A few more thoughts on labeling and the DARK Act.
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.
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.
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.
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.Older Posts »
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.
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.
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.
March 13, 2015
*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.
*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.
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.
*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.
*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.
*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.
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.
*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
*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.
*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.
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.
*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.
*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.
*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.
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.
March 10, 2015
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.
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.
[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.
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.]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
[*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.]
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
December 26, 2014
*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.
*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.
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.
*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.
*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.
*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.
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.
*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.
*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.
*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.
*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.
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.
July 4, 2014
*In honor of Independence Day we celebrate the recent successes and ongoing action of the Community Rights movement. This movement to abolish alien corporate power over communities and regions looks to become a key part of the rising anti-corporate movement. This movement shall be at the core of the second stage of the American Revolution. We’re currently undergoing the oppressions and humiliations of the New Stamp Acts and Intolerable Acts being perpetrated by the corporate state. Here’s a salute to one of the promising new movements seeking to break corporate power.
*In the latest victory, the New York Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, ruled that municipalities have the right to use zoning and land use policy to ban oil and gas drilling. This was only a partial victory within an adverse framework, as the court found that the community has rights which were delegated to it by the state, but reaffirmed the state’s alleged dominion over communities. Therefore it’s not a community rights ruling, and movement work is needed in New York to build the consciousness and resolve among communities to reject the state itself where this becomes necessary. As things are, the court has invited the state legislature to pass a new law overriding fracking bans on any grounds whatsoever. The court’s decision is therefore what I’d call a passive corporatist decision.
But nevertheless the ruling does find that even within corporatism there are grounds for communities to limit and reject the corporate prerogative. It’s a step toward the necessary goal of community rejection of all corporate state prerogatives and “authority” and reassertion of the community’s rightful sovereignty.
*A new report from the EU’s council of environmental ministers surveys some of the environmental effects of the herbicide tolerant GMO genre. It confirms the fact that HT GMOs do not increase yield over non-GM conventional. It confirms the universal pattern, that the introduction of HT crops may (but doesn’t always) cause a brief initial decline in overall herbicide use, but that this quickly reverses. HT GMOs soon come to require greater herbicide use than non-GM conventional agriculture, and this difference increases over time. The report also further confirms the consensus that GMOs yield more poorly than non-GM conventional and organic crops.
The report also finds that HT GMO system is a threat to biodiversity and explores the ways that herbicide tolerance spreads through feral growth of GMOs like Roundup Ready canola and contamination of related wild plants. It discusses the bioweapons arms race as the GMO system causes weeds to evolve greater resistance to an ever-widening spectrum of herbicides. It discusses how herbicide residue weakens the crops themselves.
It makes one mistake, frequently citing the alleged benefits of the “chemical no-till” system without mentioning that as superweeds overwhelm HT GMO systems, farmers return not only to supposedly obsolete herbicides but to tillage as well.
The report finds that for policy purposes the HT GMO system should be compared with low external input agroecology, whose practices and results are superior in every way. The report concludes that from an environmental perspective “Herbicide tolerant crops are not part of the solution, but are part of the problem”.
*The German government (Germany is the EU’s “rapporteur state” for glyphosate) and the EFSA continue to refuse to release to the public the secret toxicity tests which allegedly find glyphosate safe enough that the Allowed Daily Intake should be nearly doubled, as the German government is recommending. This refusal is now flouting a 2013 order from the European Court of Justice that studies relevant to environmental pollutants must be release to the public. The government bureaucracies refuse to give we the people our information on the grounds of “commercial confidentiality”. In other words the corporate bureaucracy doesn’t want the government bureaucracy to publicize how poisonous to human and animal health glyphosate really is.
What does this prove?
1. Glyphosate is extremely toxic to humans and animals. If the data didn’t prove this, Monsanto and its flunkey governments would be thrilled to publicize the fact.
2. As I’ve always said, government regulators do not serve the people nor are they designed to. They consciously see themselves as serving the corporate “client”, and were designed for this purpose in the first place. What else would common sense expect of a regulator within a pro-corporate government which is aggressively promoting a corporatist economic and political system? It’s quite insane to expect an inherently corporatist regulator to behave in the public interest.
3. Since transparency is a bedrock principle and practice of science, it follows that it’s impossible to support GMOs and other agricultural poisons from a scientific point of view. On the contrary, such support, which must include support for the secrecy policy, is radically opposed to science.
*The US and other governments will oppose a UN working group dedicated to enforcing a new treaty which would require transnational corporations to abide by human rights and not commit crimes against humanity. It’s easy to see why the US government, dedicated to supporting corporate crime of aggression everywhere on earth, opposes this.
*You can register for a webinar on how the TTIP is being planned as a major weapon in the GMO assault on Europe, and will also be used against rational regulation of GMOs and other poisons in the US.
*China’s food quarantine agency is reported to have suspended import licenses for distillers’ grain solubles (a corn product used in CAFO feed) from the US after a series of rejected US shipments due to contamination by an unapproved GM variety.
*Boycott Coca-Cola and all its brands for its incorrigible and hypocritical funding of anti-labeling campaigns in California and Washington. In Washington in 2013 Coca-Cola and other food manufacturers were too cowardly to openly espouse their anti-democracy position, but instead illegally and cravenly spent the money secretly, through the Grocery Manufacturers Association, Monsanto’s group which coordinates the actions of the manufacturers on its behalf.
May 30, 2014
*The third March Against Monsanto brought together hundreds of thousands of demonstrators through thousands of actions worldwide. These dedicated days of action are tips of an iceberg which help the billions of dissenters worldwide see their cause out in the open and take heart that all of humanity is with them.
*The Global GMO-Free Coalition has launched. It plans to coordinate worldwide news and facts about GMOs and counteract the canned lies of the cartel.
*Earth Open Source has released a new, greatly expanded edition of its 2012 report, “GMO Myths and Truths”. The original version has been one of the resources I’ve consulted most often, especially where it comes to the health implications of GMOs.
*I’ve long said that when GMO labeling becomes mandated by law, it will still largely be up to citizen groups to be vigilant where it comes to compliance and enforcement. We can see an example of what we’ll be up against, and what’s needed, in a new report from the African Center for Biosafety, which has found a general flouting of South Africa’s GMO labeling requirements across most leading white bread brands.
*An analysis commissioned by the Chinese Academy of Medical Science has found high levels of glyphosate and its breakdown product AMPA in imported soybeans and in food products derived from these soybeans.
*The Chinese study is part of the huge amount of work we need in order to fill in the abyss of negligence and fraud which pro-GMO scientism and regulation has created with its refusal to abide by even the most basic rules of scientific procedure and integrity. The story of how Monsanto’s Roundup Ready (RR) soybeans were approved for importation into Japan provides a typical example of this charlatanism of corporate researchers and regulators.
A research team within the Health and Welfare Ministry was allowed to assess the Monsanto application. It did so under severe time and logistics restrictions. They weren’t allowed to make copies and had to take notes by hand as they worked their way through the mountain of documents. It’s general Monsanto practice to submerge what little content there is in their “safety reports” under thousands of pages’ worth of empty bureaucratic loquacity. The reason for this becomes clear to anyone who does have the opportunity and fortitude to look for the substance, since the actual data raises red flags at all points. The research team found six major problems, each of which proves the claims of Monsanto and the regulator that RR soybeans are safe.
1. RR soybeans are not “substantially equivalent” (as the ideological jargon calls it) to the isogenic conventional variety. On the contrary, RR soybeans had elevated levels urease and lectin when toasted as they would be for food processing. These are respectively a potentially harmful enzyme and protein. Monsanto rigged the test by ordering the soybeans to be heated to ever-higher, unrealistic temperatures until these substances were finally destroyed, then submitted that as its official “result”.
2. Monsanto claimed to have sufficiently analyzed the transgenic soy proteins for allergenicity but in fact analyzed only 3% of the amino acid sequences, and then dogmatically declared that the rest of the sequnce in the soybeans must be the same as the sequence in the bacteria. The “analysis” thus cited the protein of the E. coli bacterial DNA which is inserted into the soybean genome, rather than the protein of the transgenic soybean DNA itself.
3. Based on this “finding”, Monsanto then used the E. coli-derived proteins for all the animal tests, rather than the realistically relevant RR soybean proteins. This is a standard experimental fraud perpetrated by the GMO cartel and abetted by regulators. This same fraudulent procedure is routinely used for Bt varieties, where the Bt tested is derived from the bacterial source rather than from the actual Bt-expressing crop. One of the main bombshell results of the 1998 Pusztai experiment was his finding that transgenic lectin-expressing potatoes had toxic effects which did not manifest where rats were fed non-GM potatoes which were mechanically injected with the same lectin.
4. RR soybean-based feed was found to have considerably higher levels of residue of glyphosate and its breakdown product AMPA than was allowable under the EPA standards of the time. Indeed, in the document’s conclusion Monsanto openly expressed its intention to lobby the EPA to raise the allowable level of residue in order to encompass the levels which RR soy was bound to assimilate. And so the EPA did, and so all regulators always do – they raise the level of what’s called a “safe” poison concentration to whatever the corporate sellers need.
5. Meanwhile the RR soybeans used in animal feeding trials was not sprayed with Roundup! In addition to the other ways in which Monsanto rigs its feeding tests – using an irrelevantly short duration, measuring only industrial parameters like quick weight gain but not looking for symptoms of toxicity, introducing fraudulent “historical” data sets to drown out any evidence of toxicity which is forced upon the experimenters’ attention – this alone completely invalidates the results, since how can a combined transgenic/herbicide-sprayed system be assessed for safety if you don’t spray the herbicide?
6. In spite of all these experimental frauds, the male rat groups still showed statistically significant physical differences, which the regulator dogmatically declared to be of “no significance”.
This is typical of how every kind of GMO was approved in every country where they have been approved. Never once, anywhere on earth, has any government performed or required a legitimate safety study of any GMO, nor has any corporation ever performed such a study.
(As we also see here, regulation of poisons like glyphosate is also a farce.)
*Commenting on the people’s vote in Jackson County, Oregon to ban GMO cultivation in the county, Syngenta claims it’ll obey the law. Syngenta leases fields in the county where it grows its GMO sugar beet seeds. Of course this is not the same as pledging not to sue to quash this democratic outcome, and the company is being noncommittal about that.
Meanwhile officials in Josephine County are already talking about trying to weasel out of enforcing the law the county’s people just voted by a wide margin. County officials say they don’t know how to enforce the law in the face of state-proclaimed preemption powers. The answer, of course, is to go ahead and enforce it as written and deal with state attempts to override the results as those come up.
What they really mean is they don’t want to enforce the law, much like Maine’s attorney general openly said she doesn’t want to defend that state’s new GMO labeling law against any corporate lawsuit. She said she agrees with the “corporate speech” position.
So here’s another example of how activists for labeling or for bans will need not only to fight to get the measures legally in place, but will often have to fight to force recalcitrant officials to obey the very laws they’re supposed to represent.
May 26, 2014
This is a day where everyone’s talking about those who fought for freedom, which is odd because officially it’s a day to celebrate those who fought for empire and power. However that may be, I’m grateful for the reminder to celebrate the domestic activists – abolitionists, anti-corporate dissidents, community rights activists, farmer organizers, labor organizers, environmentalists, civil rights activists, suffragettes, civil liberties defenders, and others – who are the true fighters for freedom and democracy in American history. It’s lean times for us these days.
For the moment we still live in a society where as a rule one won’t be arrested and disappeared for saying something in opposition to the government. Nevertheless, the more I think about it the more it seems to me that the situation of real dissidents against the corporate state today is more like that of the illegal, underground Russian movement under the tsar’s regime than that of, say, the decriminalized and openly legal German socialist party under the kaiser.
True, unlike the Russian socialists we can openly and freely disseminate our blogs and social media presences and, if we can afford them, our newspapers. We can call public meetings and talk about whatever we want if anyone shows up. But while we won’t be arrested for this, we will be utterly swamped by the corporate noise machine and ignored by the inertia of the mass society. Wherever we become recognizable at all, we’re targeted not for direct repression but for misdirection and co-optation by a propaganda and organization machine of unprecedented skill and professionalism. This campaign is more insidious even than that of the tsarist secret police, which also had its wiles in addition to its brute violence.
Unlike the German party, which was massive, with its ideas and influence ubiquitous, or similar American mass movements, we struggle to consistently even recognize one another and communicate, let alone organize and carry out action.
If this assessment of true anti-corporatist dissent (as opposed to the innumerable forms of reformist compromise with evil, and the innumerable forms of de jure scamming and selling out) as a kind of de facto persecuted underground movement is correct, then what organizational, strategic, and tactical conclusions would follow?
May 23, 2014
*Congratulations to the Community Rights movement and the people of Jackson and Josephine counties in Oregon who voted by wide margins to ban cultivation of GMOs. The initiatives also declare seed patents invalid. These defensive measures are part of an affirmative effort to rebuild local food sovereignty.
Benton County will vote on a similar measure in November, and several other Oregon counties are in varying stages of preparation to launch their own initiatives.
*As the Russian parliament ponders a bill which would effectively ban cultivation of GMOs, the non-profit Genetic Safety Public Association is enlisting researchers and raising funds to perform what it says will be the “first-ever independent international research on GMOs.”
*A new meta-analysis further confirms the link between glyphosate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is especially prevalent among farmers and agricultural workers.
*European Commission bureaucrats are plotting to evade enforcement of a law passed by the European Parliament which would effectively ban for most uses endocrine disrupting poisons like glyphosate and neonicotinoids. The EFSA and DG SANCO (the EC’s chemicals regulators) have been dragging their feet and missed several legislatively mandated deadlines for presenting plans to enforce the law. Sweden has announced it will file suit in the European Court of Justice to force EC bureaucrats to obey the law.
A memo from an EFSA cadre to DG SANCO proposes that the two bureaucracies team up to evade the law by expanding a narrow exemption for uses that create “negligible exposure” for humans into a giant loophole. The mechanism presumably would be the normal one wherein the bureaucracy simply raises the level of exposure which it dogmatically declares to be “safe” or “negligible”. This has been the pattern of US and EU bureaucracies all along – allowed levels of human exposure to any agricultural poison are set not according to any scientific standards based on health evidence, but instead are set at whatever level the corporations desire. The bureaucracy then declares this level to be “safe” in doctrinaire fundamentalist fashion.
The memo also delves into EFSA philosophy. It objects to the law in principle on the grounds that the law would restrict what the government bureaucracy sees as a corporate right to profit. It’s easy to see why the EC is so ardent for the TTIP, with its “Investor/State Dispute Settlement” (ISDS) provision, to be concluded and forcibly imposed on Europe. Only this can maximize the ideology and enforcement of a corporate license to seek profit regardless of any and all other values.
*New Zealand’s High Court has overruled a ruling by the NZ Environmental Protection Agency that a “genome editing” technique being used by the country’s publicly funded corporate research group Scion does not qualify as genetic engineering and therefore does not need to be regulated as such.
This is one win amid a general trend in the US and elsewhere to try to remove new kinds of GMOs from any regulatory oversight at all, meager as this oversight is.
March 29, 2014
As the community rights and anti-corporate movement gathers momentum, it will increasingly strike fear in mercenary minds, and in the minds of all who remain stagnated in the obsolete ideologies of “left” and “right”, “liberal” and “conservative”, let alone the cretins who remain partisans of either the Democrat or Republican halves of the one-party corporatist state we now have.
At a website which claims to stand for a “participatory society”, and which likes to affect some radical-chic vibes, some members recently outed themselves as just another gang of masked liberals with an ethically and intellectually challenged hatchet job on the CELDF movement. Evidently when they say they want participation they don’t really mean participation, heavens no. How silly of us to misunderstand that word and think it means we the people politically and economically rule ourselves.
The fact is that this entire critique is from the point of view of statist, corporatist, pro-Democrat liberalism. It’s therefore irrelevant in principle, since the community rights movement cherishes participatory democracy and economic self-determination and rejects the legitimacy and authority of corporations and centralized states. The piece is also forced to lie at every practical point, since nothing has been more completely proven to be an historical failure than representative liberalism, insofar as it ever actually wanted to improve the lives of regular people and prevent concentrated power from preying upon the people. Of course, if it ever did want to do any such thing, it has long since ceased from any such intention and become a pro-corporate scam.
I’ll just make a few general replies to the piece.
1. It engages in bourgeois quibbling about what is and isn’t “constitutional”, what does and doesn’t derive from the Declaration of Independence in some sense a duly certified law professor would agree with, etc.
But citizens of a democracy care nothing about any piece of paper, except insofar as it expresses and helps realize political and economic democracy and freedom. Today we must care only about what’s effective toward anti-corporate abolitionism. The fact is that none of these documents has any eternal meaning at all, except to antiquarians talking about what they meant at a particular time in a particular context hundreds of years ago. Anyone who claims to think the Declaration of Independence, for example, has any ineffable “nature” other than what the people of a time are willing to fight to make it mean is a liar or is being completely ahistorical. (I’m not sure which of those a system academic is more likely to be.) But the only way these documents matter to modern abolitionists is in how they can help attain the abolitionist mission.
Of course, these liberal scribblers agree with me. Throughout the piece they repeatedly assert that what’s “constitutional” isn’t anything stable, anything based on principle, but is merely whatever the bourgeois courts say it is. The constitution is nothing but what Monsanto’s Clarence Thomas says it is. This is one of their core points.
Let’s correct a few historical facts obfuscated and falsified in the piece. In reality, the Declaration of Independence was not an affirmative statement of synthesized laws, but a rejection of illegitimate, usurped, and therefore tyrannical “law”. Therefore when we reject the legitimacy of the “laws” and rule of corporations, globalization tribunals, and the centralized governments who serve them, we are taking exactly the same stance as the signers of the Declaration. And when we cite it as precedent, we are using it in exactly the same way its original promulgators did. The dispute here is over whether the rule of Monsanto, the CAFOs, the frackers, Wall Street, is legitimate. We say it is not. The authors of this piece and their ideological ilk say it is. So it’s clear that there’s no common ground here, and that these scribblers are simply perpetrating a fraud when they claim to be arguing from some common principle, and that therefore people should listen to them and turn away from the anti-corporate struggle. But to be for or against corporate domination is the only meaningful demarcation today, which cuts across all other issues and gives them their true character, as opposed to the false divisions which system ideologues and partisans struggle to keep in place.
Similarly, the notion of constitutionalism propounded here, that “the constitution” is whatever is written and called a constitution, of course as interpreted by a handful of elite legal priests, is historically false and tendentious. On the contrary, one of the fiercely contested political controversies of the era leading up to the first stage of the American Revolution was the question of whether or not there’s an underlying sovereign constitution, of which even a written constitution is only a provisional expression, its legitimacy contingent on the institutions it establishes continuing to act in accord with the underlying people’s sovereignty. The gradually-adopted decision of the rebels that this sovereign constitution precedes any written one became a basic principle of this first stage of the Revolution. But this philosophical development was also an extension of the long evolution of the logic of political thought. When today a US liberal takes up the old British/Loyalist position, that the constitution is whatever a piece of paper (and really a handful of corporatist judges) says it is, and pretends this is “the” position, he’s simply trying to lie this controversy and this history out of existence. He’s probably totally ignorant of this history anyway.
So there’s our basic conflict over what is or isn’t constitutional: We say that this can only be decided through political struggle. They say it’s a purely elitist determination and decree. And there we see the basic difference between democratic philosophy and liberalism, which is inherently hierarchical, authoritarian, elitist. According to them, the courts and by extension the government are legitimate, the people are not. This is the basic liberal elitism. We see the basic contempt for a community-based organization daring to lay claim to constitutional interpretation, filthy peasants having the temerity to contradict Our Betters in the courts, academia, and of course among the professional liberal NGOs.
2. They seem to have basically liberal-reformist objections to a more anarchistic philosophy. That’s irrelevant since the anti-corporate movement is, of necessity, both ideologically and on a practical level, anti-liberal. That’s because liberalism is inherently pro-corporate and pro-centralization, and also because it’s a proven failure at everything except helping to increase corporate power.
They also engaged in smear tactics, fraudulently seeking to conflate explicitly anti-corporate movements with, for example, racist “states’ rights” movements. This demonstrates their bad faith and their conceptual idiocy, since “states’ rights” makes no sense as a concept, while community sovereignty obviously does. It comes much closer to humanity’s natural and rational political and economic state, as well as being in much closer accord with the principle, paid lip service to even by today’s statist/corporatist tyrannies, that sovereignty can repose only in the people themselves, and that political power can only be conditionally delegated to any kind of hierarchy.
By now we know that these hierarchies, and the political philosophies which sought to justify them, including liberalism, were always frauds which have not improved the happiness, prosperity, and freedom of the people. At most they were able to use the age of cheap oil to build mass middle classes in the West. Here isn’t the place to debate whether or not this Western middle class existence is the highest utopia humanity can aspire to, the way liberals would have it. (I’d say the record shows that middle class existence, even where it was temporarily stable, didn’t seem to make people happier, and in many ways left them less content.) But I will stress the fact that as we reach the end of the Oil Age, this middle class is being ruthlessly liquidated, and the system is clearly headed back, as fast as it thinks it can politically get away with, to some pre-fossil fuel form of economic tyranny: Some kind of feudalism or debt slave society which will be much worse than even the medieval variety.
There’s no disputing this basic trend toward increasing corporate domination and the destruction of the economic middle class as well as the destruction of the Bill of Rights-based system of civil rights/liberties. All this is inherent to the system. Today liberalism, as an ideology and as a set of political prescriptions, is a massive scam meant to help this corporate domination plan along. That’s the basic aspect of the term “neoliberalism”: Liberal terms, concepts, forms like representative government, etc., have been completely harnessed to the goal of shifting all real power and control to corporate bureaucracies while maintaining nominal government as corporate welfare bagman, thug, and the impresario of circus “elections” and “representation”. I defy anyone to give me an example of any significant government initiative of recent decades which transcends those three basic categories.
(Obamacare, for example, is really a corporate bailout and a poll tax. It has no public weal character, but is a combination of corporate welfare conveyance (its main proximate goal was to bail out the financially beleaguered health insurance sector; from there it’s simply meant to keep this worthless corporate sector in profitable existence), political circus (it poses as a big public-interest program), with a thug element as well (the poll tax is meant to help force people who are trying to break free of the corporate cash economy back into it). Anyone who had really wanted a government program to provide better health care to the people would have demanded Single Payer, which would have been vastly less expensive for the people and would actually have helped people. But that’s not what government does any more, and that’s not what today’s liberal and conservative supporters of big government want to do. They want nothing but to aggrandize corporate power.)
3. According to the comment thread, they’re the types who accuse anyone who disagrees with them of being a “troll”. But as I said in points (1) and (2), they themselves are technically trolls in that they’re pretending to be making a critique of participatory democracy and natural real economies, based on some alleged common ground, when really there is no common ground between anarchism/mutualism/positive democracy and centralizing corporatist bourgeois liberalism. There’s no substantive common ground, just some vague alleged affinity of ideals. But as we’ve seen, liberalism has been nothing but the ongoing betrayal of these ideals, and is a definitively proven failure and/or treachery.
I will agree with one strategic point. My understanding of the CELDF strategy is that it seeks to use the concepts and rhetorical forms of constitutionalism and of the first stage of the American Revolution in an innovative and tactically effective way, to help organize modern anti-corporatism and rational economic tendencies toward building a coherent movement. But so far it seems pretty vague on what the next steps are, once organizations dedicated to fighting for these ordinances have been brought into existence.
But the hatchet job I critiqued here clearly has no goal other than as typical liberal gatekeeping. They’re trying to distract attention from the complete failure of their own scam and discourage people from taking up new ideas and new forms of activism and organization.
I especially like their horror at the prospect of communities fighting to resist interstate highways or fracking pipelines. And you always gotta love when so-called “leftists” take up the canned Frank Luntz term “patchwork”. Bush consultant Luntz called this one of his “words that work”, and we see how this term has indeed worked, to the point that it’s now a staple of alleged “left” discourse as well, wherever our pseudo-radicals are opposing the people where the people are trying to fight back at the community level, which is after all the natural level of human existence. Because liberals and authoritarian leftists have no such human basis for their existence, but are only synthetic products of mass society, they could never understand this kind of humanism.
(“Conservatism” is another part of the overall corporate propaganda scam, but in this case we’re concerned with a liberal and/or radical chicist attack, so I focused on that.)
In the end, the only meaningful diagnosis is that corporations are the overwhelmingly dominant form of economic and, increasingly, political tyranny today. Corporations are totalitarian, and are the radical enemy of all human values, as well as of our physical basis for existence. It follows that the only meaningful prescription is to commit to the clear goal of the total abolition of the corporate form.
This is not only the only meaningful analysis and goal, but has the virtue of presenting a clear goal, unlike the vapid “anti-“s of reformism and pseudo-radicalism. These clearly just want to talk and do nothing, which is why they intentionally claim to be for high-flown principles but offer only the most vague objections to “capitalism” or whatever in place of a clear prescriptive goal.
The community rights movement doesn’t have all the answers yet, but it does understand three basic facts which no one else seems to understand: The people and only the people are sovereign, corporations by definition are illegitimate and have no right to exist, and corporations are actively destructive of all human values and needs, and must therefore be fought to the end with all means at hand.
February 14, 2014
*A victory for democracy in Benton County, Oregon. The Benton County Community Rights Coalition, a local group affiliated with the nationwide Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund (CELDF), has won a court ruling enabling it to get its food sovereignty and local rule measure on the ballot for 2014. This bill would ban GMO cultivation in the county and affirms the sovereign right of communities to rule themselves on food issues. It declares itself against the tyrannical prerogative of corporations and alien central governments to force their power upon democratic communities.
It therefore directly contradicts the corporate tyranny preemption law the state passed in 2013 in direct response to similar ordinances passed in other counties.
In the end none of this will be settled in courtrooms or legislatures, but on the ground in our communities, in our neighborhoods, at our homes, and through our will to unite with all others who are fighting it out on their ground. Courtrooms and legislatures will either eventually ratify what the people enforce, or shall continue to ratify what corporate power can enforce, if the people don’t rise to defend their own lives, freedom, and future.
*A similar win for local rule in New Zealand. The country’s Environmental Court has ruled that local councils have a right to place restrictions on GMO cultivation.
A central bureaucrat has already promised to try to suppress the court ruling by autocratic fiat. Again, court rulings like these are great, but in the end we the people will never enjoy any freedom, liberty, or prosperity which we don’t seize and enforce on the ground.
*New film “Ten Years of Failure: Farmers Deceived By GM Corn” details the agricultural and socioeconomic disaster of widespread adoption of GM corn in the Philippines. As elsewhere, the crops yield poorly, the herbicides and insecticides fail to work as weeds and pests deliver resistance. Meanwhile seed and poison prices skyrocket. Farmers are driven off the land and into shantytowns. The farmers still on the land are unable to escape from the GMO treadmill because of debt and the unavailability of non-GM seed, which Monsanto systematically drives out of the market.
*The European Council has voted against approving the DuPont/Dow stacked maize variety 1507. But the vote didn’t achieve enough of a supermajority to be binding, so in the end the European Commission will dictatorially make the decision. It’s under strong bottom-up pressure to adhere to the Council vote and the earlier, much more lopsided Parliamentary vote.
The wild card is Germany’s abstention. If Germany had joined France in voting No, it would’ve been difficult for the Commission would override the Council. But with Germany abstaining, that makes such an autocratic override conceivable.
Several pro-GM governments, such as Portugal, Belgium, and the Netherlands, also abstained, though Britain and Spain (by far the largest cultivator of MON810 in Europe) voted Yes.
We can see a clear hierarchy of lessening democracy and intensifying corporate rule: The people oppose GMOs; the Parliament strongly votes against 1507’s cultivation; the Council votes against it by a lesser margin (with several pro-GM governments abstaining; because of political pressure from below?); the Commission and its EFSA certainly want to approve it.
If the TTIP is ratified this will impose an even more purely corporatist layer on top of the Commission.
There’s the hierarchy of corporate totalitarianism. 1507’s “approval” process is a good case study.
*French legislators are proposing a new law to ban all GMO cultivation, in response to the an attempt by the country’s high administrative court to overturn the country’s democratic ban on cultivation of MON810.
*The Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) has announced it is releasing four types of GMO brinjal (eggplant) seedlings. These are engineered to produce Bt insecticidal toxin. This will make Bangladesh the 29th country to approve GMOs for cultivation.
*The latest “biofortified” GM hoax: Flax allegedly engineered to produce higher levels of Omega 3 fatty acids. It’s the standard drill with these hoaxes (the most famous is “golden rice”). They don’t work, and are unnecessary anyway. In this case, Omega 3 is easily found in a healthy diet. Not to mention all the supplements already on sale.
In this case, unlike with golden rice, the flacks can’t even make the false claim that this is meant to help the poor of the Global South. In principle it’s basically just another one of those nutritional supplements I just mentioned, and will be used overwhelmingly for CAFO feed.
As usual with these hoaxes (see last week’s “purple tomato” for another example), the goal isn’t necessarily even to commercialize this product. Rather, the idea of it does propaganda work. Again, golden rice is the best-known example. The purpose of these GMO media hoaxes is to distract attention from the fact that in reality GMOs do only two things, both involving poison: They’re engineered to allow one or more herbicides to be sprayed directly on them, and/or they endemically produce one or more endotoxins, usually Bt toxins. In both cases they become literal poison plants, all their cells suffused with endotoxin and or herbicide residue, which then becomes endemic in our food. GMOs literally poison our food.
That’s in addition to the health hazards of genetic engineering as such.
*A new analysis by Testbiotech finds that DuPont’s 1507 stacked maize, which currently has an application for cultivation within the EU before the European Commission (the Parliament and the Council already voted it down), has widely varying levels of Bt toxic expression in individual plants. This is contrary to its application, which claims a stable level of expression of the Cry1F endotoxin.
This is not, however, contrary to the record of other GMOs. Indeed, every GMO which has had the genomes of field-grown crops comparatively assessed has turned out to have wildly varying genomic characteristics. Such unstable GMOs are illegal under European law, but have been allowed for cultivation and/or in imported food and feed anyway. These common GMOs include MON810 maize, MON863 maize, GA21 maize, Bt 176 maize, Bt 11 maize, Liberty Link maize, Roundup Ready 40-3-2 soybeans, and GTSB77 sugar beets. Nowhere but in their regulatory applications do “the” genomic versions of these crops exist. This everyday extreme variation is proof of the instability of transgenic genomes, their propensity for ongoing mutation, and their changeability in response to environmental factors.
In every way, we see how the promises that genetic engineering was a precision technology whose effects could be predicted were all lies. The only thing predictable about GMOs is how chaotic their existence and effects are.
*Mexican honey contaminated with GM material from GMO soybeans grown nearby. The latest of thousands of examples proving that “co-existence” with GMOs is impossible, and that those who support them are totalitarians who claim a total right to trespass on the land of others and damage and destroy their crops and agricultural products. Speaking of whom…
*More on the lawsuit of Australian former organic farmer Steve Marsh against a GMO farmer whose false canola contaminated Marsh’s land where he grew oats and wheat, costing him his organic certification and the revenue from his crop.
Marsh chose not to challenge Monsanto’s non-liability contract which it forces farmers who buy its seed to sign. I guess this is because he felt he couldn’t afford the suit and might lose in a corporatist court, even though such a contract is clearly invalid.
Instead he sued the individual farmer, which is something which ought to be done more often in contamination cases. This is trespass and destruction of property, plain and simple. But with GMO contamination it’s interesting to see the way pro-corporate types, who often fetishize “property” rights in other contexts, are forced to openly proclaim that a GMO grower has the right to trespass on the property of other farmers and damage or destroy those farmers’ property.
The moral fact of this issue is clear, and if we had any such thing as the “rule of law” then the law would be clear as well: Anyone who manufactures, sells, or grows any type of GMO has strict liability for all contamination resulting from that type. This strict liability is necessary because it’s seldom possible to trace the exact source of the contamination, yet everyone knows that contamination is inevitable. Therefore everyone who sells or grows GMOs contributes to the ongoing contamination onslaught.
Meanwhile this case is putting Australia’s strong organic standards in a quandary. If Marsh loses his case, there will be strong pressure for the standard to be watered down, in the name of “co-existence”. Which is exactly the line Monsanto, the USDA, and industrial organic have been pushing for several years in the US.
As I wrote here:
GE alfalfa was fiercely resisted by farmers, eaters, scientists, environmentalists, and civil society groups. For years the USDA was thwarted by lawsuits in its attempts to fully unleash the product. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (the Biotechnology Industry Organization’s 2001 “Governor of the Year”, and frequent traveler on Monsanto’s corporate jets) got together with the luminaries of industrial organic – Whole Foods Market, Stonyfield, Organic Valley, and others – to formulate an attempted compromise with Monsanto. The notion was that industrial organic and Monsanto would agree on “partial deregulation” of RR alfalfa (toward total deregulation somewhere down the road, of course), and the USDA would make a sham promise to really truly honestly enforce the partial regulations, including compensation for alfalfa farmers whose crops were destroyed by the inevitable contamination. This would be accompanied by a propaganda campaign which would lie about the contamination potential. They called this “co-existence”.Why did industrial organic want to make this “compromise”, and why did the USDA want to broker it? Both the USDA and the industrial organic sector have always wanted to bring GMOs under the umbrella of organic certification. Only massive consumer resistance forced the Clinton administration to back down on this when GMOs were first commercialized in the mid 90s. Today, they want to accomplish this through a combination of contamination and propaganda. They hope GE alfalfa deregulation will lead to a broad pollution of the general alfalfa crop, which will render the current meat/dairy certified-organic sector (which must use non-GMO feed) untenable. In this way the USDA and the Whole Foods contingent dream of making ”certified organic” safe for GMOs. The intended goal is to be able to call GMOs “USDA organic” and still extract the premium from the “organic” brand. It’ll be difficult for them to do this, but we mustn’t underestimate the power of inertia and apathy. If the message seems overwhelming – “GMOs are safe, are perfectly compatible with the Organic concept, Organic is still good if it’s GMO, and everything is GMO anyway so There Is No Alternative, unless you want to go all the way to really knowing your local farmer or growing your own food, and we’ll do our best to stamp that out.” – many who vaguely oppose GMOs can be expected to surrender.
*To close with some good news, Monsanto’s proposed pesticide seed factory in Malvinas, Argentina has run into further legal barriers as the provincial government has found the company’s environmental review to be inadequate. Monsanto will now start over again. A new review may take two months. (An absurdly short time.)
This factory is slated to produce maize seeds infused with multiple insecticides and fungicides and is likely to produce a constant emission of toxic waste in the air and water. It would be a further affliction upon a region already physically devastated by Roundup spraying on the omnipresent soybean plantations, and economically devastated by this same commodified agriculture system. The factory, intended to further concentrate economic power, would be a further self-cannibalization for the country.
The only reason it hasn’t already been built is that the citizens of the region have physically blocked the construction, persisting and enduring in the face of police and thug violence. Only this community of resistance and freedom has forced the government to take any semi-real regulatory action at all.
This reinforces the lesson of the community rights struggles I led off with. As all the news in between demonstrates, we’re up against a totalitarian assault upon all human values and our right to exist as a people at all. Governments and regulators are part of the assault.
In the end, we the people directly shall organize and act to defend and assert our freedom, liberty, and prosperity, or we’ll let ourselves be enslaved and destroyed.