligopoly sector almost never compete on price, product quality, or anything else which might benefit customers or the public. Rather, they compete for market share through advertising and government lobbying. So a BASF/Monsanto or Dow/DuPont merger is unlikely to make any difference for industrial farmers. Anyone who actually cared about the evils of monopoly would target the sector as the monolithic whole it is, not fret over cosmetic mergers within the sector.
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We can expect that any reconfigured entity will try to make the Monsanto name go away in the same way that Monsanto’s former contractor Blackwater changed its name to “Xe”.
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Whatever cosmetic changes are made including in the name, we must still keep calling it Monsanto.
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The main point of all this is as I analyzed in my longer piece. As pesticides and GMOs continue to fail, and as hypothetical ideas for the sector’s future become more and more scarce, it becomes harder for indoctrination and government subsidies to prop up the sector’s failed products, and the sector is less able to support the number of companies it has. Therefore they face the necessity of consolidating. This is always the sign of a sector’s economic and intellectual calcification.
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January 19, 2016

Concentration in the Poison Sector (Dow/DuPont; Syngenta; Monsanto)

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The year 2015 was a year of concentration in the already uncompetitive poison sector. For many years the pesticide and seed markets have become increasingly dominated by a small handful of corporations – Monsanto, Syngenta, Dow, DuPont, and a few others. The GMO phenomenon has greatly accelerated this trend, as the world’s most powerful governments and corporate sectors have boosted biotech worldwide as capitalism’s last great hope to break the bonds of physics and biology. This has profound religious, economic, and paramilitary implications we’ll discuss in depth as we proceed. For today we’ll stick with the proximate phenomenon of sector concentration.
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First came Monsanto’s bid to buy Syngenta, which Syngenta rejected with some disdain. Most onlookers thought it looked like a good fit – Monsanto’s seeds and traits to complement Syngenta’s more diversified pesticide line. But Syngenta evidently was not as interested in Monsanto’s GMO line as conventional wisdom thought it should be. In August Monsanto gave up for the time being after Syngenta had rejected at least three Monsanto bids. As the year wore on Monsanto announced two major rounds of contraction. In October the company announced it would cut 2600 jobs (12% of its work force), buy back stocks (down 30% since February at that time), and undertake a “restructuring” including cutting research and development spending. (Around the same time Syngenta and DuPont announced more modest contractions.) Later that month the company said it would close three R&D centers which focus on genetic engineering and breeding development, cutting another 90 employees. Both GMO and Roundup sales are down compared to the previous year. The new year looks no less bleak as Monsanto announced a third contraction. The company announced deeply depressed Roundup and GM maize sales, larger than expected losses, and will cut another thousand employees. Monsanto’s fundamentals are not looking good.
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In November the Chinese conglomerate ChemChina made its own bid for Syngenta. The company rejected this first bid, but is now said to be in “advanced talks” with ChemChina. Its chairman now says Syngenta is merger-minded, but continues to disparage a potential Monsanto deal. When the music stops Monsanto’s going to be left without a chair! In December Monsanto also announced it would not proceed with projected construction of a seed factory in Iowa. DuPont also cancelled three Iowa projects. The climax was the announcement that Dow and DuPont will merge and then split into three companies including one dedicated to agrochemicals. The proposed agrochemical spinoff would represent $19 billion in combined sales from the two companies. This would make it the largest GMO/pesticide company in the world. The Dow/DuPont deal evidently spurred Syngenta to enter the final round of negotiations with ChemChina, in part because of the increasing unease of Syngenta’s shareholders. The company’s chairman has hinted that he thinks Syngenta could become China’s primary supplier of GM technology and primary Western partner for China’s long-planned attempt to build its own GMO/pesticide conglomerate and assert itself globally in competition with the US-based cartel.
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According to the business papers, the proximate reason for the woes and tensions disturbing the sector has been the prolonged sagging of agricultural commodity prices. The downturn has caused many farmers to cut back on their high-input, highly expensive commodity crop production, and this in turn has been affecting the profits of Monsanto and others for a few years now. This in turn makes them disreputable on Wall Street. It’s great to see agribusiness hurting under the same vicious circle of high input prices, low harvest prices, and the imperative to “Get Big or Get Out” they help force upon farmers. (Roundup Ready crops, for example, were specifically designed to accelerate Get Big or Get Out. They were never seriously claimed to increase yield by the acre. Rather, they were supposed to make it easier to cultivate a greater acreage. The farmer would allegedly “make it up on volume”. Thus they were intended to accelerate farm consolidation.) And this increasing sector consolidation will just squeeze the oligopolists further and render all the economic pathologies worse. The fundamentals look bad.
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As a rule mergers among oligopolists are the sign of a superannuated, calcifying, decadent sector. It means companies are running out of ideas, losing confidence in the sector and in themselves. It’s the most extreme version of buying your ideas, patents, and products rather than being an innovator and entrepreneur who develops these yourself. Dow and DuPont believe they’re reaching dead ends and each needs to buy what the other has. Dow needs Pioneer germplasm*, DuPont needs Dow’s genetic engineering expertise and patents. Everyone recognized how Monsanto was trying to achieve this with its Syngenta bid. But Syngenta seemed not to want any kind of deal at all with them. Evidently Monsanto has nothing it wants, at least not at the price Monsanto offered. Meanwhile a few years ago BASF’s GMO operation was driven out of Europe completely. Those two may end up having to get together.
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[*Dow’s germplasm situation is interesting. If you look at ISAAA data, it looks like prior to the Enlist system Dow’s only solo commercialized GMO line has been some varieties of Widestrike cotton, while their other projects have involved contributing transgenes to joint products with DuPont and Monsanto. If you look at Dow’s seed company holdings, they’re relatively meager compared to those of DuPont and Monsanto. I’ll suppose that for those joint projects Dow had to rely on the other company to contribute not only transgenes of its own but much or all of the genetic framework.**
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Then there’s the curious fact that for several years running Dow’s been surprisingly willing to sit quietly for regulator-imposed delays. First there was the USDA delay while the agency ran a full Environmental Impact Statement. Then came the EPA’s imposition of various restrictions on Enlist commercial plantings in 2015, and most recently EPA’s temporary revocation of Enlist Duo’s registration. It’s almost as if Dow is nervous about its own product for some reason. It’s not displaying much of the aggressiveness we’re used to from the GMO corporations. Do they doubt some fundamental of the product, like perhaps the quality of their own seed genetics? That would be part of the explanation for why Dow was so ardent for this merger.]
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Another force driving the sector toward trying to diversify through consolidation is fear of the political countermovement against agricultural poisons. Monsanto is especially vulnerable, dependent upon Roundup for about 70% of its revenues. Roundup accounts for half its sales, while GMOs dependent upon it make up much of the rest. This is why Syngenta had little interest even in Monsanto’s GMO business. In 2015 the entire world learned for keeps what campaigners, Monsanto, and regulators have long known, that glyphosate causes cancer. With the WHO’s announcement the clock is now ticking, counting down the rest of glyphosate’s legal life. The people will now slowly but surely force the complete banning of glyphosate-based poisons. The bell is tolling for Roundup, Monsanto knows it, and so they must find new products or die. They’re hyping everything in sight, from slapping new ad slogans on old, pointless, narrow-market products to touting the idea of RNA interference GMOs. But if these ever came to market they’s still be the same kind of shoddy insecticidal GMOs which in Bt form are already a failure with a gradually diminishing market.
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The fact is that the structural reason driving the current consolidation is that GMOs are a shoddy product and don’t have much of a market or a future in themselves. On the contrary, there’s a growing consensus inside and outside the sector, including on Wall Street, that the pesticides remain primary, with the GMOs being secondary to these and dependent upon them. Their fundamentals are bad. In other words the finance sector now agrees with what GMO critics have said from the start, that GMOs in the real world are nothing but pesticide plants, poison plants. (As opposed to GMO hype and hoaxes of the pro-GM activists and the corporate media.) Although Wall Street is poor at acknowledging its own pyramid schemes, it knows how to call them out in other sectors. GMOs are a scam.
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None of this is a surprise and confirms what we critics said all along. These are poison companies, their number one activity and goal is to manufacture and sell poison, therefore the primary proximate goal of GMOs must be to sell more poison. It’s actually astonishing that anyone was ever willing to believe such a self-evident absurdity as that the likes of Monsanto or DuPont would ever market a product which would cause them to sell less of their primary products. Yet that’s what the peddlers of the “GMOs lessen pesticide use” lie would have you believe.
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Sure enough: 1. With the deployment of GMOs, pesticide use always increases.
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2. It has to, since these are poison plants and are designed only to sustain poisons being sprayed upon them (in the case of herbicide tolerant GMOs), or to handle only certain “target” pests (Bt products). The rest must still be met with sprays and seed coatings. Bayer and Syngenta didn’t participate in GMO deployment and support the GMO idea in general because they thought they’d sell less neonics.
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3. Both of these GMO genres, the only ones which exist and the only ones in the pipeline, are failures. They can be called “successful” only according to the Failure is Success form of planned obsolescence and the ever-escalating, ever more expensive stacking-and-pesticide treadmill.
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GMOs have a tenuous future. Everyone knows that herbicide tolerant and insecticidal GMOs are running out of room. Once SmartStax, 2,4-D, and dicamba fail, what then? That’s why there’s such a propaganda campaign touting CRISPR, “gene editing”, RNAi. The sector is trying to convince itself, Wall Street, governments, commodifiers, food manufacturers and retailers, and the world at large that there’s a whole new GMO frontier to be opened up. To be sure, elites everywhere want to believe this, since capitalism as such badly needs it. But so far this is all in the realm of fantasy, and there’s no reason to believe it will ever break free of the land of lies, where the “first generation” of GMOs remains to this day.
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The media claims GMOs mean gene editing for agronomic and product quality traits? I’m afraid not. Today’s GMO reality is the collapse of the Roundup Ready system and the sector’s reactionary, luddite answer: To double down on proven failure by regressing to GMOs tolerant of older, even more destructive herbicides. This is the context in which the evolution-denialist system is promulgating the backward, luddite “solution” of corn and soybeans engineered to tolerate the retrograde herbicide 2,4-D, one of the two primary components of the chemical weapon Agent Orange. This is one of the dark age poisons which Monsanto and the US government originally promised would be permanently relegated to the scrap heap by the Roundup Ready system. Dicamba is another such regressive chemical being poised by Monsanto for a comeback.
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There’s the real GMO future as demonstrated by the actions, rather than the media lies, of the corporations and regulators. And this bears out the fact that, contrary to the moronic techno-hype and fundamentalist cultism of GMOs, the real fundamental of corporate agriculture remains the most regressive, stupid, blunt-instrument, flat-earth technology of all, pesticides. The best irony since the IARC finding has been the spectacle of our intrepid futurists, who always tried to hold aloof from the dinosaur pesticide technology while exalting their idolized space-age GMO technology, having to reduce themselves to the level of Roundup shills. This too proves something we always said about them, that for all their high-flown scientism pretensions, they’re really nothing but gutter Monsanto bootlicks. This is the real character of the GMO sector – antiquated, backward, an economic and innovation bottleneck, shoddy, tawdry. This is borne out by one consistent thread which runs through all the sector consolidation events. Monsanto’s contractions, Monsanto’s proposals to Syngenta, the Dow/DuPont merger (see several of the links above) – all involve cutting research and development spending. In other words the sector has reached the point where it thinks more in terms of stock buybacks and scrounging whatever technology and patents it can buy rather than developing anything on its own. To some extent this is inherent to any big corporation and any oligopoly sector. But it’s especially congenital to the agrochemical sector, which was always based on accelerating planned obsolescence toward its inevitable culmination in the complete exhaustion and obsolescence of the entire paradigm.
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The sector faces another problem – GMOs are reaching market saturation. The cartel won’t be able to force a market for them in Africa unless it can either grab the land to turn it into vast industrial plantations to grow CAFO feed for Asia, and/or convince enough smallholder farmers to fall for the same scam Monsanto used on cotton farmers in India. (But Bt cotton has already been tried and rejected in three African countries, and the word is out.) But can the several African governments play the same carnival-barker role the Indian government did? This is the Monsanto/Gates Foundation “New Alliance” plan, with massive corporate welfare to be financed by the taxpayers of the US, UK, and Africa, geared to the complete subjugation of African agriculture to land-grabbing and monoculture production for commodity export.
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Even if the sector can overcome the stiffening political resistance and inherent agronomic resistance (pests and diseases which flourish) to this scheme, how much and how long can the Asian middle class prop up its demand for this forced supply? The agribusiness sector is the most supply-driven of all and is 100% dependent on forcing artificial markets into being, for example convincing people to whom it never occurred before that they want to eat a lot more factory farm meat. Obviously a sector whose entire existence is based, not on real demand, but on puffed up fictive “demand” which can dry up at any time, and which will dry up as the masses lose the capacity for luxury spending, is built on sand. Here again, everyone recognizes the basic bubble, pyramid scheme character of the whole sector. It’s ironic that GMO jargon uses the term “pyramid” for another of its scams.
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China’s stock and real estate bubbles are cruising for a big fall. With any significant Asian recession, the whole Africa plan collapses for lack of even a theoretical market. Or if by then the sector has already forced full-scale commodity monoculture upon Africa and is generating huge amounts of GM maize and soy there, they’ll have to dump it on the rest of the world and further crash those commodity prices.
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Meanwhile, unless the cartel can seize control of the land in India they’ll soon be run out of the country. Anywhere on earth there’s still a large mass of small farmers, corporate agriculture is in a race to grab the land before their products are worn out and cast out. Although the sector’s propaganda continues to flog the long-debunked lie that GMOs can be good for small farmers, in reality only where the land is concentrated into vast commodity plantations can the sector maintain its GM seed sales. Soon this will be true of pesticides as well.
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Meanwhile, as we discussed earlier, the seeds accelerate the obsolescence of the pesticides, which then also renders the GM seed lines obsolete. This has been a campaign of planned obsolescence; the sector wants to force farmers to buy ever higher stacks and deploy an ever more complex multiple-pesticide choreography. But at the same time this accelerates the discrediting of the whole pesticide plant concept at the same time that it renders GMOs and pesticides less and less affordable. Sector oligopolists are in a race against time and resistance, and they’re not getting ahead as fast as they’d hoped. Monsanto originally expected to have attained near-complete monopoly for the sector by sometime in the first decade of the century. Obviously they’re falling well short and very late of that goal. Thus the oligopolists are reaching the point where they have to consolidate among themselves.
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The fact is that both the GMOs and the pesticides are ill-conceived, ultimately self-destructive product types. It’s not just that many of the products, such as most of the GMOs, shoddily constructed. The basic idea underlying all the products – using poison against agricultural weeds and pests, and synthetic inputs including transgenes to meet other agricultural challenges – is bad in principle. The entire agrochemical sector is built on sand. The fundamentals of all these companies and their sector as a whole are bad.
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What’s going on is more profound than the superficial accounts of the business section, focused as it is on stock prices and quarterly “earnings”. The sector is following its destiny in accord with the Poisoner imperative, a structural economic, political, religious, and biological campaign. Although Wall Street and politics are forcing these companies to make certain accommodations with reality, such as recognizing the primacy of pesticides over GMOs on the most reality-based level, nothing has changed for them ideologically. They are committed to the total domination of their program of eugenics via genetic engineering. They’re just in an ever more pressing race against time, as the ecological resistance, expressed biologically, economically, and politically, is becoming stronger by the year.
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Although the companies of the GMO cartel grudgingly recognized their need for high-quality agricultural germplasm such as could be bought through Pioneer, their original disdainful arrogance was no accident, nor has this fundamental ideology changed. Reality may have forced itself upon Monsanto when the company finally bowed to the need to put its transgenes into good crop varieties (and thus it embarked upon its odyssey of buying seed companies – as always, Monsanto never innovates anything, just steals or buys the work others have done), it did so under duress and to this day doesn’t really believe in it. Deep down any techno-cultist, for example a GMO fanboy, thinks the technology he idolizes is the only meaningful reality and has nothing but contempt for everything else. That’s why pro-GMO activists are so ignorant of every branch of science – genetics, biology, ecology, botany, entomology, agronomy, physiology, medical science, you name it – and have such contempt for knowledge as such. They spew the word “Science” but take great pride in knowing nothing about it, its content or how it works. No one becomes a religious zealot of genetic engineering because he has respect for natural or agroecologically bred genetics. He does it because he has fear and loathing for anything which is not under the control of high-technology engineering. To be precise, their idolatry is for the idea of such technological control. The fact that in practice GMOs are such an imprecise, stupidly executed, shoddily performing product doesn’t matter to the cultists, only their shining idea. Which is good for them since by now they have no choice but to be shills, not only for the mythically “hi-tech” products of genetic engineering, but for what until not long ago they themselves sneered at as dinosaur technology, sprayed and slathered pesticides like Roundup.
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The history of genetic engineering displays a level of combined ignorance and arrogance on the part of its practitioners and controllers which is astonishing. Monsanto started out thinking they’d take their Roundup Ready gene and their Bt gene, stick them into any old public domain maize variety, and then just mass produce it for every farmer the world over. Robb Fraley’s notion, which the company tried to follow at first, was that they’d do exactly what Microsoft had done with software, their transgenes being the Windows-type “software”, with the crop and its genetics being the basically stupid, meaningless “hardware”. This is typical of the delusion that on the one hand things like computer software, patents, corporations, money, are real things, while on the other something like agricultural germplasm is mystical “information”. They simply tuned out anyone who tried to tell them agriculture doesn’t work that way. This delusion is endemic to scientism and corporatism and is connected intimately with the monoculture mentality those cults also share, in agriculture as well as every other realm of thought and action.
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But in fact the ecological reality is the only reality, and agroecological ideas are the only ideas that can truly work for agriculture as well as ecology, and for a healthy economy and polity as well. But nothing about Monsanto, Roundup, or GMOs – corporate control, profits, patents, the idea of precision control and manipulation of physical genomes – touches reality at any point, while the poisons can only destroy, never create or sustain. The fundamentals are bad. From the most hermetic, short-run Wall Street preoccupations to the most profound intellectual and ecological arcs, the fundamentals are bad.
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This is the real reason the poison sector’s confrontation with nature, its attempt to subjugate the ecology by force, only drives itself further into no man’s land. Today the GMO cartel feels insecure enough that it must retrench the only way it knows how. Tomorrow it will perish completely.
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**Charles Benbrook’s “Free Pioneer” idea would be good if there was a way to do it. In spite of Breen’s assurances that the new agricultural spinoff won’t cut productive jobs at Pioneer, just “middlemen”, that’s often not the way it works. Pioneer could still be worth something to agriculture, whereas the rest of DuPont, and all of Dow, is worthless and destructive. That in itself usually means the worthwhile, constructive part gets gutted.
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Pioneer is still part of unsustainable commodity agriculture, but it is an important repository of germplasm and breeder expertise, and in theory it could be refurbished for a mission more in line with agroecology, if it could be liberated from the corporate clutch.
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In the meantime, Benbrook is right, the one thing guaranteed is that this merger will further squeeze farmers and reduce their seed choices. Which will be a further opportunity for we who are exhorting GMO farmers to switch to non-GM, and industrial farmers in general to switch to organic.
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Food and Water Watch has a petition to the Justice Department urging them to block the merger.
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Monsanto really is in some serious trouble with its Roundup vulnerability. With glyphosate on the ropes politically, Monsanto could go down quickly if there were a domino effect of bans. If people wanted to get together to focus on getting glyphosate banned everywhere possible, it could become a permanently crippling blow.
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March 7, 2015

The TTIP and Corporate Rule

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1. The name “Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership” expresses what the globalization process sees as the only real sovereign group and political constituency – corporate “investors”. (Under the term “stakeholders”, these are explicitly considered to be the only legitimate citizens of the corporate-dominated society envisioned by the TTIP and similar pacts. These pacts comprise a new Corporate Constitution to effectively crush existing human constitutions and institutions.) Meanwhile the term “trade” is purely Orwellian, since globalization is not about legitimate demand-based trade, but the extreme opposite: Forcing supply upon markets which don’t demand it at all, or don’t demand it in the form corporatism wants to supply it.
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The system takes it for granted that the goal of the TTIP and of all globalization policy (and government policy as such) is “market liberalization”, i.e. a command economy based on overproduction, corporate welfare, dumping, coerced markets, and the total gutting of all public interest regulation. Note well that only public interest regulation and demand-side policy like local buying requirements are targeted for “equivalence” and “coordination”. Corporate welfare, such as Big Ag crop insurance, is not considered a “regulation” which needs to be “equalized” among the parties to the compact.
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We need rigorous discipline regarding the propaganda term “free trade”. We should never let this term pass unnoticed in our thoughts and words. We must reject in thought and words any concession to the Big Lie that globalization has anything to do with legitimate trade. Globalization is all about maximizing the imperatives and prerogatives of supply-driven corporate “markets”, toward the corporate concentration of all economic and political power. Real trade is demand-based and develops naturally and organically from human economies. Globalization, so-called “free trade”, is a top-down planned economy based on intentional overproduction and the subsequent forced creation of “markets” for this overproduction. To be anti-globalization is therefore to be pro-trade in the real economic sense, and vice versa.
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Europe proves that the supply-driven export dictatorship which globalization pacts seek to impose aren’t necessary for the general prosperity. For example, Europe’s overwhelmingly conventional agriculture is superior in every way, quantitatively and qualitatively, to the GMO-based agriculture dominant in the US and Canada. This proves at least that a fully modern Western society is better off without GMOs. But one of the core goals of the TTIP is to impose the US GMO model upon Europe, thus eradicating Europe’s great qualitative advantage, for the domestic economy and for trade.
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This leads us to the specific case of GMOs and their structural importance. Obviously the US government and the GMO cartel see Europe as a massive, relatively untapped market. But beyond this, they have a structural imperative to force all economies to come under GMO domination. They also loathe the current state of European agriculture as a real world alternative which has proven superior in every way to GMO domination. Europe proves every day that even given the parameters of industrial agriculture, GMOs are unnecessary and inferior. Europe proves every day that conventional agriculture performs better and less expensively without them. This is an ongoing embarrassment and affront to US corporatism. The US corporate system tries to deny this in the same way that during the Cold War the US and USSR would deny the very existence of ways in which one outperformed the other.
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They would have destroyed these embarrassing facts if they could. Today the US government is trying to use the TTIP to wipe out the embarrassing fact of Europe’s superior agriculture and its far healthier food system. The EC bureaucracy is coordinated with this goal, since by its nature it sees things in terms of corporate one-world government rather than as a power struggle with the US-corporatist bloc.
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2. The explicit goal of the TTIP is to coordinate all regulation which has anything to do with “any planned and existing trade”. That means all regulation, law, court decisions, etc. It’s the same principle as with the totalitarian expansion of the commerce clause in US constitutional jurisprudence, since it can encompass literally anything power wants it to. The coordination is also to be extended by whatever means necessary to EU member countries and US states. Sector-specific provisions will supersede “cross-cutting horizontal” coordination, which sets a floor. Corporate-dictated “commerce” assaults and supply-driven “trade” are already taken in the US to encompass all production/consumption activity including the informal economy, including production purely for personal use and including even pure inertness. That is, the imposition of corporate poll taxes is said by the system to be part of the Commerce power. The TTIP will enforce this for Europe as well, and far more intensely for both zones. Note well that as usual this only goes one way. Domestic economic activity, the informal economy, production for personal use, and any other kind of activity which doesn’t formally seek profit across national borders will not have access to the World Bank tribunals or to any court to litigate any harm arising out of this “trade” aggression. As always with this criminal system, it’s heads the elites win, tails the people lose.
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The process gives oligopoly corporations based in any country which is party to a compact special privileges over the rights of the people or of any legitimate business within any country which is also a party. It exalts the “right” to corporate profit and supply-driven “trade” as the supreme imperatives of society, lofting these far above all other values, rights, goals of policy and law. This includes the suppression of domestic economic activity, since the supply-driven export imperative favors the big corporations, the oligopoly sectors. NAFTA’s Chapter 11, upon which the TTIP and TPP ISDS provisions are modeled, lets corporations complain about any policy, law, regulation, court decision, which in any way allegedly infringes on any hypothetical profit the corporations can conceive. This has nothing to do with uneven treatment between foreign and domestic businesses. Even where the provision applies equally to all, it’s held to strict liability as far as how it impacts any corporation’s alleged ability to profit.
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This is proof that globalization compacts are not about trade, but about power. If they were about trade, then a law which applied to everyone equally wouldn’t be a problem.
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Profit, meanwhile, is purely a measure of power, indeed an artifice of the mysticism of power. Especially in the time of quantitative easing and mark-to-make believe accounting for the finance sector and “austerity” for humanity, corporate “profit” is self-evidently a reflection not of actual productivity and wealth but on the contrary of destruction and robbery.
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3. In being formally totalitarian, dedicated only to profit in principle, corporate bureaucracies are explicitly established as the direct exercise and rule of power (Might Makes Right), mediated only by government regulatory action. Strictly speaking, corporations are not supposed to be restrained directly by law. On the contrary, part of the purpose of the corporate form is to place legal barriers between the actions of corporate cadres and those actions’ having any actionable legal character, civil or criminal. The purpose is to legalize crimes when committed by representatives of “the corporation”.
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Government bureaucracy, meanwhile, is supposed to be restrained by law and by respect for democracy. But here too individuals are often formally absolved of personal responsibility for actions. This kind of absolution goes to the core of the evil of any such hierarchies, since nothing is so firmly proven as that if you give individuals power and freedom from consequences for their actions, they’ll take their actions to bad extremes. That’s why humans should never allow power to concentrate, and should never grant individuals a blank check, and most of all should never combine the two. Meanwhile it’s laughable to expect any bureaucrat to respect democracy. By its nature bureaucracy respects only administrative power and process, and despises law and democracy. (Meanwhile, the “Law and Economics” ideology and jurisprudence seeks to impose radical responsibility upon regular workers for their actions, even where coerced by bosses into dangerous or illegal actions. There’s the Heads I Win Tails You Lose again.)
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With this Gleichschaltung plan, a more complete formalization and rationalization of government bureaucracy’s subordination to corporate bureaucracy, the nominally “legal” bureaucracy is to be subsumed under the direct power bureaucracy. The government regulators are then to use their nominal fig leaf of legality, not as a restraint on power, but as propaganda on power’s behalf (and, where appropriate, as a weapon against rivals). This is the most institutionalized and rationalized form of the neoliberal scam.
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So EC bureaucrats and similar bureaucracies (e.g. the EPA, FDA, and USDA) exemplify the mindset and role of the bureaucrat, which is to carry out the dictates of power in an automated way. As corporate power increases, these government bureaucracies will naturally become more inherently pro-corporate. This is according to their basic inertia, what they inherently are, rather than “capture” or “corruption”. These latter do exist, but are epiphenomenal. To emphasize those is to reinforce the lie that corporations and regulators have any kind of inherently adversarial relationship. On the contrary, where corporations hold the power, bureaucrats naturally see them as their true constituency. All this is also naturally pleasing to the inherent elitism and anti-democratic tendencies of bureaucrat types.
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4. Where there’s any conflict between the corporate domination imperative and any other value, it’s taken for granted there can be no compromise. The non-corporate value must submit, if necessary to the point of its own extinction. As the historical record makes clear, this is true of all human values – health, happiness, prosperity, culture, tradition, religion, morality, simple human decency and fairness. None of these can coexist with corporations. In the long run these must all go extinct, if corporatism continues to exist.
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This is borne out by the analysis of globalization as an economic and anti-political offensive being carried out by corporatism toward the goal of total domination. By economic and anti-political I mean that the goal is total domination through total economic domination, while all real manifestations of politics are to be suppressed completely. The neoliberal phony semblance of “politics” – sham elections, nominal constitutional rights and so on – may continue for some time. Actual power will be exercised at the command of corporate oligopoly sectors, by executive government bureaucracies and extranational globalization tribunals, and increasingly, directly by the corporations themselves.
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5. This is not a new kind of corporate behavior. Privateering, the formal charter to commit crimes, goes back to the 16th century, the dawn of the corporate form. Corporations were envisioned in the first place to help enable “violent crime grafted onto trade”, as Ted Nace put it. The very term “free trade” originally referred directly to freedom from the law. Or as Hannah Arendt wrote in Origins of Totalitarianism, legalized gangsters sought to use politics to regulate their bloodshed. The British East India Company’s violent lawlessness is exactly mirrored today in the form every sort of corporate thuggery and the way corporate crimes are generally considered above and outside the law. Blackwater, explicitly declared above the law and granted a charter to literally perpetrate massacres, is merely the distillation of the way every large corporation is empowered to act, and the way they usually do act. Indeed, in principle this is the way they are required to act according to the core principle that profit-seeking is the only acceptable value. (What kind of sick society would ever have enshrined such a sociopathic form in the first place? The very existence of profit-seeking corporations reflects a self-loathing and self-destructiveness on the part of civilization itself.)
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Today’s “free trade” has exactly the same criminal nature, but the term has been sanitized to refer to an economic theory rather than a legal concept of chartered outlawry.
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Today it’s true in a precise sense that corporations are formally legalized criminal organizations. Take for example the repeal of the bucket laws, which used to recognize gambling as gambling whether done over dice in a back alley or stocks on an exchange. A bank couldn’t ask the state to enforce a wager any more than could a two-bit hood. But these sane laws started being repealed in the 1980s. The process culminated in the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000 (CFMA; recognize a similarity to the “Food Safety Modernization Act” (FSMA)? the similarity isn’t just terminological). Now what was naturally unproductive antisocial gambling was legalized as a “contract”. The result was massively bloated bank profits and hideous distortions of the economy, climaxing in Wall Street’s intentional crash of the real economy in 2008. The crash was then used as the pretext for the Bailout and austerity. The Wall Street bailout was a massive payout on bets gone bust. This entire process was premeditated and had its origin in the legalization of what are naturally outlawed acts. Acts of reckless gambling by the banks, indistinguishable from a bunch of drunks at a bar betting on a football game, have come to comprise legal contracts. Of course, when a solitary bum bets his children’s lunch money at the track and loses, it’s terrible for that family. When the government lets the banksters do the same thing with trillions and then pays off these bets with taxpayer money, millions of children must go hungry.
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The massive collusion, dating back to the 1990s, to fraudulently induce mortgages was helped along by this original legalization. And the rest of the crimes were piggybacked on these, leading up to the finance sector’s intentional crash of the global economy in 2008. Today where ISDS is in force we see the most extreme form of this kind of government protection. Here the corporate gambler doesn’t even need to make the bet, but only to say it could exist in theory, in order to get paid.
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This is the most extremely destructive and the most typical of the legalized forms of organized crime which are bound up in the corporate form. While many of the subsequent crimes may still technically be illegal, they were enabled by the underlying legalization of gambling. And once the government has been corrupted enough, even existing laws are no longer enforced, as we see every day. This is simply the de facto legalization of corporate crime.
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6. Corporatism is the process by which the 1% seeks to shift decision-making power and control from nominally “public” government to nominally “private” corporations. In US constitutional parlance, the system is transferring this power asset from the three branches of government enshrined in the written constitution to the extra-constitutional Fourth Branch, the corporations. In this way, power and control are shifted from nominally accountable “representative democracy” to power structures which are totally unaccountable even in principle. The nominal government remains as corporate welfare bagman and police thug, and to maintain the fraudulent facade of elections and other trappings of representative democracy. I call this the bagman-thug model of government. This process is also called neoliberalism, since it seeks to maintain the semblance of classical liberalism and pseudo-democracy even as it institutes most of the substance of fascism.
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This is part of the 1%’s general secession trend. The government abdicates its power to corporations at home, to globalization cadres abroad. It imports the alien power of the globalization cadres to domestic affairs. Throughout, government abdicates all public policy, privatizes all public property, but maximizes its absolute size, only now as corporate welfare bagman and thug.
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Accounting 101 for corporate rule: The entity is Government. Power is its asset. Democratic accountability and financial risk are among its liabilities. Government’s creation and support for corporations is an organizational shell game. The goal is to transfer the power asset to the “private” corporate entity while leaving all liabilities with the taxpayer-liable “public” entity.
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To sum up, here’s the basic tenets of corporate ideology:
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A. Governments should create corporations. (Corporations are in fact extensions of government. They’re meant to reorganize central government power, removing it from even the theoretical jurisdiction of “representative government”. It’s a kind of organizational shell game, transferring an asset from one entity to another. Meanwhile any liabilities remain with the original entity.)
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B. Corporations should be enshrined as entities that have infinite rights and zero responsibilities. They should have their profits guaranteed by the government, while all their risks are assumed by the government (i.e. the taxpayers, society) and the environment.
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C. The main purpose of government is to provide corporate welfare and thug services for corporations.
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D. Government should seek to liquidate all aspects of itself which are not directly toward B and C.
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E. Government (including in the form of globalization cadres like the WTO and IMF) should always get bigger and more aggressive, but only in ways that are directly toward B and C.
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F. The purpose of humanity and the earth are to serve as resource mines and waste dumps for corporations. Society, civilization, etc., are to be maintained only insofar as they help organize and pacify these slaves and victims. Otherwise these are to be liquidated.
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Of course I’m not saying there’s some secret master council while consciously deliberates all this. I’m describing the behavior and inertia of a socioeconomic and political force, in the same way I’d describe how the ocean organizes itself and moves.
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7. Today we confront the ultimate totalitarian manifestation of this ideology and the institutions based upon it, globalization. This reached a new level of aggressiveness in the post-war time, and especially since the end of the Cold War. The “free trade” treaties starting with NAFTA, “the law of the land” according to the Constitution, comprise a global anti-constitution. Their only content enshrines corporate license and prerogative at a level far above national governments and laws. Democracy and civil society have no place at all in this system. The “treaties”, written by multinational corporations, peddled by corrupted bagman/goon governments, and forced upon all other countries, are nothing but laundry lists of anti-sovereign usurpation and incitements to governments to set up administrative “free trade zones”, designed to obliterate all rule of law after the example of the Nazi General Government of Poland (as Richard Rubenstein pointed out, legalistically speaking no crimes were committed at Auschwitz), whose secession from law and civil society are then to be extended to encompass the entire “country”. At that point sovereignty would be completely obliterated and replaced by direct corporate rule.
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The provisions are set up to encourage corporations or their goon government proxies to file lawsuits against any manifestation of sovereignty or democracy anywhere which could hinder the profit-seeking imperative, which is the only one recognized by the globalization structure. (The same imperative which is the only one recognized by the “legal personality” regime.) The suits are heard by unelected, unaccountable secret tribunals staffed, as are the globalization cadres themselves, by corporate lawyers who come in through the revolving door. Suits have been filed against the US, Canada, Mexico, and many other governments. The very threat of such suits has a stifling effect on democracy and public health.
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While the WTO is relatively backward in having governments sue other governments on behalf of corporations, lateral agreements like NAFTA are more advanced in having the corporation directly sue the offending democracy. If it was deranged to allow domestic corporations to sue for rights against the government that created them, how anti-sovereign is it to allow alien corporations to sue a government? Perhaps the most telling fact is that under NAFTA and similar “treaties”, an alien corporation actually has more rights against a sovereign people than a purely domestic one not involved in global commerce and therefore not eligible for the powers of the Treaty.
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This perversion of sovereignty is the terminal manifestation of how so-called foreign policy has always been the mechanism by which anti-democracy and subversion has been innovated “elsewhere” and then brought home to impose domestic tyranny.
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8. The policies business wants encoded in the TTIP and TPP and enforced by governments and World Bank tribunals provide a clear picture of what these persons are. They’re nominally “businessmen” seeking “profit”. They’re really political and economic totalitarians seeking total power and control. They seek this under the rubric of business ideology, and using the corporation as their basic mode of organization. But any large corporation is not really trying to provide a good/service and make a profit, but is rather a power-seeking organization using its particular economic sector as its base of operations. It seeks to attain total power within that sector and use that economic base to assert political domination as extensively as possible.
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I was about to say, “just because it’s not overtly political, the way a de jure political party or political pressure group is, doesn’t make it any less the same kind of organization.” But in fact anyone who pays attention to corporate actions knows they’re every bit as openly political as any non-profit, de jure political group. Corporations and their trade groups describe and disseminate political principles, devise political strategies and carry them out, lobby nominal politicians and regulators. There’s really no such thing as a lobbyist-politician dichotomy, but only two political activists talking to one another. In every way corporations are organizations which seek political power. The only difference is that under representative democracy a de jure “party” is the kind of organization which runs someone called a “candidate” for a particular type of political office, while corporations are bureaucracies, identical in a de facto way to nominal government bureaucracies like the USDA or FDA.
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The twin bureaucratic structures, corporate and regulatory, understand their mission well. Today the TTIP and the TPP propose to expand the NAFTA model from North America across both oceans to encompass Europe and the Pacific Rim under a single corporate umbrella, turn the Atlantic and Pacific into ponds upon one big corporate park, use this power position to overawe Latin America and ruthlessly subjugate Africa, and to crush what’s left of the substance of democracy and economic self-determination in every country encompassed, including America and the EU. The corporations see total power within their grasp. Today they’re gearing up to reach for it. The coupled mechanisms of the globalization compacts through which they intend to attain the totalitarian goal are “investor-to-state dispute settlement” (ISDS) and “regulatory coherence”. The former is a direct assault on democracy, civil society, and politics as such, as well as being a massive corporate welfare conveyor. The latter is a formula for total bureaucratic Gleichschaltung (coordination). More specifically, it’s a plan to fully and formally institutionalize the subservience of government bureaucracy to corporate bureaucracy, and to fully rationalize the processes of this subservience.
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Take for example the European Commission. The existing EU system is not pleasing to it. The EC, like any bureaucracy, despises democracy and accountability, and politics as such, and seeks to maximize its own power as such without any necessary reference to what its nominal job is supposed to be.
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To its ongoing frustration, the EC hasn’t been able to persuade Europeans to relinquish political power, nor has economic coordination gone as far as the Commission wants, which is always the maximum conceivable. Although the EC has vast power to propose and decree “legislation” (what really are administrative decrees for the most part), it’s subject to some checks and balances from the European Council of national ministers and, to a lesser extent, the elected Parliament. Both of these latter bodies are subject to considerable bottom-up pressure from the people, and in turn put pressure on the EC. A good example of how the EC has been hamstrung is how relatively few GMO applications it has approved for cultivation, even though in theory it could have decreed the approval of far more. Of course a more practical obstacle is that few European countries want to cultivate them.
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So in the EU there’s mostly administrative rule in theory, but to its disgust the EC has to jump through lots of political hoops. It looks to the TTIP to solve this problem of residual democracy. That’s why the EC is so ardent to embrace a compact which will turn it into a flunkey of the US government and mostly US-based corporations. The EC would rather hold a lower position in a fully rationalized, coordinated hierarchy of administrative rule, than be at the top of what it sees as a mishmash.
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The TTIP is meant to override European democracy and European politics in general. Globalization is inherently anti-political. Corporatism sees politics as such to be an atavism. Globalization is meant to impose a bureaucratic, anti-political solution to this atavism.
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To sum up. Regulatory coordination as enshrined under the TTIP and TPP will seek to:
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*Formally coordinate all regulators under the goal of serving corporate power. It will formally subordinate government bureaucracy to corporate bureaucracy. Bureaucracy will go to war against democracy, politics and whatever’s left of law, while sham law will be enlisted to serve corporate power. All real government power (i.e. the power of violence) will be put under corporate control.
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*A race to the bottom among all governments in all regulatory sectors.
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*The direct access of corporations to regulators. Corporations shall directly write regulations.
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*Regulators shall always be proactive on behalf of the corporations and at their command.
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*Regulators shall always inform the corporations of any threat and help them to fight it.
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*Regulators are to be required to respond to any corporate demands.
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*All this is to be always in motion, always accelerating, always seeking the next way to further amplify corporate profit, power, control, domination.
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Real power is inertially in the hands of the bureaucracies, “public” and “private”. But of course bureaucracies don’t just passively receive and use the power which economic structures deliver to them. On the contrary, globalization is a planned economy. It’s been planned by those same bureaucrats toward the goal of permanently increasing and expanding their power. Going back to the rise of imperialist ideology and corporate lobbying in the 19th century, corporatism has relentlessly and with ever greater self-consciousness and intentional focus sought to build this command economy.
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The corporate manifesto I analyzed in my post on corporate-government bureaucratic coordination was issued by the US Chamber of Commerce and BusinessEurope. Its provisions are typical of the consensus among all corporate “trade” groups and the various sector and industry groups.
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The proposal is clearly not just any proposal. On both sides, many other cross-sector business groups explicitly support the proposal or suggest a similar approach in their contributions to the official consultations on TTIP, including BDI (German Industry Association), Confederation of British Industry, Coalitions of Services Industries, British American Business, National Foreign Trade Council, Roundtable on Trade and Competition, Transatlantic Business Council, National Association of Manufacturers, Eurometaux and the United States Council for International Business. Some, notably the Competitive Enterprise Institute, take a step further and demand that businesses are able to choose freely which set of standards and regulations they will apply.

On top of this, 30 business associations, including most of the aforementioned, have written a common letter to the US Trade Representative and to Commissioner de Gucht’s department to stress the importance of a system of “regulatory cooperation”. They include sectoral lobby groups from the chemicals industry, car industry, the financial sector, biotechnology, pharmaceutical industry and many more. They point to the existing structures on regulatory dialogue, the High Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum, and assert that they “can be made much more effective and should include enhanced opportunities for dialogue with stakeholders”.

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This is explicit confirmation from the corporations themselves that their goal is total economic control and domination, to be leveraged into total political control and domination. This confirms everything I’ve written about corporate totalitarianism and that humanity’s great need is to completely abolish the de jure corporate mode of organization. We have to abolish the corporations completely.
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9. Today we’ve reached the terminal stage of this devolution. The neofeudal elites wish to undertake the final enclosure of all real assets – land, natural resources, physical space itself, buildings, infrastructure, and all the products of the mind. At the same time they want to cut all ties with human beings other than the ties of exploitation. They want to eradicate all semblance of government, law, and civil society, except insofar as these are weapons of domination or of pacification. They want to take totalitarian control of the Earth itself, enjoy a total license to do anything they wish and have this license enshrined as their “right”, while being absolved of literally ALL social or legal responsibility. These sociopaths, these willful outlaws, want to actually secede from civilization. They want to steal all the benefit of human interaction but incur zero reciprocal responsibility or obligation. They want to burn off all relationships between human and human, distilling them to the primal confrontation of master and slave in the dead of a wasteland. Since neither slaver nor slave can be human, these corporate fundamentalists wish to completely eradicate civilization and humanity itself. They are in fact post-civilizational barbarians.
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The TTIP (and TPP) as a whole is an assault on freedom, democracy, economic prosperity, and human happiness. It’s to be a major escalation of corporate tyranny, a major step toward corporate domination. As we should have abundant experience by now, all of its promises are lies, and none of its promised benefits will come true. It’ll only accelerate the corporate destruction of the real economy and what’s left of democratic politics, leaving behind only austerity, serfdom, hunger, disease, and an ever more severe police state.
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The rise of corporate rule has been a counterrevolution within the revolutionary age of fossil fuels, industrialism, capitalism, and democracy. Just as those, including the birth of the democratic consciousness, were features of the Oil Age, so was corporate rule a necessary countermeasure if the crypto-feudal parasites were to carry their prerogatives through the dangerous age.
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Now all of those except one must decline and perish. In prospect we perceive the feudal core now rising again in the form of post-capitalist corporate domination, and we experience whatever’s left of the democratic consciousness which is the one shining legacy of the fossil fuel age, the greatest lesson humanity has ever learned, the most marvelous gift we bestowed upon ourselves out of the seemingly endless and pointless travails of history. It’s now up to us to either embrace this democratic heritage and go forward boldly living it, or reject it and adhere to the noxious residue as eternal slaves in the darkness.
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Here’s my earlier TTIP posts. If you don’t read anything else, I strongly recommend reading at least part one about the coordination plan and the ISDS post.

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https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/the-ttip-and-the-right-to-profit-investor-to-state-dispute-settlement/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/03/03/the-ttip-and-globalizations-corporate-coordination-master-plan-1-of-3/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/03/05/the-ttip-and-the-corporate-coordination-master-plan-2-of-3-gmos/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/03/10/the-ttip-and-the-corporatist-coordination-plan-part-three/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/02/24/corporatism-and-globalization-the-context-of-the-ttip-and-tpp/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2014/02/10/the-ttip-corporatism-and-gmos/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2015/03/04/notes-toward-analysis-of-the-ttip-and-corporate-rule/

https://attempter.wordpress.com/2015/02/28/the-current-state-of-the-ttip/

February 12, 2015

“Welfare”

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(Someone asked me whether or not there was something philosophically bad about so-called “welfare”, using food stamps as his example. This was my reply.)
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1. Since all the wealth of government and corporations is stolen from the people who actually do the work in the first place, or is extracted at the socioeconomic and spiritual expense of those who are artificially rendered “unemployed” by a system which separates humanity from its ability to work, anything the people can get back from this system is automatically justified.
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2. For every penny of “welfare” there’s probably a thousand dollars of corporate welfare, so that right there renders “welfare” for human beings a non-issue anyway, from any practical or moral point of view. Like with so many other problems and issues, we’d have to abolish corporatism first and THEN see if there’s any problems left over with anything that actually benefits human beings.
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3. The money for this or any other government program doesn’t come from taxes paid by the working class, it comes from money the Fed prints. Taxes are not in fact necessary for a government to pay for things, but are rather a form of social control. (The way things are going now, with the Fed printing trillions to be directly handed over to Wall Street and other corporate sectors, is unproductive, destructive, and unsustainable, but that’s a different issue.)
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4. The food stamp system is intentionally set up to make it easy to procure junk food and difficult to obtain good food like fresh produce. I’ve worked at a farmers’ market and can attest to how hard it is to set up to accept food stamps. Different states do more or less to help with this. And then of course many food stamp recipients live in food deserts artificially created by the system, where fresh produce is hard to come by. So if some recipients use food stamps to buy junk food, that isn’t just some kind of individual turpitude. The far greater cause is the structural trap they’re in.
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5. But that outcome is intentional, since food stamps aren’t really meant to feed those who couldn’t otherwise afford to eat. Their main purpose is to be laundered corporate welfare for food manufacturers, just as farmer subsidies are laundered corporate welfare for the input manufacturers and commodifiers. That’s why food stamps are part of the same Farm Bill that enshrines Big Ag subsidies. That food stamps do help people eat is just a side effect from the government’s point of view.
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6. So although lots of people want to moralize about “welfare”, it’s actually meaningless and amoral to talk about it at all unless it’s placed in its political and socioeconomic context, where we see that it’s (A) utterly trivial compared to the magnitude and malignity of corporate welfare, (B) in many cases actually is laundered corporate welfare, (C) is helping people who have been rendered economically superfluous and unemployable (because the jobs no longer exist) by those same corporations, who control all government policy.
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I’ll go a step further and say it’s immoral and depraved to have no objection, and especially no moral/emotional objection, to trillions in corporate welfare which helps no one and is purely destructive, but to feel outraged over the few pennies the government still spends which actually can help actual human beings who have been impoverished and economically exiled by the policies of that same government.
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All my outrage is directed at corporate rule.

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November 17, 2013

The GMO Soy Project Faltering? It’s the FDA To the Rescue!

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It’s a typical dynamic of corporatism. Corporate aggression and government nanny-statism work hand in glove.
 
In this case it’s the FDA’s proposed ban on trans fats. Trans fats are an artificially generated problem of corporate food and of the industrial soybean project in particular.
 
Soybeans, like corn, are the subjects of a US government planned economy based on maximizing production without regard to any actual demand, and then forcing the overproduction into the marketplace by any means possible. Thus processed food was reinvented to buy up as much soy as possible.
 
But soybean oil doesn’t work very well for industrial food. It quickly turns rancid. In order to give it a tenable shelf life, it has to be hydrogenated. And this fills it with trans fats. The answer is to use other oils, not to hydrogenate this one. But that would hinder the corporate soy project. So the Tower of Babel must be built higher.
 
(Meanwhile there are health risks from the industrial soy diet in general. In Asian cuisine soy is eaten in a particular way – limited amounts, mostly as a condiment, with nutritionally complementary foods. But the way unfermented soy is crammed down the Western maw generates hormonal problems, thyroid problems, and may contribute to some cancers. The answer is to eat less soy period, and to eat it the way Asians do.)
 
On account of the trans fat problem, restaurants and manufacturers have switched on a large scale to other oils. This has indeed hindered the corporate soy project. In particular, shiny new Monsanto and DuPont GMO varieties, allegedly engineered to produce a lower-rancidity fat, all USDA-approved and dressed up for the ball, are languishing with few customers and few plantings. Poor little dears. What shall become of them?
 
THIS is a job for the FDA! And for the NYT, never backward in shilling for Monsanto. According to the piece, Monsanto and DuPont have high hopes that an effective ban on partially hydrogenated oils (which the FDA proposal would achieve) would open up a big market opportunity to reclaim lost soybean oil share.
 
The goal: Build the Tower of Babel yet higher!
 
No legitimate profit opportunity? Get the government to construct a planned economy of soy productionism! No market for it? Get the food industry to massively use soy oil! Soy oil doesn’t work, because it turns rancid? Hydrogenate it! Hydrogenation makes the food so unhealthy that even the FDA has to acknowledge it? Replace the regular (Roundup Ready GMO) soy with specially gene-silenced RR soy!
 
And what to do about the even worse problems this will lead to? Never fear – when psychopathy combines with power, no problem can’t be transcended by making it even worse. 
 
The piece is laden with standard corporate media lies: That this product would benefit consumers (replacing just one of the many poisons in a product with an even worse one is not a benefit); that existing GMOs benefit farmers (as the NYT hack knows, existing GMOs cost farmers more in input costs, and further indenture them economically); that GMOs were meant to help control weeds and insects (they were meant to escalate corporate profit, enclosure, control, power, domination; meanwhile the cartel knew that weed and insect control would quickly be subject to an ever-accelerating process of planned obsolescence as the RR and Bt-expressing crops dialectically generated superweeds and superbugs against themselves; this was part of Monsanto’s business plan); that the two new varieties were safety reviewed by the FDA (a “voluntary” review, no less!). As the NYT hack knows, the FDA doesn’t require any safety tests for ANY GMO. The voluntary process goes like this: Monsanto sends a letter to the FDA saying “this product is safe”. The FDA writes back saying “we understand that you say this product is safe”. That’s it. That’s the whole thing. Monsanto goes ahead and says the FDA signed off on the product’s safety, the FDA endorses this lie, and the corporate media starting with the NYT propagates the lie.
 
(There’s also an appearance by Michael Jacobson of the CSPI, which is rapidly becoming one of the most prominent of Monsanto front groups, and Jacobson himself one of the most vile shills.)
 
Meanwhile, the double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) genetic engineering process used in these soybeans presents special health hazards in addition to all the usual ones for which the federal government never requires safety testing. Not did it require testing in this case, in spite of the fact that this technology presents such health risks that even researchers within the USDA itself called for testing.
 
As the piece ruefully admits, this may be too little too late. Most restaurants and manufacturers have moved on to other oils. (Not that these are much better – GMO canola and palm oil, just as environmentally and socioeconomically ravaging as any GMO. The point is that corporate industrial agriculture and its food system as such is a poisonous, destructive, unhealthy system that produces toxic, expensive, poor-quality food.) Soybean oil has lost significant market share since 2005. An anonymous cadre from “one of the country’s largest food companies” said his company had already largely completed the switch to canola, “so I’m not sure why we would need to switch to these other products.”
 
But the soy-industrial complex is expressing optimism, and who knows what kind of government subsidies and other corporate welfare may be deployed to drive down the wholesale price of soybeans and soy oil so that it can regain that lost market share? The only thing we can be sure of is that the farmers themselves won’t see a cent of the “benefit” the corporate media trumpets.
 
Meanwhile, as usual there’s a perfectly good alternative within the soy complex itself. “Monsanto and Dow [sic; probably a typo for DuPont] could also face competition from a high-oleic soybean developed through conventional breeding, not genetic engineering, by researchers at the University of Missouri and the Agriculture Department.”
 
This kind of caveat can almost always be added to any media puff piece touting the latest greatest GMO. Indeed, the GM varieties have almost always merely pirated such conventionally bred varieties, merely injecting them with glyphosate tolerance so more poison can be sprayed upon them, rendering them toxic and nutritionally worthless.
 
So there you have it. This product merely builds upon an already tottering structure of failure and unhealthiness, and if you insist on continuing to build, lower cost and safer material exists.
 
But the US government is never interested in pushing the conventional alternative, since this isn’t profitable for its master Monsanto, it doesn’t contribute to the totalitarian enclosure of agriculture and food the way a proprietary GMO does, and it doesn’t contribute to the overarching corporatist role of GMOs in propping up corporatism as a whole.
 
Meanwhile the true alternative, for productive agriculture and healthy, delicious food, is decentralized agroecology. 
 

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June 17, 2013

The Corporate State is for Corporate Food, and Can Never Be for Community Food

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“Food safety” as a term does exactly the same political work as “war on terror”, and describes the same kind of corporate domination regime. Indeed, the Food Control Act includes provisions for Gleichschaltung between the FDA, USDA, etc. and Homeland Security. The Food Control Act also includes provisions to force domestic policy into line with globalization policies like those of the WTO.
 
Therefore, just as support for the Food Control Act (so far as I’ve seen, universal among the “food safety” NGOs) is de facto support for Monsanto, so it’s support for the food police regime, the militarization of “food safety” and imposing the race to the bottom on US food standards. The problem is the delusion or astroturfing fraud which wants to divide the corporate state into two “separate” halves, the nominal “government” and the extra-governmental “corporations”. Having performed this false separation, one then invents the fantasy, contrary to all the evidence, that “government” and “corporations” are somehow adversarial. But the corporate state is a monolith, the government artificially creates corporations in the first place, corporations are an extension of government, a veritable fourth branch totally unaccountable to the constitution or under any other conventional theory of the legitimacy of government, and this monolith then imposes a planned economy based on corporate welfare and the “government” serving as corporate taxman and thug. (Seeing distinctions between “government” and “corporation”, “public” and “private”, is just as false and misdirectional as to believe in a distinction between the “two” corporatist parties.)
 
Some are such yahoos as to want to divide the government itself into at least two different governments:
 
“If you think the U.S. government is doing a sub-par job of keeping your food safe, brace yourself. You could soon be eating imported seafood, beef or chicken products that don’t meet even basic U.S. food safety standards. Under two new trade agreements, currently in negotiation, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) could be powerless to shut down imports of unsafe food or food ingredients.”
 
But the FDA is part of the same bourgeois government, and performs the same function. It aggressively uses the power it has to do what it’s designed to do: aggrandize Big Drug and Big Ag and assault alternatives to these. It will be just as happy to not “shut down imports” as it is happy to not shut down domestic operations like Wright Eggs. It doesn’t even need specific policy guidelines for that kind of omission! But small raw milk producers who have never sickened anyone? There the FDA supermen are very Can Do. They’ve been using raw milk as a practice ground for the more general assault on Community Food and small organic production which the Food Control Act is intended to give “bipartisan” legislative cover.
 
(Those who think you can separate governments from corporations, and different parts of the government from one another no matter how intensively their actions are coordinated, are usually the same who also support corporations which are psychopathic IN PRINCIPLE, but still idiotically dream of separating the proper use of corporations from their “abuses”. But there’s no such thing as a corporate abuse. Monsanto has never committed an abuse. Not one. It’s always done exactly what it was designed to do.)
 
I can also never get enough of those who are supposedly anti-corporate but who use the enemy’s own propaganda terms like “free trade”.
 
I wrote this to express again how one cannot cherry-pick one’s favorite parts of the corporate state monolith, and then through fantasizing compel these parts to work for humanity against the corporations. If people want healthy, safe, nutritious food, and an economy and polity of food which are socially, economically, and politically healthy for people, then we have to build that for ourselves. We have to do it without the help of the corporate government, and most likely in opposition to such “help”. Since Western NGOs, radical chicists, and “progressives” insist on running interference for the state, we have to reject their ideology and prescriptions as well. (They’re still often useful for their reporting.)
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May 14, 2013

The Monsanto Court and Corporatism

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Sorry for the light posting for awhile. Lots of things to do, and lots of things on my mind.
 
I don’t have anything new to say right now about the “supreme” court’s anointment of Monsanto, but I’ll refer to what I already said.
 
One thing which occurs to me, as I read some stuff on this and see the confusion of liberals and radical-chicists, as well as those ostensibly concerned with food freedom, is that it’s another example of how no viewpoint other than total anti-corporatism is sufficient to understand the political world.
 
Thus, readers of this blog know that I predicted a unanimous pro-Monsanto decision. Similarly, almost everyone predicted wrongly that the corporate court would strike down Obama’s “health insurance” poll tax. But true anti-corporatists understood how essential it was to the corporate imperative that the commerce clause be extended in this totalitarian direction.
 
My point is that anti-corporatism demonstrates its superior predictive value, which in turn is evidence for its fundamental truth. It’s hard to see which competing world view, other than corporatism itself, accurately describes the state of civilization.

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April 6, 2013

Two-For-One Sale (Deficit Terrorism and the Monsanto Protection Act)

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1. There’s no such thing as a deficit crisis as such, and any “budget crisis” is purely fabricated. It’s a government exercise in trying to confuse and scare the people. That’s why the term “deficit terrorism” is precise and appropriate. What the central government and corporate media do in inventing this problem and then conjuring up a mass of fear-itself propaganda around it is a textbook case of terrorism in its psychological aspect. It’s a pressure group trying to sow fear and intimidation among a populace, in order to force political concessions out of it. In this case the enforced concession is always acquiescence in “austerity”, which is the willful and unnecessary gutting of whatever’s left of government spending which isn’t corporate welfare. (While I’m not here to affirmatively stick up for any aspect of the central government, I’ll always say that if you want to cut government spending for any reason whatsoever, the place to start is always with corporate welfare, which is the most egregious, worthless, and destructive kind of government spending. Abolish that, and then see what problems are left. The fact that conservatives and most “libertarians” support corporate welfare proves that they lie when they claim to oppose big government, massive taxation, massive regulation of the economy. Corporatism is always the most aggressive, malignant, and massive manifestation of all of these.)
 
Meanwhile, the fact that corporate welfare is never cut, is only constantly, massively expanded, is proof that no one in the system really thinks deficits or the debt are problems in themselves. It’s proof that anyone who says so is consciously, willfully lying, with malice aforethought. This would be very strong condemnatory evidence at a New Nuremburg, where it came time to try the Streicherist propagandists. 
 
2. The latest incarnation of the deficit kabuki had an added feature, a rider which turned an appropriations bill into what democracy advocates are calling the Monsanto Protection Act. This rider would neuter judicial review* of USDA GMO approvals, by allowing planting to continue even after courts find that the USDA hadn’t lived up to its mandatory procedures for approval. The rider is merely an extension of the standard GMO contamination process. The goal is to get the things into the ecosystem and economy, no matter how, and establish them as invasive weeds which are then extremely difficult to eradicate. In countries like Brazil and India the crops were widely illegally planted, and governments then claimed this accomplished fact as justification for legalizing them (which is what they’d wanted to do in the first place, but had refrained on account of democracy pressures). In the US the USDA simply defied a court order imposing a moratorium on Roundup Ready sugarbeets. Now the legislature is following up, legalizing the previously extra-legal and illegal procedures.
 
[*This legislative rider is the kind of thing which will satisfy the passive corporatists in the judicial branch. There’s almost no chance of courts finding the rider itself unconstitutional, since no judges I’m aware of find corporatism as such to be unconstitutional. None rule that constitutionally there’s no such thing as corporate “rights”. For example, that’s the way in which, fundamentally, Citizens United was a 9-0 decision. The so-called “5-4” was only on the technical ground that four passive corporatists didn’t want to overturn a law Congress had passed. But no one dissented on the ground that there’s no such thing as a corporate speech right. The fact that judicial passivists try to decide things as narrowly as possible is proof of their bias in favor of the status quo of power, regardless of any fundamental constitutional issue.]
 
3. Senator Mikulski, head of the appropriations committee, rammed the thing through over Jon Tester’s attempt to get the rider stripped. Only when she received severe criticism did she pretend not to have known what she was doing. This is certainly a lie. She did her job, serving the corporate imperative. That’s why she was given this committee chairmanship in the first place.
 
Under pressure, she seized the opportunity to make this a two-for-one. She not only served Monsanto, but gave as her excuse that this was necessary in order to accomplish the critical goal of getting the appropriations bill passed. She opportunistically tied her pro-Monsanto action with her action in propagating the fraud that the central government budget is in some kind of inherent crisis.
 
Sure enough, liberal NGO cadres rushed to her defense. A hack from the Center for Food Safety ran interference.
 

“The American public have relied on Senate Democrats to be a backstop against dangerous policy riders like this,” said Colin O’Neil, director of government affairs for the Center for Food Safety. “We call on [Mikulski] to ensure that this rider is stricken from any future appropriations bills.”

But, O’Neil added, the language did not originate with Mikulski. Rather, it was included in legislation that had been developed before she took the chairmanship….”Her hands were tied by the negotiations that had previously happened,” O’Neil said of Mikulski. “We recognize the tough spot she was in.”

O’Neil said food safety groups nevertheless hope to keep the pressure on Mikulski to get the language removed later this year, when the government must pass its next round of funding legislation.

 
(And to keep asking for money. And you see what your donations to the “food safety groups” pay for – pro-Monsanto lies, wherever the Democratic Party is involved, and endlessly fruitless “working within the system”. It also gets you those groups’ more vicious support for Monsanto’s corporate state, through their cheerleading for the Food Control Act.)
 
CFS chief Andrew Kimbrell put it this way:
 
In this hidden backroom deal, Senator Mikulski turned her back on consumer, environmental, and farmer protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto. This abuse of power is not the kind of leadership the public has come to expect from Senator Mikulski or the Democrat Majority in the Senate.
 
Contrary to such lies, this is exactly the kind of “leadership” we can always expect from the Democratic Party. The evidence record is massive, longstanding, and unblemished. If Kimbrell believes it, he’s simply exhibiting a pathological level of flat-earth cult-think. 
 
This is a good example two allied phenomena:
 
1. System NGO types, and liberals in general, are there as pro-corporate triangulators. We have two opposed trenchlines, humanity against corporatism. Liberals, and especially NGO types, are out in no-man’s-land, running interference, obstructing our shots, and helping to set up corporate shots.
 
2. System NGO types, and liberals in general, are there to build a fence and patrol it. This fence is meant to fence in the acceptable kind of dissent, with reformist ideology, and actions like “vote for Democrats”, “petition Obama”, perhaps “file a lawsuit” (ouch! this rider puts a crimp in that one!), qualifying as acceptable. Meanwhile actual analysis and criticism of the system itself, and the ideas and actions of fighting for real structural change, including advocacy of things that the vast majority of humanity actually wants, are to be fenced out and forbidden.
 
In this case the “anti-GMO movement”, in the wretched state it currently is, felt very uncomfortable condemning a famous liberal Democrat, and in such a critical context as the deficit fraud, so the likes of the CFS rushed to try to lull any grassroots anger, and erstwhile anti-GMO reportage sites rushed to publish these lying extenuations.
 
How is it that an excellent journalism site like GMWatch doesn’t recognize pro-GMO policy and deficit scaremongering, always meant to generate the political environment for imposing “austerity”, as affiliated aspects of corporatism? How is it they don’t see the obvious affinity between the corporate media’s manufactured “GMO science” and its similarly manufactured “deficit economics”? As the pieces they aggregated here demonstrate, the corporate system lies about the alleged need for a “budget deal” in the exact same anti-evidence, anti-rational way it lies about the alleged need for GMOs.
 
This is an example of how, to build a true abolition movement, we need a far more holistically and systematically anti-corporatist orientation. As things are, even the better groups and sites frequently lapse into their own kind of anti-holistic “NPK mentality”, as Albert Howard called it. It’s not constructive to be anti-GMO within a myopic mindset inclined to uncritically accept other aspects of corporatism. That’s not going to work toward abolishing GMOs.

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March 2, 2013

GMO Labeling Vis the True Food Sovereignty, GMO Abolition Movement

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Commenter Lidia posted an excellent report on her experience at an organizational meeting for Vermont Right to Know.
 
Here’s my somewhat negative review of the campaign, so far as I’ve learned about it from her and elsewhere. I’ll let this criticism of the Vermont effort stand in for my growing doubts about the whole “labeling” premise, which I see as, in general, a typical collaborationist “market solution” which by its nature cannot be any real solution; and in particular as part of the GMO “co-existence” scam. This is the scam whose basic premise is that organic agriculture and humanity can live in the same world with GMOs and the corporations who purvey them.
 
But we know this is false. GMOs are totalitarian, politically and environmentally. Totalitarian means there is literally no limit to one’s aspired domination, and that one in fact has the potential power to aspire to total domination. We know that Monsanto, the rest of the GMO cartel, and their flunkey governments recognize no limits to agricultural enclosure and domination. We know that’s the one and only reason GMOs exist in the first place. (They have no redeeming qualities, don’t work even at the two things they’re “supposed” to do, be herbicide tolerant and produce their own insecticide, have no natural market among farmers or eaters, and are 100% dependent on corporate welfare, government lies and thuggery, and trapping farmers on an indenture treadmill. Their one and only purpose, as Monsanto has been quite frank in stating, is total domination of the world food supply.)
 
We also know that GMOs cannot be prevented from contaminating and polluting every possible part of the ecology. Organic canola is basically impossible in Canada. Same for sugar beets in Oregon. It’s less and less possible to find non-polluted corn and soy shipments. This isn’t even counting the cartel’s intentional planting so as to contaminate the entire agriculture in Brazil, India, and perhaps with alfalfa in the US. Here too, there can be no co-existence. 
 
Are the organizers of labeling campaigns sincere about Food Sovereignty and abolishing GMOs? The fact that the Vermont organizers are already flouting the boycott of the corporations who gave money to defeat Right to Know doesn’t bode well. Nor is their evident place as part of the industrial organic complex. I don’t doubt that they’ve internalized much of the system mindset. Thus they’ve unilaterally dumbed the bill down to comply with central government directives, voluntarily racing to the bottom. (In California they did the same thing, and then added stupidity to timidity by saying stuff about THEIR OWN BILL like “loopholes are good”! I’d almost have wanted to vote No just out of contempt for such a lame campaign.)
 
It’s Politics 101 that you demand far more than you really want to achieve, and that where you’re trying to get Better Elitism (begging the elites for labeling is certainly an elitist strategy; indeed, here it’s not even a ballot initiative, but trying to get a law passed), you supplement it with as much grassroots direct action as possible. Therefore anyone sincere and competent would encourage direct labeling in the supermarkets, as one example of the kind of things citizens of a real democracy can and will do, as their right and responsibility.
 
The strategic principles listed at the event contain one good point – they acknowledge that the central government won’t do anything. (I hope they acknowledge that anything the central government does would be a scam.) So they’re capable of digesting the evidence that far. Maybe it’s possible for them to do so about state governments as well.
 
There’s also several bad points:
 
“Common language among all the state bills will offer “as level a playing field as possible” for food companies to comply”
 
As I said, voluntary racing to the bottom. And why would the people want to “offer a level playing field” to criminal organizations that never offered it to us? That have done all they can to deprive us of any playing field at all, let alone a “level one”. And why should we want to “play” this game at all, and with such cheaters?
 
“They “didn’t want retailers to have to be responsible” under the law (instead, producers)”
 
Why not? Is there a tactical rationale for this, or is it some stupid moral misguidance? Retailers had their chance to strangle GMOs in the cradle and chose instead to join the conspiracy against humanity. They’re enemies, not bystanders. As for what’s good tactics, I haven’t thought it through completely, but my first thought is that targeting the weak link, the most publicly exposed and vulnerable link, is often a good tactic. Supermarket chains are far more vulnerable than Monsanto. (Not to mention all their other bad effects.) It’s worked well in keeping most GMOs out of Europe. Perhaps the winningest union going, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers (one of the few that’s been winning at all), has based its strategy on targeting one retailer after another.
 
Most of all, it’s up to we the people to take matters into our own hands, not “the states”. But that truth may be frightening for some of these cadres, who by training and temperament may identify more with Monsanto than with small farmers, indigenous peoples, and true democracy activists (that is, active participatory citizens).
 
But here’s the core question to ask any advocate of system reformism, i.e. Better Elitism – When this fails, THEN what do you want to do? If the answer is vague, or boils down to, “keep doing what’s already failed, ad infinitum and ad nauseum”, we know we’re dealing with con artists whose only real agenda is to keep dissent firmly within system-endorsed bounds.
 
The right question would be, “If this doesn’t work, will you then convene a conference dedicated to enshrining abolition as the only goal, and working on strategy only toward this goal?”
 
We already have the fact that this was already tried in Vermont and already failed, for one reason and one reason only, because the state government doesn’t want to do it. So why would that same government change its mind? The same has been true in every other state where the legislative route has been tried. How much evidence will be needed? The fact is, where the propagators of the “co-existence” scam (of which labeling is a part) aren’t conscious liars (I think the likes of Whole Foods Market, Hirshfield, etc. certainly are), they’re still acting according to indelible system-compliant limitations. They’ve internalized the rules of the criminal system, and by now voluntarily collaborate with it. The real goal is to try to prevent a real anti-GMO and anti-corporate food movement from cohering and gathering force.
 
What could cause me to change my mind about this tactic and goal? It’s tough, because I argue that these campaigns have unilaterally pre-failed by making their proposed legislation so lame. I think labels for GMO-fed meat and dairy are also necessary. (I’m well aware that the central government claims to have “pre-emptive” power over this. So what? To unilaterally cave in on account of such a bogus and tyrannical presumption is hardly in the Spirit of ’76. Why not go ahead and challenge these usurpers? We can at least agree upon and publicize the fact of this usurpation and this illegitimacy. Would that cost the state money from the central government? If so, that should be seen as a feature and not a bug. We’re never going to take back our political and economic sovereignty while we remain a dependent cog of the central money system. Everything is interrelated, and we must be organic and holistic about our philosophy and activism. To think anti-GMO activism can be a stand-alone campaign which doesn’t fundamentally challenge the entire structure is, ironically, a perfect example of the NPK mentality that’s destroying our agriculture, and which was the ideological fount of GMOs in the first place.
 
On that note, I’ve heard of an ongoing secession movement in Vermont. I don’t know its specific ideology, but perhaps there’s a ready-made ally, once people get serious about Food Sovereignty.)
 
Leaving aside the scope of the labeling, I’d have to see the thing passed and fully enforced. More importantly, I’d have to see the campaign organize itself as a permanent grassroots organization dedicated to enforcement of this measure, and to expanding the action as far as it can go, toward full abolition. This is a non-negotiable baseline for any democracy activism worthy of the name. Within-the-system reforms like getting a law passed are always to be seen as supplementary to directly democratic movement-building and direct action.
 
But more likely, the elite organizers of the campaign wouldn’t see grassroots action as even a supplement to the “legalistic” action. On the contrary, we’d have proof that the campaign had been a con job if, once the bill was passed, the Leaders were to turn to whatever grass roots had sprung up and say, “We won! Now you can disband and go home. We, Your Betters, will now confer with our fellow elites in government and at the corporations. We’ll try to keep you posted.”
 
I’d say that if we the people want to support a labeling campaign, we must do so as a parallel grassroots organization, built from day one to be a permanent, ever-growing movement. Under no circumstances should we let ourselves be “led” by elites, however well-meaning they may seem. We must lead ourselves.
 
I think the answer is that existing groups won’t be part of the true wellspring which shall one day surge to a purifying Flood.
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June 10, 2012

We’re All Lumpenproles Now – GMO Death Camps

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The Green Revolution is still fraudulently touted as having helped to “feed the world”. This Big Lie is necessary to justify the sequel, that a second GMO revolution is necessary to continue this feeding.
 
In reality, agriculture doesn’t strive to feed a population which spontaneously increases. Cause and effect go in the opposite direction – industrial agriculture is a supply-driven process, and to the extent this extra food is available to the populace, population will increase in response.
 
What the Green Revolution really did was drive up the population while accelerating the arc of enclosure, driving ever more people off the land and into the cities. Shantytowns were the direct, intended result of this agricultural policy. The goal (as proven by the fact that it’s been the clear result, and that elites have continued the policy in light of this result; that proves that they intend the result) was to further separate humanity from the land, further assault subsistence food economies and replace them with food commodification, forcibly turn subsistence farmers into “job”-seekers, drive up the population, drive up the proportion of the population which is food insecure, drive up the number of unemployed, in both of the latter ways increase the desperation and infighting among the destitute masses, and in all these ways aggravate and accelerate the processes of colonialism and corporatism in general. Today’s GMO onslaught is an escalated version of all this. That’s why neoliberalism calls GMOs a “second green revolution”.
 
It doesn’t increase yield (temporarily cheap, plentiful fossil fuels, along with age-old traditional breeding, did that), and it’s not intended to. It’s not more efficient, and it’s not intended to be. It’s more “efficient” only from the point of view of purging human labor from the corporate economy and purging human beings from the land.
 
I defy anyone to explain how the logic isn’t that human beings (except for a rump slave class) must be physically purged from the Earth itself.
 
A real Nazi like Hitler at least had intellectual and moral clarity regarding his policy, unlike corporate liberals or conservatives. They follow the exact same logic, but out of cowardice or stupidity remain willfully ignorant of the fact.
 
But what could it mean to want to purge all people from the land, but not want their physical deaths? A shantytown makes zero sense from ANY point of view – moral, rational, practical. Even from the point of view of the most predatory, exploitative corporation, a shantytown is nothing but a waste dump, filled with potentially dangerous toxic waste. (It’s rare, but the inhabitants do sometimes rise up against the system.) The only way to make any sense whatsoever of the phenomenon is to view shantytowns as putative death camps.

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