Volatility

October 25, 2016

The Reason: The Police State, Drug War, and Prison Complex

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According to the tenets of the cult of electoralism, the voters enforce their will at each election and get the policy they voted for. Therefore, as we’ve previously discussed, the overwhelming majority of American voters are pro-war, want to poison their own children’s food and water and escalate the control of all agriculture and food by agribusiness, want to continue and escalate the finance sector’s domination of the economy and politics, want to push the climate crisis to its worst possible extremes, and want a health care system which delivers awful care at horrendous prices as long as this is profitable for the health insurance companies. Their votes for, just to name a few of the most recent, Bush, Clinton, Dole, Bush, Gore, Kerry, Obama, McCain, Romney, Trump, Clinton, consistently prove they want all these, since a vote for any of these criminals is a vote for all these crimes. The same would be true for any alleged “dissident” or “alternative” within the Corporate One-Party.
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Today we’ll add four more which go together.
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1. If everyone who claimed to oppose police brutality and militarization and the surveillance state would refuse to vote for any police totalitarian, America would not be threatened with such an anti-American, anti-freedom internal enemy.
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The reason the US government has enshrined police militarization, the surveillance state, and systematic racist and classist brutality is not because of those who are openly fascist. It’s primarily because almost all who claim to oppose police totalitarianism and systemic brutality are frauds who really support these. Their vote proves it.
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2. If everyone who claimed to oppose the Drug War would refuse to vote for any Drug Warrior, America would abolish this idiotic, irrational, immoral campaign which worsens all the phenomena of the police and prison state and benefits no one but corporations and thug bureaucracies.
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The reason the US government continues to wage this war of aggression against the people and the environment is not because of those who are openly bigoted against a few arbitrarily selected “illegal” drugs (of course almost all of these bigots get loaded on various kinds of legal dope, and many on the illegal as well). It’s primarily because almost all who claim to oppose the Drug War are frauds who really support it. Their vote proves it.
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3. If everyone who claimed to oppose the prison-industrial complex and privatization of prisons would refuse to vote for anyone with a gutter jailor mentality, America wouldn’t have by far the most imprisoned population in human history, a pure totalitarian metric and an absolute obscenity against any notion of human freedom.
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The reason the US government continues this obscene imprisonment offensive and escalates the enshrinement of prison and the corporate enslavement of prisoners as a profit-generating system isn’t because of those who openly worship the prison system and shriek “Lock ’em up!” the second they hear of a jaywalker. It’s primarily because almost all who claim to find the prison system inhumane, cruel and unusual, and who deplore the privatization of the system, are really frauds who support all this and want it to continue. Their vote proves it.
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4. If everyone who claimed to oppose the accelerating destruction of civil liberties would refuse to vote for anyone who holds these liberties in contempt, America would be strongly committed to cherishing, protecting, and exercising these liberties.
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The reason the US government continues to destroy all civil liberties isn’t because of those who openly despise them. It’s primarily because almost all who claim to value civil liberties, including almost all who pose as civil liberties activists, are really frauds happy to see these wiped out. Their vote proves it.
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Police militarization, police surveillance, police brutality, police racism, the Drug War, the pandemic of imprisonment, the general assault on civil liberties, all these being both government and corporate assaults, the corporate state being a monolith: These all go together, and every system politician is an aggressor against the people in all these ways. The politicians of the Corporate One-Party fear, loathe, and despise human freedom with every fiber of their being. Their actions prove it. And in turn the action of voting for any such totalitarian proves that the voter is a supporter of this totalitarianism.
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And these are all of one piece with war, environmental and agricultural assault and destruction, climate change, Wall Street’s intentional destruction of the economy and stealing of literally trillions of dollars from the people, the captivity of the health care system by the insurance racket. The corporate system is dedicated to total corporate domination and the general destruction of the entire human endeavor of society and civilization, in order to debase these to the status of nothing but a predation range for corporate gangsters.
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The Corporate One-Party in both its “Democrat” and “Republican” flavors is absolutely, unequivocally, uncompromisingly committed to this vision of humanity and the earth as nothing but a resource mine and waste dump. There is no shade of gray here, no spectrum of nuance, no trade-off to ponder. All that is evil lines up completely on one side, the side of elite institutions including the single political party they field and the fraudulent elections they put on.
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While this fact in itself doesn’t prove what is good, it does prove that there is no good to be found in this political system, nothing to redeem, nothing to reform, even in principle. It proves that it’s impossible to take part in these sham elections other than as an enthusiastic agent of evil, as the premise of the electoral cult and this series of posts would have it, or as a cheering-for-evil but powerless extra, which is the reality.
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May 1, 2016

Remembering the American Revolution

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In honor of May Day I’d like to salute the original American Revolution. This was the first stage which was so quickly put on ice, but which we now have high hopes to resume, in the true spirit of this great democratic revolution.
 
In school we’re taught that the Articles of Confederation were a hopelessly parochial and unworkable mishmash, and that the 1788 Constitution was a triumph of reason, wisdom, practicality, and morality. The truth is that the Articles were indeed flawed and inefficient, but not in the way the system schools teach. They’re flawed in a very particular way. Namely, they weren’t well suited for the kleptocratic imperial designs of Alexander Hamilton, Robert Morris, Edmund Randolph, James Wilson, John Adams, and others. 
 
The Revolutionary War was won, not by generals like George Washington, let alone by banksters like Robert Morris or the already corrupt Congress. It was won by the common soldier. These, the type of citizens represented by the 1776 Pennsylvania Constitution* (to the extent this kind of written Constitution can truly represent), fought not just for the merchant revolution the way the Sons of Liberty did in Boston, but for a more democratic and egalitarian economic order.
 
[*This Constitution still excluded women and implicitly recognized slavery, and still recognized land and resource “property”. But by opening with a Bill of Rights (a despised afterthought in 1788) superior to the 1788 version in several key ways, enshrining universal male suffrage, rejecting central pre-emption, explicitly declaring the people’s sovereignty, explicitly declaring the people’s right to abolish any rogue government, outlawing debtors’ prisons, imposing sunshine requirements for legislation, and in many other ways, it represents a significant step toward full representative democracy, which in turn could be a step toward true positive democracy. Its framers, and the grassroots movement they represented, wanted government to act as a restraint on finance tyranny and merchant greed (the Pennsylvania assembly, in one of the few clear-cut victories the people ever scored against the banksters, revoked the charter of Robert Morris’ bank), they wanted a rational, constructive money supply, they wanted debt relief, and in general they wanted a political system which enfranchised and benefited those who work and which based the economy on productive work and the polity on a democracy of productive citizens. While we may debate whether “government” as the 18th century saw it was ever necessary (it certainly no longer is), there’s no dispute over the fact that if such a government had to exist at all, then the 1776ers were doing their best to make it as representative as it could be.
 
The 1776 Constitution was on a vector. By contrast, the 1788 Constitution was designed to foreclose any further democratic movement. On the contrary, its main vector was to concentrate power and wealth up the hierarchy, and to help build an empire for this new ruling class.]
 
The main action of Congress during the war was to issue scrip to pay the soldiers and IOUs to the citizens from whom supplies were often “requisitioned”. These pieces of paper were intended to devalue to near-worthlessness. Then, once speculators had gobbled up much of this paper at often less than ten cents on the dollar, the Congress voted to pay it off at face value. The very citizen-soldiers who had actually fought and won the war and then been defrauded of their wages, and the very workers and farmers who had had their goods taken from them and then been defrauded of payment, were now saddled as taxpayers with a public odious debt to the very con-men who had defrauded them.
 
Soldiers had been forced under economic coercion to sell all they’d earned at pennies on the dollar, and were often plunged by their war service into personal debt to the very merchants now speculating on their scrip. Congress now turned around and doubly empowered these criminals, as public creditors who could demand that government tax the people (“open the purses of the people”, in Morris’ descriptive phrase) to make good on their speculative bets against the people, and as personal creditors who could demand that government enforce their demand to now be paid in government-issued, specie-based cash, whereas previously debts could usually be paid in real goods. This double assault threatened to dispossess and indenture the very people who had fought and won the war, and on whose behalf the war had been fought in the first place, according to the Declaration of Independence.
 
The basic plan of Hamilton and Morris: A strong central government would identify its interests with the creditor class and turn the private accounts of these speculators into the public’s debt, turning itself into the thug arm of this finance scam. (Like I said above, many citizens would thus be doubly on the hook.) This would reassure Old World finance, enabling the new US government to borrow overseas. The US system could use this free-flowing credit to build up its own military, police, and bureaucratic power and to use these aggressively, to imperially expand across the continent and to enforce its prerogatives (i.e., the prerogatives of the ruling class) against the citizenry at home. The American public would have to pay off the debt incurred to pay for this monstrous parasite upon it. Taxation power would be necessary to carry out this function, and would in turn serve as a pretext to further concentrate government power. This hierarchical concentration of centralized government power, along with the double assault of taxation and indenture, would help break the democratic movement. This elite hijacking of a quasi-democratic revolution was a typical imperialist crime. From the point of view of the people, it was another enclosure onslaught, and a war of total destruction vs. local economies and democracies. So the new system began with a massive crime against the people, and against war veterans in particular.   
 
This was nothing new to the true citizens of the colonies. They already had long experience of such oppression. Prior to the war the people had long engaged in direct action against the oppression both of the British (for example the Sons of Neptune in Boston, after whom the Sons of Liberty were named in part) and of home-grown corruption and tyranny, most famously the Regulator movement in North Carolina and elsewhere.
 
Now the people of Massachusetts took up the Regulator mantle. In 1786 a spontaneous movement of veterans and workers rose up to forcibly resist debt tyranny and thuggery. This was Shay’s Rebellion. In spite of tremendous good will and courage, this attempt to carry on the principles of the American Revolution fizzled out (as spontaneous peasant revolts usually do) and was followed by the usual repression. It was in this context that the alleged democrat Samuel Adams issued this cry of freedom: “The man who dares to rebel against the laws of a republic ought to suffer death.” No neoliberal corporatist of today could sum it up better. 
 
By 1787 sufficient evidence had piled up that the Articles of Confederation lacked “sufficient checks against the democracy”, as Randolph put it at the Convention. From the 1776 Pennsylvania Constitution to the revocation of Morris’ bank charter, from the general difficulties Hamilton was having putting through his centralized finance plan to Shay’s Rebellion and the bad memories of the Regulators it stirred up, the elites knew they needed to radically revamp the government blueprint. They needed a constitution which would centralize government, strongly concentrate it, turn it into a versatile and brutal weapon on behalf of finance assaults, military aggression, and police repression.
 
From any other point of view, the Articles were fine. That’s why the 1787 convention was undertaken with ulterior motives from its inception. It was sold to the people as just a tweaking of the existing system, not a radical transformation. Only once the Convention was seated did it then set to work devising a fully centralized, hierarchical, top-down, finance-based big government.
 
Why the 1788 Constitution? Not the vague words of the civics textbooks about the inadequacy of the Articles. No – finance elites and propertied aristocrats were in a panic over how close to success Shay’s Rebellion had come, and over the many other ways in which the democratic movement was striving to continue the American Revolution, to bring its proclaimed principles into practice. With horror they discovered that the existing government wasn’t strong enough. By that I don’t mean strong enough for regular law and order and to organize rational, equitable trade; it was certainly sufficient for those. It wasn’t strong enough to enforce economic tyranny. That’s why they wrote and imposed a new “constitution”. The new order – Hamilton’s kleptocratic plan, and the thug arm to carry it out – was put to the test with the excise tax on whiskey and the subsequent “whiskey rebellion”. While the new central government was still too weak to enforce this tax throughout most of the back country, it was strong enough to do so in one critical territory, western Pennsylvania. That was enough of a show of force to intimidate much of the populace. The central government’s “authority” was now established.
 
What does it all mean today? We must continue the neglected, derelict revolution. The real fighters for freedom were the foot soldiers of the Revolutionary War, who fought in the spirit and for the ideal of the grassroots democratic activists, from the Regulators to the 1776 Pennsylvania constitutionalists to the Massachusetts rebels for democracy to the backcountry fighters against Hamilton’s taxation onslaught. These, and all true democracy activists since, on up to the Occupy movement of today, and on the grand scale the global Food Sovereignty movement, have been the real heroes of the revolution.
 
It’s the Spirit of ’76 against the anti-spirit of 1788. Which year rings more true to us today, as we see the full development of the economic and political centralization process enshrined in 1788? There’s only one path forward: We must resume the American Revolution.
 
 

March 6, 2016

Prospects and Stagnation

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Regarding opposition to poison-based agriculture a friend asked, “Where’s the outrage?” The elemental outrage which historically has driven the great movements? No, there’s very little of that so far in the US. As far as Roundup and GMOs, lots of people are basically in a consumerist snit, but that’s all. I understand how it seemed to make sense to take up the labeling idea at first, back in the 1990s (along with some other ideas which seemed plausible back then, like “better testing” or the precautionary principle), but shouldn’t we have matured way beyond that by now?
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But not only are people terminally mired in the co-existence, consumerist ideology, but they’re digging in on refusal to even listen to alternative ideas. Thus the GMO Free USA Facebook group has started censoring my posts (i.e., simply refusing to post them; they’ve lately set up a filtering system, evidently to suppress “undesirable” ideas) starting with this piece, which my friend praised for what she saw as its optimism. I myself thought the piece was quite modest and was simply asking whether people intend to keep fighting a war of attrition against the DARK Act forever and ever, and whether they ever intend to move on to a more assertive position. But clearly the labeling idea* is becoming a political monoculture which needs its own version of Roundup against its own version of weeds.
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Well, they want their endless DARK Act two-to-tango, and they’ll have it until the thing finally passes. At that point, according to their own testimony, most of them will pack it in and go home. When I say something like, “If the DARK Act and the TPP are forced upon us, that’s when the REAL fight has to start”, they clearly have zero idea what I’m even talking about.
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So there seems to be precious little of the spirit that got Christianity and Islam going, got the American and French Revolutions going, got capitalism and communism going, got the original abolition movement going, got suffragism and Prohibition and unionism and civil rights going, that got the American Populist movement going. So for someone like me who thinks that kind of movement commitment is what’s needed against this worst onslaught in history, in the US it’s still stagnation times for now. As I posted in January, I think the American Populist movement provides the kind of template we need. But no template can work without the Populist type of moral commitment.
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*I stress that most people want only the “idea” of labeling and couldn’t care less about the real thing. I was surprised to see how joyously most people embraced the Campbell’s ad campaign, which to me was clearly a stale old scam. Obviously I overestimated people’s knowledge of the GMA’s history as well as how sincere they were about effectively strong labeling or about a “right to know” (obviously a democratic and therefore anti-technocratic idea). It turned out that all most “labeling” people want is something they can call “mandatory labeling”, regardless of how weak, fraudulent, and preemptive it is. Just as they have a co-existence/consumerist mentality and not a political one, so they have a technocratic mentality and not a democratic one. The most bizarre, cult-like part is how they clearly believe there’s two different FDAs, the “bad” FDA of substantial equivalence and GMOs-are-GRAS, and the “good” FDA which they want to put preemptively in charge of labeling. But in the reality-based universe there’s only one FDA, and it’s 100% pro-GMO. So self-evidently any labeling it ever presided over would be done in the most Monsanto-friendly way possible. Yet even groups I used to think were firmly against preemption are all wobbling, while the rest sell out as fast as they can. It’s clear what a disastrously wrong turn the whole commitment to labeling as “the” idea has become. But a lot of people are just as committed to this idea as pro-GMO types are to the idea of pesticide-based agriculture, and there’s simply no arguing with such types.
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One of the “anti-GMO” groups someone recently touted to me said explicitly in its group description, “we don’t want members arguing with one another”. Now there’s the spirit that gets real movements going. Historically, real movements haven’t started with ferocious disputation to thrash out the necessary ideas, oh no. The funny part is how Lynas, Campbell’s, the Cornell propaganda bureau and others have explicitly said that they fear controversy and “polarization” most of all. So it’s telling how, both among themselves and in their dealings with the GMA contingent, the labelists are so firm in wanting the same defusing, depolarization, “consensus”, everything designed to put the whole movement on ice. This is actually quite a testament to the raw material among the people: Even with the overwhelming temporal power of the pesticide and GMO cartels and the bona fide religious fanaticism of the scientism/techno-cult, the strong discipline and focus of both of these factions, contrasted with the inept and lukewarm, and often treacherous, “leadership” of the anti-GMO movement in the US (things are often better around the world), even given this seemingly lopsided situation it’s still such a constant uphill and very expensive struggle, financially and politically, for the cartel and the cult. I say this is a great testament to the powerful inertia of the people against the Poisoners. Imagine what a real abolition movement could accomplish. (I suppose those committed to labeling would want to claim credit for hindering the poison cartel’s progress, but the fact is that the progress continues nevertheless in spite of the will of the people, and the people have also voted against labeling each chance they’ve had to vote for it, while county-level bans have had much better success. The evidence is that the poison cartel is mostly resisted inertially on account of its self-evident evil, but as far as taking action people respond to more aggressive, ecological ideas, and not to lukewarm, reductionist, consumerist ideas which really seem to be part of the same system which has gone so badly wrong in the first place. Deep down everyone knows co-existence is impossible.)
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Oh well, all this means it’s time to step back and focus on my book. The necessary abolitionist mindset can only develop organically or else never develop at all. For the moment it’s a slow development, though history proves one can never know when there will suddenly be a sea change. At any rate, I’ll just keep writing and see what happens. And I’ll still say we ought to launch a targeted campaign to ban glyphosate. But I’m a little sick of reminding labelists that their idea doesn’t even lay a finger (with a label or otherwise) on pesticides, a vastly worse evil even than GMOs in themselves.
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January 18, 2016

The Spirit of King Against Poison Agriculture

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In April 1963, Martin Luther King and many of his fellow Birmingham direct actionists sat in jail. They had expected such a response from the segregationist power structure. Unfortunately, it was also predictable that they’d be hearing criticism and condemnation from most of the people who in theory should have been on their side. King seems to have anticipated this, as he was able to respond immediately with an eloquent refutation and exposure of this collaborationist position. This was the great Letter From Birmingham Jail.
Here King faces those who object to demonstrations, to boycotts, sit-ins, civil disobedience in general, indeed to anything but the most tepid (and “civil”) criticism which is guaranteed to remain impotent. He opens up with their immortal objection to any real resistance, that it’s “unwise and untimely”. Today this could be the signature of all who are lukewarm.
As King knew, protest is always timely and wise in the broadest sense. As for the specific timing, we who want humanity and the Earth to have a future must recognize when the time has come, and when today is the day. Our task today isn’t the same as that of the Civil Rights Movement. They sought a specific set of reforms. They were up against an obsolete set of attitudes and practices which were mostly an embarrassment to corporate power and which wouldn’t interfere with corporate imperatives. (Indeed as we’ve seen, the end of segregation was put to good political use by corporate power. It has helped render racially astroturfed divide-and-conquer even more insidious and harder to counteract. This is the crime of the corporations and the rich and the fault of malingering racists themselves, not of desegregation. But we should be aware of this history of corporate domination.)
Today we need nothing less than to abolish pesticides and GMOs, which comprise a technological and organizational offensive against humanity. We need to transform our agriculture and food systems on the basis of moral, just, rational, and scientific agroecology. We must build this alternative to the corporate agriculture and food system, counter to it where possible, in resistance to it where necessary. This is a permanent necessity, whose goal is the eventual complete replacement of this world of crime and malice by a world of democracy and universal prosperity.
We’ll constantly be expressing the need for total abolition, and along the way we’ll probably encounter many opportunities for the kind of direct action and civil disobedience campaigns King so masterfully led. Two examples are direct action against GMO plantings, and civil disobedience on behalf of the Community Food movement which the corporate system is trying to repress as an economic and political threat to its domination. Up against these, we’ll no doubt also often encounter the same sort of opposition, including the opposition King specifically addresses in his Letter.

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

When we speak of the global ecological and human network and the global corporate assault upon it, in particular the global onslaught of poison-based agriculture, we know that anyone who lives in the Earth can never be considered an outsider anywhere upon it. (And conversely, corporations and the hominid functionaries of corporations are purely alien to the Earth, just squatters on its surface, and can never be considered part of it.)

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

1. There can be no doubt at all about the injustice.
There’s many reasons to fight to abolish Monsanto and GMOs. They’re agriculturally and environmentally totalitarian. They inevitably contaminate all other crops and the environment, and accelerate soil, water, air, and habitat destruction. They accelerate the same climate change which is cited as one of the reasons corporate agriculture allegedly must provide “new technology”. The more that GMOs are field tested and commercialized, i.e. the longer they exist at all, the worse this contamination shall become, and the more we’ll pass points-of-no-return where the contamination shall become significantly malign and irreversible.
They’re economically and politically totalitarian. The GMO cartel is increasing what’s already a non-competitive monopoly concentration in the seed sector. It aggressively uses this position to build horizontal and vertical monopoly power, enforce its dictates up and down the food production and distribution chains, drives non-GM seed varieties out of the market and increasingly out of existence (our most recent big demonstration of that has been the revelation that non-GM industrial sugar beet varieties were laregly driven out in just a few years of Roundup Ready dominance), greatly jack up seed prices, force obscenely lopsided “contracts” upon farmers, persecute farmers with harassment, thuggery, and lawsuits, and get governments to enact repressive seed laws intended to escalate and accelerate this whole process.
 
That’s just one way in which the GMO cartel has seized control of governments around the world. While governments are naturally controlled by corporate power, the kind of control being exercised by the GMO corporations, and the unique threat to humanity and the Earth posed by such corporate control over agriculture and food, render this form of corporate control over government particularly nefarious. Humanity must purge this clear and present danger to our freedom, our democracy, and our literal survival.
 
GMOs and pesticides also present a clear and present danger to our health. In 2015 the IARC confirmed what campaigners and science have long known, that glyphosate causes cancer. Similarly, we know that all pesticides are endocrine disruptors and are genotoxic, and therefore are all carcinogenic at low doses. All independent studies, and even almost all of the corporations’ own rigged studies, find reason for concern or alarm. The genetic engineering process itself, and the massive glyphosate residues in our food and water, wreck our microbiome (our internal gastrointestinal microbial community with which our bodies cooperate for mutual health), cause gastrointestinal inflammation which leads to every kind of disease, trigger escalations in allergies, asthma, autism, and every other kind of autoimmune disease, cause cancer, organ damage, infertility, miscarriages, and birth defects. These are just the best documented effects. Glyphosate-tolerant crops are also nutritionally denuded, and eating the processed foods made from them merely adds to the nutritional deficiency already inherent in diets centered on such “foods”, and the many diseases this can cause or exacerbate.
 
The most amazing thing is how all this is over such a pathetic, worthless product. GMOs are shoddy, antiquated, failure-prone products based upon a backward, luddite mental framework (that the way to deal with crop pests and disease is with poison) which don’t work for any purpose which could actually help people. Their yield is poor, no improvement over non-GM conventional agriculture. They require far more pesticides than non-GM conventional agriculture. By helping weeds and insect pests build resistance to pesticides, they generate superweeds and superbugs against themselves, uncontrollable by the same poisons which were supposed to be the reasons for having these GMOs in the first place. The ”special” GMOs – those for drought resistance, vitamin fortification, nitrogen-fixing, etc. – are all media hoaxes.
 
All these factors build the despair, anger, and sense of social, political, and economic cramp which are driving the March Against Monsanto, and the vast global movement of which it’s a part.
 
The trenchline runs across the global South, while here behind enemy lines in the West we are rising to take back our corporate-invaded land and agriculture.
 
2. Not that we the people owe it to those who are in principle our public servants to negotiate with them, but nevertheless we have done so ad nauseum. For decades now, starting before GMOs were ever commercialized, scientists and public health advocates have called for mandatory long-term safety testing of GMOs and actual regulation. (I don’t say “better regulation”, since there was never ANY regulation.) Citizens have fought for GMO labeling in all the states of the union. Citizens have fought for and passed anti-corporate legislation at the local level. Citizens and farmers have filed lawsuits like OSGATA vs. Monsanto. Almost everyone involved with the rising Community Food movement has wanted to do so with the blessing of the power structure and has been appeasement-minded about it.
 
No, we’ve done all we can to negotiate. The fact is, representative democracy itself, the periodic elections, were supposed to constitute such negotiations. But we see that this was always a sham. System politicians have never done anything but lie to the people, and have never felt the slightest obligation to live up to their promises after the election. Indeed, many ideologues of pseudo-democracy (if not the practicing liar politicians themselves) have explicitly argued that the “representative” has no obligation to his constituents at all after the election is over, but is free to “vote his conscience”, conscience usually being a euphemism for corrupt personal interest.
 
Reasonable people have to concede that the “negotiation” failed. We can never have a responsible, responsive, legitimate government in its current form.
 
In his own context, Martin Luther King came to a similar conclusion.
 

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

 
All that was left was self-purification, and then you go out there and do it.
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
All this is morally and intellectually clear. Today we can add that just laws would be laws and policy in harmony with ecosystems and interrelating constructively with them, since the only thing which biologically exists are these ecological relationships. Agricultural and ecological pioneers long knew this intuitively and empirically, and over the course of the 20th century science has confirmed it. By contrast, poison-based agriculture, genetic engineering, “intellectual property”, property in land, the corporate-held agricultural system, segregates we the people from our work, from our land, from our food, from our own bodies. The whole ideology of scientism, technocracy, instrumental reason, arises out of a fundamental self-loathing and hatred for the physical earth and the physical human body.
 
The “I and Thou” invoked by Buber and King also signifies the human affinity with the Earth, its natural ecosystems, its soil, its crops, its food, and especially the earthly human labor which indelibly interacts with these. The “I and It” demarcates our sundering from all that makes us human, our forced exile driven by corporate agriculture. Alien, anti-human corporations and all that is of them renders human society a destructive and self-destructive parasite squatter on the surface of the earth, no longer a constructive part of it. With every action corporate agriculture expresses its contempt for the earth. It insults the soil as the cradle of all complex life, treating it as nothing but an inert medium. It insults the seed as the universal embryo, treating it as a commodity to be painted, pimped, and most of all controlled. It adds the obscene injury of its wholesale poisoning of the soil, air, water, crops, and environment.
 
Legally and ideologically also this is a surface squatter regime and an obscene alienation of humanity. The land, the soil, the very seed are “owned”, which word we must render in all corporate contexts as controlled and dominated by an alien, anti-human entity. Indeed, a patent on a seed is alienation squared, since the patent is an abominable segregation and sundering of we the people from our common heritage, and it’s “owned” by an alien, anti-human entity whose very existence is also such an abomination.
 
Economically also this is a surface squatter regime and an obscene alienation from humanity. Growing our food is the essential human labor, the core human economic activity, the primary economy, and a deep spiritual endeavor. It’s the main form of our communion with the earth and our thread of its harmony. We’re now to be alienated from this, driven off the land. For the Western middle class, into spiritual ghettos. For the Global South, into physical concentration camps called shantytowns. And in the longer run this bell tolls also for us in the West, as our economic liquidation proceeds and the capitalist era deteriorates to a more brutally direct mode of tyranny. 
 
We’re all too familiar with this type today:
 

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

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

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

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

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

 
That’s the hardest thing, to overcome the feeling of astronomical intimidation. The mission is daunting, and existing institutions are unlikely to offer any support:
 

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

 
This will ring true for us today wherever we transpose it to any institution of the corporate-dominated system.
 

I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour. But even if the church does not come to the aid of justice, I have no despair about the future. I have no fear about the outcome of our struggle in Birmingham, even if our motives are at present misunderstood. We will reach the goal of freedom in Birmingham and all over the nation, because the goal of America is freedom. Abused and scorned though we may be, our destiny is tied up with America’s destiny. Before the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, we were here. Before the pen of Jefferson etched the majestic words of the Declaration of Independence across the pages of history, we were here. For more than two centuries our forebears labored in this country without wages; they made cotton king; they built the homes of their masters while suffering gross injustice and shameful humiliation -and yet out of a bottomless vitality they continued to thrive and develop. If the inexpressible cruelties of slavery could not stop us, the opposition we now face will surely fail. We will win our freedom because the sacred heritage of our nation and the eternal will of God are embodied in our echoing demands…

I wish you had commended the Negro sit inners and demonstrators of Birmingham for their sublime courage, their willingness to suffer and their amazing discipline in the midst of great provocation. One day the South will recognize its real heroes. They will be the James Merediths, with the noble sense of purpose that enables them to face jeering and hostile mobs, and with the agonizing loneliness that characterizes the life of the pioneer. They will be old, oppressed, battered Negro women, symbolized in a seventy two year old woman in Montgomery, Alabama, who rose up with a sense of dignity and with her people decided not to ride segregated buses, and who responded with ungrammatical profundity to one who inquired about her weariness: “My feets is tired, but my soul is at rest.” They will be the young high school and college students, the young ministers of the gospel and a host of their elders, courageously and nonviolently sitting in at lunch counters and willingly going to jail for conscience’ sake. One day the South will know that when these disinherited children of God sat down at lunch counters, they were in reality standing up for what is best in the American dream and for the most sacred values in our Judaeo Christian heritage, thereby bringing our nation back to those great wells of democracy which were dug deep by the founding fathers in their formulation of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

 
Today, although for we who a relatively advantaged in the West the conflict isn’t over de jure slavery (but there’s still much of that worldwide) nor over de jure segregation (but land policy is very effective at “segregating” out of existence small farmers who produce food for the community and do so without poisons), we are being economically destroyed and physically malnourished and poisoned. We are literally being given cancer. Ecosystems, carbon sinks, arable soil all over the world are being physically poisoned and destroyed. New crop deployments based on massive upsurges in 2,4-D and dicamba will turn vast swathes of US cropland into the equivalent of Times Beach, while the “New Alliance” plan to recolonize Africa coupled with corporate-driven climate chaos threatens to turn all of subsaharan Africa into a literal desert. Do we have the luxury of the “patience” King discusses here?
 

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

 
Time itself is neutral, and the flow of time itself has no characteristic independent of what we choose to do with it. Abolitionism is a way of life. It’s not just labor toward a goal, let alone the ideas contained in the goal itself. Most of all it’s a way of life. The goal is most realized in the here and now, every day. This way of life means not only exercising democracy in any way we can but also fighting for it everywhere we must. This adds to the challenge and striving, but this challenge is the challenge of being human at all. In the context of King’s struggle he was writing of direct action in the most literal sense. Abolitionists of agricultural poisons will certainly have all too many opportunities and needs for such direct action as well. But primarily we rise to the need for the positive direct action of rebuilding our agricultural and food systems, building agroecology and food sovereignty,propagating far and wide the ideas of these, while rejecting the poison systems on a personal and group level and propagating the demolition and condemnation of the ideas of these.
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The essence of humanity is to take responsibility for oneself within the community and ecology, to achieve power over oneself, to exercise one’s responsibility, combining one’s personal strength in free cooperation with others to build a free and prosperous human community. Only in such a community can we then create the space for the essence of humanity, positive freedom. This is spiritual freedom, creative freedom, political freedom, participatory freedom, ecological freedom. These can exist only on the basis of the cooperative prosperity which affords the time and opportunity for this freedom. Only this deserves the name democracy, and only this can be called in the most profound sense civilization.
 
Today corporate barbarians seek to destroy democracy, civilization, agriculture, the world ecology, and humanity itself. These barbarians are the opposite of the original tribes raging out of Central Asia. Those were the vigorous barbarians of ascent toward a richer civilization. Today’s barbarians of decadence are rotted and malevolent, ugly and stupid, but infinitely wicked. Their technology and wealth renders them the most powerful ruling class in history, at the same time that their utter lack of any redeeming quality whatsoever renders them history’s nadir, history’s most degraded, nihilistic, parasitic, worthless ruling class. They represent not a stage of Western Civilization but its final self-cannibalization. This is the end of this pseudo-civilization, for better or worse. The corporate barbarians certainly intend the worst – the full reinstatement of a slave economy, through the vehicles of debt indenture and corporate domination of agriculture and food.
 
But we can defeat this satanic plan if we redeem from the wreckage of the corporate industrial agriculture system the greatest treasure we’ve won: The consciousness that we the people can feed ourselves and rule ourselves. We can realize and fulfill our happiness and prosperity through full political and economic democracy. We don’t need “elites” for anything, those who are never anything but parasites and criminals.
 
All we need to do is accept this fact, believe in it, and take responsibility for it. The true Human Renaissance beckons. This is the same human evolution and salvation for which Martin Luther King fought, for which he sat in jail, for which he wrote a letter from that jail.
 
We shall live up to the standard he and so many other great fighters for humanity have set for us. It’s a very high standard, and the forces ranged against it are formidable. But we can do it. Freedom is ours wherever and whenever we want it. The time is ours whenever we choose it. Our freedom will assert itself as soon as we freely choose to fight for it.

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December 31, 2015

The 2015 Blogging Year, and An American Revolution Reprise

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Each year WordPress sends me a “Your year in blogging” report, which includes several stats such as which posts got the most hits.
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No surprise that three perennial workhorses were #s 2, 3, and 4. These are my “Nietzsche and Scientism” from 2009 (which I recently reblogged, because its themes are relevant to the things I write about these days), and from 2011 “American Revolutionary Principles” parts One and Three, respectively on representation and sovereignty. (Part Two is on constitutionalism and rights.) These three posts get a steady trickle of hits almost every week, and are always at the top of the yearly list. #1 this year was 2015’s demolition of the fraudulent pro-GM propagandists, “By Their Own Standard Credentialist Pro-GMO Activists Are Ignorant Yahoos”. This got so many hits because it was featured by GMWatch and from there reblogged at several other prominent sites. #5 was another important 2015 anti-poison piece, “There Is No Science of Genetic Engineering.
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The three anti-scientism pieces are part of this site’s ongoing project to bring about the abolition of corporate agriculture, so there’s no special need to summarize them here. Click the links to read the word.
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But since it’s been some years since I delved into the political philosophy of the American Revolution, I thought I’d briefly quote from those two pieces.
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These paragraphs contain the basic argument of the piece on representation.
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“So what does [the American] revolutionary logic say about representative government? Summary: “Virtual representation” has no authority, and nominal representation in Parliament doesn’t necessarily have authority. So there’s no necessary reason any representative form would be authoritative and legitimate. By the American ideology, representative government has no compelling principled logic. It stands or falls according to empirical observation, how well it works in practice…
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“[A]ccording to the American Revolution, not only is virtual representation unacceptable, but nominal voting rights and representation also isn’t sufficient to legitimize government. If there’s anything which renders representative government legitimate, it’s not the act of voting. (BTW, let’s remember that the 1788 Constitution doesn’t guarantee any right to vote at all. It only says that to the extent states grant the privilege of voting, they can’t discriminate on the basis of race, gender, and a few other categories.)
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In fact, the Americans had no principle of representation, but a purely practical view: Does it protect freedom against the encroachments of power or not. They asked practical questions like, Is there an identity of interests between representatives and people?”
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I add at one point, as a thought to be further developed later on: “As a creature, a representative is an artificial, contingent thing just like a corporation. The responsibility (not right), accountability (not independence) of each is the same and must be enforced, or else the artificial program must be discontinued…”
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“Through all this the American Revolution arrived at a new theory of consent. Locke had said consent only needed to be given on election day (Rousseau scoffed at this), and at the supreme crisis moments of rebellion. But the Americans were working toward a more direct, participatory democracy on a permanent basis. The implicit principle is that direct consent is needed at all times, not just special times. This dovetails well with the power/liberty tension, since the necessary citizen vigilance against power can be maintained only through everyday democratic participation.
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“The first phase of the Revolution didn’t follow through on these implications, but settled on a concept of representation somewhat more accountable than the British concept, but still maintaining it as a “substitute for legislation by direct action of the people”. This implicitly admitted that direct democracy is the ideal, and merely claimed that accountable representation could function better in practice. Therefore representative government is legitimate only if it truly and effectively provides such a substitute. If it is unable or unwilling to do this, it dissolves itself, and we must move on to true, direct council democracy.
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“Representation was never anything more than democracy’s regent, meant to nurture ever-expanding democracy until this could fully flourish on its own. Today we the people are ready to take the full democratic responsibility upon ourselves, while the regent has abdicated and degenerated into a usurper. For both these reasons, we have and want no other choice but to walk the path of positive freedom and democracy.”
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The US governmental system, especially from 1788 onward, never lived up to these ideals and goals, on the contrary it has generally sought to subvert and destroy them. That’s led us to the seemingly terminal political and economic bottleneck now crushing us. It will be terminal unless we the people embrace, live and fight for new ideas, including a renaissance of the classical ideas of freedom expressed as the song of the American Revolution, yet so neglected and suppressed in historical practice since those classic days.
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This also means a rediscovery of the idea and practice of we the people’s political, economic, and spiritual sovereignty.
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“The basic idea of sovereignty is that there’s an essential authority in the polity which is above and beyond temporal authority and law and is the source of these, the yardstick by which they are measured. Otherwise these would be purely arbitrary and autocratic…
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“1. Sovereignty is mutable through history. Concrete institutions don’t embody it, but are only representative of it.
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“2. The American Revolution accelerated an ideological evolution of the concept, and the view of where sovereignty reposes, going back to the 16th century in Europe. The final recognition was that sovereignty reposes neither in King or Parliament, or necessarily in any governmental institution, but only in the people.
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“3. So today’s governments are to be tolerated or rejected at the people’s will, as they are nothing but servants of the people’s sovereignty. (Meanwhile, corporations and globalization cadres are non-sovereign in principle, and must be eradicated as they are invariably anti-sovereign in practice.)”
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I think the subject matter here is especially interesting in the way it traces the critical importance of the evolution of ideas and political consciousness in mustering the forces which ignited the American Revolution. If we the people want to break free of corporate rule and the assaults on our prosperity and well-being by the literal poisoners of our food, water, and air, we must similarly do the work of developing the necessary ideas for this pivotal age.
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December 20, 2015

Corporate Fossil Fuel Extraction vs. Freedom

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Three grassroots fights against the water-poisoners and incipient destroyers of our lands and communities. Sometimes with the full collaboration of traitor local “authorities”, sometimes with virtuous local representatives siding with the people.
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In every case – fracking, the tar sands, shale oil – it’s a big lie that the devastation has anything to do with “energy independence”. On the contrary, the fact of this cancerously expanding pipeline infrastructure is proof that the extracted fuels are commodities for export. The communities ravaged by extraction and pipeline or bomb train transportation get nothing. Stability, security, prosperity, happiness can never be found on the path of the relentless, infinite corporate havoc. On the contrary, what little is left of these will only be wiped out completely.
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Note how the Kelo case disproves the lie that capitalism has anything to do with “property rights”. Under capitalism only the biggest, most powerful players have any rights at all, to property, speech, or anything else. Again, freedom, rights, justice, morality will never lie with the corporation. The corporate can never represent anything but the absolute destruction of these.
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August 1, 2015

The DARK Act and Going Forward, Labeling and Beyond

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A few more thoughts on labeling and the DARK Act.
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1. I oppose the DARK Act because it’s an intensified centralizing preemptionist legal assault on democracy and community rights. Not just state-level labeling but any kind of lower-level bans on pesticides and/or GMOs as well as initiatives supporting food sovereignty and community food would be outlawed. While in theory this could help hasten a motion toward the civil disobedience/extralegal mindset, in practice this isn’t happening much so far.

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2. As for the effect on labeling in itself, this isn’t as important since the labeling-as-panacea mindset is something we need to get beyond anyway. If anything, I think the idea of labeling as something martyred to corporate power is more useful than the thing itself could ever be.

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3. We already know from examples like that of Scott Faber and Just Label It that labeling advocacy is compatible with a basically pro-Monsanto position. Indeed, labeling advocates used to point to how in Europe Monsanto made a virtue of necessity and pretended to embrace labeling. Of course Monsanto didn’t mean it, but the point is that although Monsanto doesn’t want labeling, it can coexist with it if necessary. Now that kind of “coexistence” is further disproof of the notion that labeling can enable a peaceful coexistence between GMOs and any kind of healthful, democratic food and agriculture.

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The fact that labeling advocates have always touted how their proposed policy can coexist with Monsanto also puts in perspective any claim they ever had that Labeling = Anti-GMO.

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4. I’ve already written many times about why labeling is physically and politically insufficient. Also, non-GMO labeling deals with only one kind of agricultural poison, but lets through many others. The rise of a non-GMO testing and certification sector generates yet another group with a vested interest in the continuation of the GMO regime. Here I’ll make one more point about the politics of it. To whatever extent people are supposed to see labeling as sufficient, and therefore the fight for it as sufficient, it can only function to misdirect energy and passion and delay the abolitionist consciousness and movement. We can be sure that wherever labeling is actually enacted, the party line from both the mainstream system and from professionalized labeling advocates will be, “Now we have to give the labeling system time to work. For now go about your business and stop worrying about it.” This is meant to buy time for Monsanto, and we don’t have time, perhaps many years, to waste.

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5. On the other hand, many people fear and loathe GMOs and other agricultural poisons and want to get rid of them, and turn to labeling because that’s the only action they see being touted. They turn to it because they haven’t yet been able to see an alternative.

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6. So where we talk about labeling, and where we support and get involved with labeling campaigns, and where we oppose measures like the DARK Act on behalf of the idea of labeling, our goal has to be to encourage the latter mindset and oppose and discredit the former. The goal is to use the idea of labeling, and the example of its suppression by Monsanto’s system, to move the discussion and consciousness along the vector from “better consumerism” and “coexistence” to abolitionism.

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March 13, 2015

GMO News Report March 13th 2015

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*The next conclave of the corporate groups plotting to recolonize Africa along GMO lines is being held in London on March 23rd. As ther African Center for Biosafety puts it, “white men meet in London to plot ways of profiting off Africa’s seed system”. The racial balance of power and intended control here is indeed astoundingly lopsided, and the overall racism of the project is quite brazen. No farmers or other democratic participants will be allowed at the meeting, only corporate and government elites. The meeting will discuss a study commissioned by the Gates Foundation. The goal of the study was to develop a strategy for enclosure and control of the African seed system, including identifying where governments should provide corporate welfare and where they should give Western (white) corporations total power and license. African governments are to be rubberstamp flunkeys, and in general Africans will be allowed to participate only as lowly thugs and contractors. As the ACB puts it, “A potential role for farmers in the production or distribution of seed is not even considered. Indeed farmers are viewed only as passive consumers of seed produced elsewhere.” The same is true of the people of Africa as a whole. I’m reminded of what Rudolf Binding wrote about WWI – “In this war both armies lie on the ground, and only the war has its way.” That shall be the predicament of all peoples of the Earth for as long as we allow the corporate war upon us to have its way.
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*A rare case of a GMO corporate welfare program being discontinued: Malaysia’s health ministry has announced it will discontinue its program of using Oxitec’s GM mosquitoes to try to fight dengue fever on the grounds that trial releases in 2010 and 2011 produced meager results greatly disproportionate to the public expense of the program. Brazil’s program has been shelved for the same reason. The idea is to release genetically modified males of the species Aedes aegypti whose offspring from wild females will die prior to reaching maturity. This is supposed to suppress the overall population. But it hasn’t worked in field trials, and Helen Wallace of UK GeneWatch recently publicized a computer model which finds that you’d have to release 2.8 million of the GM males a week to suppress a population of 20,000 mosquitoes. Even the corporate welfare planned economy of GMOs may blanch at such a prospect, though the US government is desperately trying to bail out Oxitec (a British company) by proposing a completely gratuitous field release in the Florida Keys.
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All this information involves the GMO product failing absolutely. Then there’s the likelihood that even if the program temporarily worked to suppress A. aegypti, the only result would be that another species of dengue-carrying mosquito would enter the vacated ecological niche. That effect has followed like clockwork most places Bt crops have been deployed. So the GM mosquito is dubious in ivory tower theory, refuted by computer modeling, and is proven not to work in practice. Any government which would spend one cent on it is engaging in pure embezzlement on behalf of a favored corporation.
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*Good analysis of another scam GMO product, Simplot’s “Innate” potato. As always with these boutique GMOs, its alleged benefits are frivolous, unsubstantiated, or a scam. In this case the potato allegedly reduces the production of a carcinogenic by-product of cooking, acrylamide; but this same carcinogen is vastly more prevalent in all herbicide tolerant GMOs, because it’s a common herbicide additive, and in all crops subjected to industrial irrigation, because it’s added to the water to help keep the dead soil bound together so it won’t blow away. And as always with literally every such GMO alleged to produce any kind of agronomic or product quality trait, there already exist non-GM varieties which embody the trait better, more safely, and far less expensively than the GMO does. As always, the GMO is absolutely worthless, wasteful, and destructive for humanity and benefits no one but a handful of corporations.
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*Climate change denier and top Monsanto shill Patrick Moore has been touring Southeast Asia lobbying and propagandizing for the “golden rice” hoax. In the Philippines he’s met rejection from the people, and slunk out of the country refusing an invitation from the farmer group Masipag to publicly debate them. Even by the extremely low standards of pro-GM activists Moore is one of the more stupid and scabrous of them, and would likely fare very poorly in a debate. Meanwhile Masipag has been publicly describing the kind of productive, nutritious horticulture which is high in vitamin A, has historically provided this nutrient in abundance, and which has been largely destroyed by the industrial agriculture model Moore and golden rice stand for. It’s the likes of Patrick Moore who artificially created the VAD epidemic and are intentionally trying to make it worse with their misdirectional propaganda campaigns. Moore and the others have all this blood on their hands and must be held accountable.
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*The EPA is so spooked by corn rootworm’s surging resistance to the Bt toxins which have been deployed against it that it’s proposing to limit the farmer practice of planting corn year after year with no crop rotation. (It’s actually bureaucratic rigmarole which wouldn’t change anything. It’s the monoculture, stupid.) The ability to plant corn-on-corn was of course the main selling point with which the cartel and the USDA touted Bt corn in the first place, even though everyone knew it would lead only to the target pests developing resistance, along with a host of other problems. Indeed, Monsanto counted on the pests developing resistance as a key part of its planned obsolescence and “expanded trait penetration” marketing strategy. EPA has always chosen to hide its head in the sand, take the path of least resistance, and tout its “refuge” scam as a legitimate anti-resistance strategy. The rootworms have begged to differ.
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Of the three anti-rootworm toxins deployed so far, researchers have confirmed the avalanche of observed evidence that the rootworms are overcoming Monsanto’s Cry3Bb1 toxin and Syngenta’s Cry3A, and in 2014 there were anecdotal reports of resistance developing to Dow’s Cry34/35AB1. Formal research will soon confirm this.
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*Testbiotech has filed a complaint with the EU Ombudsman over the corrupt, publicly-funded GRACE project. GRACE is intended to set new (lax, pro-cartel) standards for GMO safety review and is also a propaganda campaign nominally under EU auspices, but staffed by biotech cadres. The complaint is specifically about how participants propagated a fraudulent account of a feeding trial, and their covering up their conflicts of interest. (There’s really no conflict, of course. They and the EC are 100% pro-GMO.) Filing a complaint with the ombudsman is fine, but far more important is publicizing the facts about GRACE to the people
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*Mexico is ground zero for the Earth’s maize diversity. Everywhere on Earth corporate agriculture is seeking to destroy the agricultural germplasm diversity humanity’s future depends upon, through the imposition of dangerously narrow monocultural genetics to match the monoculture practices of commodity agriculture. Although since NAFTA GMO contamination has been gradually spreading through Mexican maize landraces, a coalition of farmers, civil society activists, scientists has fought hard and so far prevented the official commercial approval of GM maize, which would greatly accelerate the contamination of maize landraces and eventually maize’s wild ancestor teosinte. Today these fighters for this critical cause are calling for donations to help them continue this fight for all of humanity’s future ability to eat.
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*Want to see this maize contamination in action? Following hard upon the European study we discussed last week confirming how readily GM maize contaminates non-GM, a new study out of South Africa documents GM maize contamination among smallholder farmers who mostly save and exchange seeds among themselves. Sampling found fragments of the CaMV promoter in a maize leaf and transgenes from NK603 (Roundup Ready corn) and the MON810 Bt-expressing variety in 5 of 20 seeds tested.
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This also follows upon the recent study which confirmed that locally adapted non-GM maize varieties outperform MON810. This is universally confirmed in every case except for the richest farmers applying the most lavish and expensive inputs under the most optimal conditions: Both organic and non-GM conventional cultivation agronomically outperform GMOs. This is in addition to the genetic scorched earth GMOs are attempting to enforce, which promises to cause the collapse of all major crop varieties which have been taken over by the GMO cartel.
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*Costco joins McDonald’s in issuing a vague announcement that it will phase out meats produced through antibiotic abuse, which means all factory farm meat. They say they’ll start with rotisserie chicken and move on to other meats. It’s really more of an elleged aspiration than a firm policy commitment, with no detailed time frame given. Subtherapeutic antibiotic use in factory farms, along with the use of antibiotic resistance markers in genetic engineering, is by far the most comprehensive, systematic policy seeking to devastate public health by eradicating the effectiveness of this whole genre of medical treatment, antibiotics. Anyone who sincerely cares about public health must seek the abolition of subtherapeutic antibiotic use as Priority Number One. Anyone who claims to be concerned about public health but who doesn’t focus on this, and there are many such people out there these days, is a liar.
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*A Friends of the Earth campaign to get Burger King, Wendy’s, Subway, Dunkin’ Donuts and others to join McDonald’s and Gerber in pledging to shun the “non-browning” GM Botox Apple. This is the kind of pressure campaign that has often gotten real results. It routed Monsanto’s New Leaf potatoes from the marketplace 15 years ago, and has since racked up other victories.
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*Anti-democracy whack-a-mole. In 2013 and 2014 respectively voters in Hawaii and Maui counties passed GMO cultivation bans (grandfathering in existing GM papaya cultivation) while in 2013 the Kauai county council passed modest restrictions and notification requirements for spraying of poisons on the island’s experimental plantations. The cartel sued and the same corrupt federal judge overturned all three ordinances on grounds that only the state has the power to enact such legislation. The cases are being appealed to the federal circuit court. Meanwhile the state legislature has bills in process to restore such power to the counties and/or to ban GMOs cultivation. Neither bill is likely to pass anytime soon, but if they did you can bet the same federal courts would change their tune and find that such powers aren’t state powers after all but reside with the central government. The cartel is already arguing that in its suit against Vermont’s labeling law.
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All this federalist rigmarole proves that in the end we the people will never win justice in the courts or at any legislative level above the local, but that we’ll need to fight for and win our rights as a fact on the ground, politically and in whatever other way necessary. Only from a victorious grassroots reclamation of our political and economic sovereignty can we then dictate our human futures. That’s the truly necessary Reclamation movement.

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March 10, 2015

The Politics of Vaccination: Astroturfing in the Corporate Media

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Or as I should say, the evident attempt to rile up hatred against a small, relatively harmless dissident group to set them up as scapegoats for the vastly worse threats being forced upon us by corporate agriculture.
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Let me stress at the outset that this post is not about vaccination in itself. Vaccination makes sense in principle. But I begin by stressing that there are two separate questions here: Vaccine science in principle, and the safety of corporate-manufactured vaccines we actually have. In a typical authoritarian tactic those who criticize non-vaccinators always smear these two together and come up with the standard lie, “anti-vax = anti-science”. Now, maybe there are some non-vaccinators who reject vaccination as such, in principle. But everyone I’ve seen is mostly or completely motivated by skepticism toward the corporations who manufacture and advertise them. Obviously no rational person would take on faith the word of corrupt corporate and government scienticians, given their record to date systematically lying about cigarette smoking, asbestos, PCBs, dioxin, DDT, GMOs, and many other poisons, as well as denying climate change.
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[I’ll also stress, since industry propagandists and the corporate media try to confuse this fact, that the rational and empirically-proven common thread is that corporate “science” always lies, dissidents are usually right. To give a common example, in comparing climate change denial with criticism of genetic engineering, the correct conceptual division is not being “for” or “against” some vapid, abstract notion of “science”, though such gaseous conceptual shibboleths are standard with scientism ideology. The correct line which works in real life is the faith-based swallowing of corporate propaganda which calls itself “science”, vs. taking a critical view of this propaganda.
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Climate change denial is interesting in that some powerful corporate sectors like finance seek to profit off scams like carbon offsets or geoengineering and so “believe in” climate change, while others like Big Oil are fervent “deniers”. Monsanto and the GMO cartel play both sides of the fence. In reality no corporatist or technocrat cares one way or the other about climate change or its effects. They “believe” whatever it’s profitable to believe. So it’s not surprising that while so far as I’ve seen there are no GMO critics who also deny climate change, the ranks of the pro-GMO activists are littered with climate change deniers – Patrick Moore, Marc van Montague, Ingo Potrykus, Owen Paterson, Matt Ridley, Bjorn Lomborg, just to name a few. So much for the lies of “National Geographic” and others who are desperately trying to push the notion that opposing corporate “science” is the same thing as opposing science. The truth is the exact opposite. Indeed, to support GMOs is by definition to be an implicit climate change denier. This is because industrial agriculture, as the #1 emitter of greenhouse gases and the #1 destroyer of carbon sinks, is the worst sector driving climate change, while GMOs comprise nothing more or less than an escalation of industrial ag and an aggravation of all its pathologies.]
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In any discussion or debate I’d keep insisting on keeping the two separate questions, separate. That means, for non-vaccinators as well as for anyone who opposes irrational scientistic lynch mobs, focusing on how dubious corporate-controlled vaccination is. Of course I’m against the corporatism of vaccines, as I am against all corporatism.
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There’s incontrovertible evidence, provided by the corporations and the government themselves, that corporate vaccines are inferior and potentially dangerous, indeed likely to cause great harm. This is the fact that in the 1980s the government absolved the corporate manufacturers of liability for any harm caused by their products, no matter how negligent or structurally toxic the manufacturing process was.
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In the same way that the refusal of Monsanto or the US government to test GMOs for safety proves that they live in terror of what the results of such tests would be, so the government’s grant of immunity and setting up of a massive corporate welfare fund to force the taxpayers to pay off corporate liabilities for toxic products proves that the government believes the products are going to be ever more dangerous.
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Of course it’s obscene and irrational – if dispensing vaccines is too risky for corporate liability, isn’t it too risky in general? At the very least, if they won’t assume the risk, how can their profit be justified? In that case the government should take over the entire operation on a public non-profit basis. There we have proof of principle, of the overall bad faith of the system (how can it be rationally or morally coherent to absolve “capitalists” of risk and force that risk onto the taxpayers, but still allow those companies to collect profit?) and of the fact that the companies and the government believe the legal risk is extreme. They think it likely these vaccines will have dire side effects.
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And indeed, as we see with the sometimes lethal Gardisil vaccine (which the Texas state government mandated as a form of poll-tax-via-poison, like forcing people to buy and drink moonshine which blinds them) and the harmful effects of aluminum-based vaccines on people with weak immune systems, there’s specific affirmative evidence of harm.
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Unlike GMOs*, vaccines do make sense in principle. But what they could be in principle and what Big Drug corporations actually do in producing them are two completely separate things. The fact that the critics of vaccine dissent are incapable of making this distinction is one of the proofs that they’re motivated not by real concern for public health but by authoritarian cultism.
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[*Just two examples of how GMOs don’t make sense in principle: 1. Pleiotropy rules out the long-promised-never-delivered GMOs designed to produce better agronomic and product quality traits. Rendering crops poisonous is not an improvement, but literal poison plants (those which exude a systemic insecticide, those which systemically absorb herbicide, and usually both at the same time) are the only kinds genetic engineering can create. 2. GMOs cannot be capitalized, developed, produced, distributed other than through big corporations. Indeed GMOs were developed in the first place to intensify corporate control and domination. But corporate control is antithetical to productive, food-based, sustainable agriculture. By definition corporate agriculture, producing commodities and poison instead of food, with food then supposed to “trickle down” as a side effect, is incoherent, irrational, and an abdication. GMOs represent the extreme manifestation of corporate agriculture.]
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Now we reach the core question regarding those who pretend to support vaccination but should really be called “anti-anti-vaxxers”, since their actions prove they’re not really for anything, but instead are merely majoritarians attacking a small dissenting group. How is it possible to talk meaningfully about the alleged health risks from a relative handful of vaccine dissenters while the same fear-mongers do nothing to put a stop to the infinitely worse public health threat from antibiotic abuse in factory farms and antibiotic resistance markers in genetic engineering? This is, after all, a massive, systematic corporate campaign to destroy the effectiveness of antibiotics. Any adverse health effects of non-vaccination are utterly trivial compared to these and other massive corporate assaults on public health (pesticides, Fukushima’s fallout, just to name two more).
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Anyone who doesn’t spend significant time and energy calling for the abolition of antibiotic abuse has zero credibility if he claims to be concerned about the relatively infinitesimal risk of non-vaccination. The shrillness of the anti-anti-vaxxers juxtaposed with their resounding silence where it comes to antibiotic abuse adds up to proof that they’re lying when they claim to be worried about public health. Obviously their “concern” is for something other than public health. On the contrary, they’re authoritarian statists who are outraged by a form of civil disobedience they find particularly offensive as an affront to their statism and scientism. They should be systematically counterattacked as such, whatever one’s views on vaccination itself.
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So faced with anyone who claims to criticize non-vaccinators from the point of view of a concern for public health, I start with one question: What have you done to oppose subtherapeutic antibiotic abuse in factory farms and genetic engineering? Please direct me to where you’ve written about or taken action on this.
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A satisfactory answer to this is necessary to establish someone’s bona fides. Anyone who can’t do so is a fraud who’s really jumping in a typical way onto an anti-dissident bandwagon out of typically cowardly bullying authoritarian motives.
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In my analysis and criticism of corporate agriculture I’ve refused to argue substantively with pro-GMO activists and others who are clearly acting in bad faith and lying about their fundamental motivations. Instead I counterattack to demolish their lies and destroy their credibility. Where it comes to the vaccination lynch mob, dissenters and critics should always counterattack these bad faith liars the way I describe. The only way the people can win is if enough people are disciplined that way. The point is to reveal them as authoritarian liars and hypocrites who have zero credibility as they attack trivial or nonexistent “threats” while the vastly greater dangers go unchallenged. (Remember the crooks who wanted to ban a local seed library out of fears over “agri-terrorism”? Of course the supporters of centralized industrial ag are intentionally rendering America’s food supply vulnerable to terrorism, while decentralization is the only solution to this and every other problem.) I’d never allow an anti-anti-vaxxer to get away with ignoring CAFOs and antibiotic resistance markers in GMOs. I’d just hammer and hammer and hammer – “What are you doing for the struggle to abolish antibiotic abuse, an infinitely worse public health danger?” Until I got a satisfactory answer, I’d refuse to even discuss vaccination. In general, we should seize every opportunity to counterattack and direct attention to the lethal pandemics being prepared by corporate agriculture and by globalization in general.
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This takes us to what’s going on the corporate media lately, a top-down media-engineered campaign intended to demonize the trivial group of non-vaccinators. Given the growing evidence of the ongoing harms and great dangers of the corporate agricultural system, as well as how obviously destructive the rest of the corporate onslaught is becoming, the corporate media is increasingly desperate to trump up diversions and scapegoats. In the case of the lethal pandemics already being caused by globalization’s shantytowns and factory farms, and the far worse ones inevitably to come, the system’s goal is to provide scapegoats to divert public fears and anger, as well as to muster fascistic discipline among potential cadres along the lines of scientism, the only purely corporate ideology which can tap into ideological threads which aren’t 100% mercenary. Thus the most unreconstructed, brutal greed, powerlust, sadism, and hate try to make common cause with what’s left of the withering “Progress” ideology.
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Whatever the trivial effects of non-vaccination, if any, the great disease incubators of the planet are the factory farms and shantytowns created by globalization and by corporate agriculture in particular. No one who’s not fighting CAFOs, GMOs that use antibiotic resistance markers, and corporate agriculture in general has any standing to say a word about vaccination. Those who do so regardless are really lying when they claim to care about public health. They’re really motivated by authoritarianism.
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I’d call this a basic litmus test for authoritarianism and the very ability to conceive in non-corporatized terms: Having the right perspective on an ad hoc handful of non-vaccinators, vs. the massive, systematic campaign of the biggest, most powerful corporations and governments on earth to destroy antibiotics as a medically useful technology. I’d expect anyone who’s on the level to forget the non-vaxxers immediately and get after those corporations and government bureaucracies.
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The two necessary goals: Abolish factory farms, abolish GMOs. Nothing short of this can suffice, and nothing short of this can comprise a rationally or morally coherent position for anyone who claims to care about public health.
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December 26, 2014

GMO News Summary, December 26, 2014

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*Farmers continue to look for ways to switch from GMOs to non-GM agriculture, as herbicide resistant weeds become more intractable and commodity prices slide. It’s sinking in that GMOs are an agricultural and economic bottleneck, a dead end for everyone but the corporations.
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*Another reason is fear and trembling over China’s uncanny GMO import restrictions. China apparently has approved Syngenta’s MIR162 Viptera maize, the product which caused all the fuss starting in 2013. China doesn’t import much maize anyway, and the politico-economic disruptions caused by Syngenta were far greater than any reality-based trade effect. As I figured, the confrontation wasn’t really about this GMO but a negotiating ploy vis the US. China has an economic advantage with its non-GM market and isn’t going to compromise this lightly. In the trade wars the US wages China is trying to use import restrictions to force US concessions. In this case, the quid pro quo is said to be US agreement to ease restrictions on high-tech exports to China. Meanwhile, in the latest manifestation of Chinese ambivalence, lawmakers are working on a GMO labeling law to clarify the existing administrative labeling policy.
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We must always stress that any such logjam is caused by the aggressive seller, not by the reluctant buyer or anyone else. Viptera, like all other GMOs, is a worthless product. Farmers, consumers, eaters, society would be much better off without any GMOs. That Canadian farmers are reluctant to approve Roundup Ready alfalfa (already contaminating US crops and causing the rejection of US hay shipments to China) while US farmers are switching to non-GM crops like sorghum to meet rising Chinese demand are just two pieces of evidence.
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*As if Bt refuges weren’t enough of a scam already, the cartel continues to try to make them even more farcical in practice by claiming (and instituting as regulatory policy) that so-called “natural refuges”, i.e. any adjacent non-Bt crop, and not even the same kind of crop as the Bt variety, should count as sufficient. There’s now a “study” dedicated to this proposition. Yet even it finds the prospect dubious and can only recommend the continued escalation of the Bt treadmill, which of course is the real purpose of all such propaganda.
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*I’ve written before about the escalated health hazards unique to “stacked” GMOs, where the unpredictable effects of genetic engineering as such are multiplied by the unpredictable effects of chaotic interactions among multiple transgenes. Now we have the first study confirming that a stacked GMO has unique compositional and metabolic differences from both the original non-GM version as well as the original single-trait GMOs whose transgenes went into the stack. The study found such significant differences as weakened transgene expression, which will accelerate the evolution of weed and pest resistance; changes in overall gene expression; alterations in two major metabolic pathways; and altered protein levels. These significant changes have unpredictable health implications.
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*The USDA continues to refuse to test produce, processed vegetables, and other processed foods for glyphosate residues in its annual residue tests. The USDA claims it can’t do so because the tests are “extremely expensive…to do on a regular basis.” They mean politically expensive, as the results would be alarming to the public. This is really an admission that the USDA and Monsanto think our food is heavily loaded with toxic Roundup residues and that they don’t want to know the real levels, and certainly don’t want the public to know.
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As for the alleged expense, it’s nothing compared to the government’s Big Ag subsidies, and would merely be another such subsidy. After all, the poison-selling corporations rightfully should be paying for government testing. They certainly can afford it. Which again proves that they live in terror of what the results would show. Otherwise why not pay the pennies involved, if it would give you a clean bill of health? That would be great PR spending.
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*Under pressure from civil society, Monsanto requested that the EU patent office revoke one of its patents, and the agency complied. This was a bogus patent for a publicly-bred fungus-resistant tomato variety the company stole from a German seed bank. Monsanto did no work with the variety but sought and received the patent with a fraudulent application. No Patents on Seeds, the group which challenged the patent, is similarly challenging several other illegally awarded patents. The group also calls upon the European Commission to rein in this rogue agency and for a revision of EU patent law to make its prohibitions on patenting the products of conventional breeding more clear.
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*Following up victories in 2014 for county-level GMO bans in Jackson and Josephine Counties, Benton County in Oregon will vote this May on their own county-level GMO cultivation ban and on measures to build the regional agriculture and food economy.
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*The community rights movement which is fighting GMO agriculture in Oregon is also fighting hard vs. fracking in Pennsylvania, and has been racking up some legal victories. These ballots, laws, and court fights are meant to provide the campaign context for a constitutional renaissance on a pro-community, anti-corporate basis.
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*In Belgium, the Ghent court of appeal has thrown out the “criminal conspiracy” charge against the Wetterin Eleven. These defendants were participants in an action by the Field Liberation Movement against a GM potato field trial. A field trial itself is a political action on the part of the corporate system (and this field trial was illegal), and here we had activism vs. activism. They tore out a portion of the trial plants and replaced them with real potatoes. They were originally charged with forming a criminal organization and found not guilty of the strongest charge but guilty of a lesser count of conspiracy. This appeals decision throws out all such politicized charges and reduces the conviction to the actual crimes involved, trespassing and vandalism. Their sentence was reduced to one month suspended, though heavy fines remain in force.
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The decision is a setback for the prosecutorial trend of trying to criminalize democracy and political participation as such wherever the people seek to resist corporate aggression.

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