Volatility

March 18, 2017

The Vote Was Unanimous for Trump

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The status quo is impossible.
 
1. Fossil fuels are finite, and this one-off ahistorical extreme level of energy consumption is now reaching its end, never to be repeated. Humanity soon shall resume historical levels of energy consumption. Therefore the extremely expensive, luxurious, high-maintenance civilization dependent upon this extreme energy consumption will collapse. In particular, industrial agriculture will collapse, thereby dooming to famine any civilization which has not transformed to agroecology.
 
2. Ecosystems at every scale are at their breaking point. Climate change, poisonism, and the general destruction of biodiversity are reaching their kinetic climaxes for civilization. This fragile hothouse flower shall not withstand general ecosystem collapse. Again, the most directly catastrophic effect will be the collapse of industrial agriculture, dependent upon the environment as it remains in spite of all its attempts to lift itself outside of the Earth.
 
3. The corporate technocracy system is committed to totalitarian tyranny. Even if capitalist civilization were physically possible to sustain, the people are being liquidated politically, economically, and eventually physically. We see the global campaign to drive all people legally and physically off the land. This portends their literal disappearance from the planet. This campaign has been most aggressive across the global South but increasingly is liquidating the Western middle class as well. Their liquidation may be more gradual so far (but it’s accelerating), but their final destination is the same as that of the South’s people of the land: Famine and pandemics amid the shantytowns.
 
Therefore the rational, sane course of action is to commit to building movements toward the necessary new cultural, agronomic, socioeconomic, and political forms. The rational, sane course is to build Food Sovereignty and agroecology.
 
Conversely, any mode of action or support for the status quo is irrational and insane. Any such action or support, however superficially “moderate”, implicitly seeks the most extreme insanity since in its death throes the corporate system will resort to literally any measure it can, no matter how extreme in its violence, to maintain its power and existence. Prior to these death throes the system’s attempts to prop itself up will manifest in ever greater political and economic volatility, which comprise a direct cultural mirror of the ever greater physical volatility generated by climate chaos and poisonism.
 
 
In all these ways the masses feel the ground shake beneath their feet.
 
And they feel how the corporate system is destroying their economic existence.
 
And they sense how the system itself is tottering.
 
All this musters tremendous free-floating fear. Left to itself this fear-itself makes most people inherently timid, conservative, desperate to believe in the very status quo which afflicts them. Most are desperate to believe the very thing which is most insane and self-destructive for them to believe, that they don’t feel the ground shake beneath their feet. This desperate will to self-delusion drives the masses to their own volatility and implicit extremism corresponding with that of the elites and the physical environment.
 
This was the situation for the 2016 US plebiscite on the corporate globalization system. One’s choices were to vote Yes to the status quo in all its chaotic extremism, or No.
 
 
Let’s look at the major subdivisions among the Yes vote.
 
*The Clinton vote was the most conservative vote. Superficially this was the most acquiescent status quo Yes vote. This was the most obvious way to say “I like the status quo and want nothing to change.” This most pure status quo vote seemed the safest, most conservative way to vote Yes and refuse to acknowledge the ground shaking. Thus the voters refuse to face reality, they flee into fantasy, and they vote for the system’s volatility, which led to Trump.
 
*Most absurd were the Sanders and Stein fantasies. Ironically this mode of voting Yes indicates the most active, conscious affirmation of the status quo, since it takes the form of constructive criticism. One votes this way to say, “I like the status quo but have thought about it and want some changes.” These voters are more likely to pay lip service to reality, but are still unwilling or unable truly to face reality, reject the status quo, and commit to what’s necessary. Thus they too ultimately refuse to confront the crises, they flee to fantasy, and they vote for the status quo volatility which created Trump.
 
*Then we have the de jure Trump vote. Some of the wealthy and some die-hard cultists may fail to feel the ground shake and voted only for a change of parties. Some feel the ground shake and may vaguely want some kind of change but are uncommitted enough that the corporate system still could manipulate them into voting Yes to it. Most are like the others and refuse to face reality, and these voted most directly for the most volatile manifestation of the system-driven chaos. Regardless, the de jure Trump vote was the same vote as the others, the refusal to deal with reality and the will to prop up the fantasy, and the binge, to the bitter end.
 
All three of these Yes modes are modes of the refusal to liberate oneself, refusal to acknowledge and confront reality, refusal to commit to the necessary ideas and actions, and the desperate clinging to the electoral religious fantasy. Thus they all voted for whatever result the plebiscite coughed up. They voted unanimously for it.
 
It wasn’t inevitable that the wheel would land on Trump and not Clinton. The vote was close enough, a few breaks this way or that and it could’ve landed on her. But all the voters voted Yes. This was the only vote possible.
 
 
And then there’s the No vote. There may be some non-voters who are so vegetative that they don’t feel the ground shake and don’t care. Most of the No voters recognize that there’s no point to the rituals of the system and have given up on these. But they haven’t committed to the necessary movement action.
 
Then there’s the small group of affirmatively conscious anti-voters like myself. Most of these also haven’t committed.
 
Objectively the people are aware that it all matters, it all counts, abstention is not an option. The Yes voters are those who react by doubling down, digging the hole faster, “committing” by denying reality. The No voters are those who have stopped digging, even if most don’t yet exert themselves to climb out of the pit. But in principle it’s they who may be able to climb, whereas those who can only look downward and dig faster are unable even to think of climbing.
 
They’re the ones who dug up Trump. All of them. And what will they dig up next, if we don’t climb up out of the pit and fill it in behind us?
 
 
 
 
 

March 17, 2017

The Regulators’ Rearguard Fight for the Cancer Poisons

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Where Gothic really does mean death.

 
 
Today we live in fear of cancer, one of the great and insidious fears deeply delving, haunting the civilized psyche. We know that the power structures ranging uncannily above us like storm clouds, pelting us unpredictably with rain and winds, are insinuating this cancer through the industrial poisons they pump into our air, water, and food. We know this adds up to an existential incarceration and we fear we’re on death row. People don’t know what to do, which is why denial is the most common response. To those who struggle to overcome denial, the corporate state directs its propaganda campaigns.
 
The most directly potent cancer agents are the agricultural poisons. Humanity has no choice but to come together as a movement dedicated to abolishing these poisons. Nothing less can liberate us from the fear and the reality of cancer. So far this movement does not yet exist, only the necessary idea for it.
 
Once in awhile one of these poisons becomes the subject of a political flash point. Today glyphosate, one of the most cancerous agricultural poisons, is under fire. Even some governments and other system forces have been cutting ties with it. Where this happens we abolitionists must urge all effective anti-poison actions and use the situation for the greatest benefit to the necessary ideas and to organizing for these ideas. But we must never regress to faith in discredited enemy organizations. Thus where we have evidence of discord at the EPA we use it to demonstrate that the evidence against the poisons is so extreme that even within the ranks of the enemy some are losing faith. But we must never give aid and comfort to reactionary notions about wanting to “reform” the regulator, or any version of wanting to resurrect faith in it. This is the main preoccupation of gatekeeper consumerist groups who really seek a deal with the corporations.
 
In the US the EPA has been the leader organizing and propagating lies and misinformation about glyphosate. This is a permanent EPA campaign which continues regardless of any merely cosmetic change of presidential administrations. All US presidents from Reagan onward have agreed to the EPA’s suppression of its knowledge that glyphosate causes cancer. All US presidents are therefore conscious, willful accomplices to this campaign of murder.
 
The EPA has been forced into damage mode by the rising tsunami against glyphosate. From the mainstream point of view, the milestone was the 2015 finding of the World Health Organization’s cancer research agency (IARC) that glyphosate causes cancer. According to secret Monsanto memos forced into the public light by ongoing litigation, the EPA tipped off Monsanto about the IARC’s upcoming finding and helped Monsanto prepare an attack. This included EPA officials working to prevent an investigation of glyphosate’s cancerousness by the Department of Health and Human Services, and academics agreeing to have their names placed on “scientific” papers actually written by Monsanto public relations cadres.
 
In April 2016 the EPA publicly released a document declaring glyphosate to be “unlikely to be carcinogenic to humans”, then withdrew it from public view. The memo publicly existed just long enough for Monsanto to tout it as an EPA formal public opinion. The EPA implicitly endorses this Monsanto characterization even as it claims the memo was posted inadvertently. This clearly is a lie.
 
What’s really happening is that the evidence of glyphosate’s cancerousness is so overwhelming that the EPA is scared to defend this position in full public view. Seeing how badly the EU’s EFSA has been floundering in public since its own formal declaration in 2015, the EPA has been unable to assemble a propaganda package it feels comfortable defending. That’s why it’s been stonewalling and resorting to such tricks as now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t with public releases. This has been nothing but an innuendo campaign meant to prop up the pro-glyphosate status quo without actually having to make a formal public declaration. The EPA knows it can never plausibly defend any such declaration, since it’s in the nature of the brazen pro-glyphosate lie that it can have no plausible content or evidence to justify it.
 
We’ve been getting more details about the EPA’s internal angst. According to a secret EPA memo leaked to a French magazine, there’s an internal dispute about the agency’s campaign to whitewash glyphosate. The EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) accuses the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP, the division which released and then suppressed the April 2016 memo) of using a reductive, anti-scientific measure instead of the internationally agreed scientific measure. All agencies including the EPA agree in principle to use a scale of five levels in assessing the cancerousness of a chemical, ranging from “carcinogenic” to “unlikely to be carcinogenic”. (The WHO’s cancer agency found glyphosate to be a “probable carcinogen”, the second most severe ranking.) According to the ORD’s memo, in practice the OPP drops this and applies a reductive Yes/No measure rigged always to give a No answer.
 
The OPP refuses to divulge the methodology it uses. This is because it really uses no method at all. It only starts with the dogma that it will whitewash the chemical, then engages in whatever convolution is necessary to reach this conclusion. Evidently these methodological convolutions are so contorted as to be laughable, which is why the EPA is refusing to release and stand by a public proclamation.
 
Meanwhile the EU continues to brazen ahead. Its Chemical Agency (ECHA) released its own declaration whitewashing glyphosate. This was written by a pro-industry panel in imitation of the prior BfR/EFSA declaration, which by the BfR’s own admission was nothing but a rewrite of a paper written by the Glyphosate Task Force, a de jure industry group. We see how in Europe the conveyor belt from Monsanto’s PR department to a regulatory finding has been completely mechanized, while the EPA’s procedure is more clumsy in action.
 
Nevertheless the EPA’s intent and result is the same: Whitewash glyphosate. Prop it up as long as possible. EPA performs this role most directly on behalf of Monsanto, the politically powerful corporation most precariously dependent upon glyphosate.
 
More broadly the EPA and its European counterparts have an ideological and power-conserving mandate to defend the entire regime of poison-based agriculture and maximize the use of poison. Therefore every fight for a particular high-profile poison is also the fight for all poisons.
 
Conversely, abolitionists must fight every particular cancer poison, which means all pesticides, and turn every fight against one poison to the fight against all poisons.
 
 
 
 
 
Help propagate these ideas.
 
 
 

March 2, 2017

The Scourge of Bt Cotton

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Humanity’s struggle against corporate agriculture, especially in the form of GMOs, becomes increasingly fierce around the world. One of the most critical and infamous battlegrounds is India. Here, Bt cotton is the locus of the struggle over commodification, the agronomic performance and socioeconomic character of GMOs, and this false crop’s role in history’s greatest suicide epidemic. It failed immediately for the small farmers of India and Africa. More recently it failed for the better-equipped farmers of the South. It soon will fail completely for all cotton farmers everywhere. India’s ongoing sea change against Bt cotton and against commodity cotton in general is only the tip of the iceberg. The consensus is changing. This most typical of GMOs is nearing the end of its time as a marketable product and useful propaganda item.
 
Bt cotton is one of the most notorious examples of how GMOs and the propaganda campaigns that tout them comprise a massive hoax and fraud on farmers and society. India’s Parliamentary Standing Committee on Agriculture found in its 2012 report that “After the euphoria of a few initial years, Bt cotton cultivation has only added to the miseries of small and marginal farmers”. In 2014 this committee followed up with the finding that government claims of rising cotton farm income are false. Only debt and risks have risen, giving “ample proof to show that the miseries of farmers have compounded since the time they started cultivating Bt cotton”.
 
GMOs are a rich man’s technology. This is true of the corporations which control and distribute them, tightening their control of agriculture and food. It’s true for the farmers themselves. The only way GMOs may work temporarily as advertised is in the context of high-input industrial agriculture. GMOs require lavish external inputs and best case scenarios. They need to be supplemented heavily with irrigation, synthetic fertilizer, pesticides, and mechanization. GMO seed sellers are also sellers of agricultural poisons such as herbicides and insecticides. The corporate goal always is to maximize both seed revenue and poison sales. That’s what GMOs are designed to do. They’re very costly to grow and require either huge cash reserves or that farmers go into debt. Only rich growers who can afford these expensive inputs can have any hope of getting GM crops to perform in the field as advertised so they can turn a profit on these very expensive crops. That’s why GMOs are an abject failure everywhere they’re not propped up with massive government subsidies.
 
In spite of these facts, corporations and governments consistently have targeted small farmers for GMO marketing. These farmers, who comprise the great majority of food producers worldwide, lack the resources to get the crop to grow as advertised or to render it economically viable. Across the global South the pattern has always been the same. Corporations and government launch a propaganda blitz targeting small farmers, promising high returns and threatening with economic extinction those who are slow to adopt the technology. The marketing campaigns promise lower pesticide costs, more effective pesticide coverage, and higher yields and revenues. Governments promise subsidies and generous credit. Lacking independent sources of information, often following local leaders in the pay of the cartel, small farmers buy the GM seeds. The GMO corporations use every tactic, from buying seed companies to imposing contracts on seed growers and sellers to having governments offer temporary subsidies to having “unapproved” seeds outlawed, in order to drive non-GM alternatives out of the market.
 
The farmer pays far more for this seed with its added “technology tax”. He quickly finds he must increase fertilizer application. Pesticide savings never materialize. He must go into debt to procure the expensive inputs he now needs. His farming dependent on rainfall, he learns too late that the Bt crop needs artificial irrigation to get enough water. Pests and diseases ravage the GMO crop in a way they hadn’t with conventional crops. The harvest is poor. Meanwhile the same corporate system is dumping globalized commodity crops on the market. The harvest price plummets. The farmer is wiped out. He’s driven off his land and into a shantytown. In India, he may kill himself by drinking his own pesticide. This individual tragedy is multiplied over hundreds of thousands, millions of small farmers. These millions are economically destroyed, forcibly subject to a mass expulsion from the land, one-way tickets to the terminal slums thrust into their worn hands. These slums have sprawled out from the fringes of the Southern cities in proportion to the intensifying death grip of corporate agriculture, their inmates the cast-off human destruction of this corporate assault.
 
This pattern has been unbroken wherever corporate agriculture has gone. Wherever commodity cropping has prevailed its primary effect has been to destroy community farmers and drive the people off their land. GMOs reinforce and intensify every pathology of corporate industrial agriculture and especially are evil in how they aggravate this social carnage. Today the goal of corporations and governments in pushing GMOs upon small farmers is to squeeze them for every cent possible, then drive them out. For small farmers and for society as a whole, GMOs are history’s most monumental socioeconomic fraud. That’s why the 2009 International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, and Technology for Development (IAASTD) rejected GMOs as unable to play any constructive role in the future of farming and food.
 
Bt cotton is the best-documented example of this pattern of fraud, failure, and human destruction. In India a human drama unequaled in history has been playing out, with millions of small farmers under economic assault by globalized agriculture. They’ve been viciously duped by Monsanto and the Indian government. They’ve been subject to a “ruthless drive to use India as a testing ground for genetically modified crops”. The story begins in the mid 1990s. Under economic pressure and in thrall to commodification propaganda, small cotton farmers began switching from their traditional diversified polycultural practices, which included intercropping with food and other crops for personal use and local sale, to monoculture based on hybrid varieties and destined for global markets. This first put them on the treadmill of rising input costs, pesticide use, and debt. According to government data, 75% of rural debt in India is from the need to purchase farming inputs. The seed dealers themselves double as moneylenders at usurious rates, thus repeating the 19th century American tragedy of impoverished sharecroppers and “the man”. The suicide epidemic is caused by this vicious circle. In Maharashtra state, ground zero of the epidemic, 2.8 million of 3.6 million farmers were in debt in 2006.
 
Hybrid varieties are highly vulnerable to insect pests. Each year farmers had to invest more borrowed money, time, sweat, and anguish into applying an ever more prodigious and complex mix of poisons. As if their situation wasn’t parlous enough, in 2001 the US radically stepped up the dumping of its own heavily subsidized cotton on the Indian market, causing the price to collapse. For all its cotton production, third in the world, India became a cotton importer on account of the low global price. India’s small cotton farmers were desperate.
 
This was the context for the commercialization of Bt cotton. It was first grown illegally in the Gujarat province starting in the late 1990s, then launched legally across the whole cotton belt in 2002. The first legal varieties were a joint project of Monsanto and its Indian subsidiary Mahyco. Farmers, trapped on the treadmill paying ever more for pesticides that worked ever more poorly, were desperate for a solution. It’s no surprise that they ardently listened when the massive Mahyco advertising blitz, bolstered with bullish government and media testimonials, promised them a Bt panacea. Bt cotton came from “magic seeds” which would solve all their problems and give them a prolific, profitable crop. It would rout pests once and for all, cost less to grow, yield better, and gross more at harvest time. Bollywood stars toured the countryside exhorting farmers to get on board. The government promised support and lenient credit.
 
Small farmers faced this marketing offensive with few independent sources of information. “There are no independent expert agencies in this country”, according to a 2014 panel report to the Ministry of Environment and Forests. There’s practically no one but industry and its government flunkeys to advise farmers. Because of this, the adoption of Bt cotton has had little to do with knowledge and experimentation but was mostly a social response. In a time of agricultural deskilling and economic uncertainty, farmers fell back on following a leader or following their neighbors. This environment was rich to be manipulated by Monsanto/Mahyco’s propaganda blitz.
 
Most Indian cotton farmers heard about Bt cotton through word of mouth, from neighbors who had been tapped by Mahyco to serve as proselytizers, or from advertising coordinated by seed dealers. In Maharashtra 79% of farmers said they’d heard of it from seed dealers. These Mahyco-licensed dealers are often also peddlers of the expensive inputs needed as accessories to Bt crops and loansharks offering the credit needed to buy this expensive apparatus.
 
This information problem is aggravated by the fact that Bt seeds have been highly unreliable in germination, Bt expression, and yield. This again is a function of how lavishly expensive external inputs are applied, but is also inherent to the shoddy GMO seed itself. If small farmers who are unable financially to deploy the whole input apparatus follow the lead of a local bigshot who can afford it, or believe the lies of government and industry, this is a recipe for economic self-destruction.
 
Throughout its history the private seed business has been about nothing but marketing, trivial “product differentiation” which even the National Academy of Sciences derided as “pseudo-varieties” representing no kind of actual improvement, destroying farmer choice through enforcing monopoly, and fiercely resisting attempts to enforce transparency and quality control. Jack Kloppenburg’s First the Seed gives an excellent historical account. Just from this historical record it was easily predictable that GMO seeds would comprise a shoddy, fraudulent product. This prediction has been borne out. Bt cotton may be the best case study of how high maintenance GM crops are, how they require a vast, exorbitantly expensive apparatus of inputs and optimal conditions in order to work as advertised, and therefore how inappropriate they are for small farmers. GMO agriculture and smallholder agriculture are antithetical and cannot “co-exist”, to use the GM cartel’s favored propaganda term. Any assertion or advertisement to the contrary is perpetrating a hoax and a fraud. It’s a Nuremburg level crime. As is Monsanto’s aggressive campaign to impose a near-monopoly on cotton seed in India.
 
The lies were aggressive and virulent from the start and remain so to this day. “Bollgard protects you! Less spraying, more profit! Bollgard cotton seed: the power to conquer insects!”, blared an early poster. “Our products provide constant and significant benefits to both large- and small-holder growers. In many cases farmers are able to grow higher quality and better-yielding crops.” That’s from Monsanto’s “Pledge Report” for 2006, which was the exact time it was rolling out Bollgard II with two Bt toxins. This was in response to the collapse of the original Bollgard on account of bollworm resistance to its single toxin. Clearly the only “constants” are the ever-escalating pesticide treadmill, the ever-rising Tower of Babel as GMOs have to incorporate more and more stacked poisons, and Monsanto’s revenue from this business model of captive markets and planned obsolescence. The other constants are the vicious circles of farmer struggles, debt, misery, exodus from the land and into slums, and suicide. And the lies march on, as the Advertising Standards Council found when it recently flagged Monsanto-Mahyco’s campaign for falsely claiming “Bollgard boosts Indian cotton farmers’ income by over Rs.31,500 crores” (over 315 billion rupees, which is around $4.725 billion as I’m writing this but was much more at the time).
 
Taking advantage of Indian cotton farmers’ parlous economic circumstance and their lack of information, the propaganda campaigns worked. In spite of the unprecedented high price of the seeds, farmers began planting Bt cotton. By the time they realized the debt and monopoly trap they were in, it was too late. The result has been a disaster.
 
We’ll survey in detail the real world performance of Bt cotton in India. This is in contrast to the “studies” of Monsanto flacks like Matin Qaim, much touted in the corporate media. Qaim, who barely set foot outside the Mahyco greenhouses and field test sites during his few visits to India (he’s based in Germany), simply propagates corporate-asserted numbers based on secret data from the corporate trials. There’s no reason to trust these numbers in the first place, and even if they were true they’d be valid only for the ivory tower conditions of the trial sites. Either way these figures have zero validity for real world agriculture of any sort, let alone that practiced by small farmers. Yet this person is the main “scientific” source for the corporate media and pro-GMO activists everywhere. Since we can assume Monsanto provides the best flackery it can, in dismissing Qaim we can dismiss the entire pro-Bt “side of the story” as fraudulent and invalid. Now let’s move on to what reality testifies.
 
*In reality Bt cotton never improved yields. Data compiled by government and trade groups tells a stark story: The great bulk of the yield increase (measured by nationwide average kilograms per hectare) of the commodity cotton era in India occurred from the 2000-01 to the 2004-05 seasons, at which point only 5.6% of cotton acreage was planted to Bt varieties. During the Bt acreage surge from 2005-06 (18% of cotton acreage) to 2008-09 (84%) yield increased only a slight amount, then stagnated and declined. In the ensuing years as Bt acreage crept up above 90%, yields have declined. Overall, yield increased 70% from 2000-01 to 2004-05 when Bt acreage was negligible, and increased only 2% from 2005-06 to 2011-12, with a decline since the 2007-08 peak.
 
This proves that the entire increase was from other causes and had nothing to do with the GMO. The real cotton yield surge came from the switch from traditional polyculture-based cotton farming to hybrid monoculture deploying massive, expensive inputs – irrigation, fertilizer, pesticides. This is only monocultural yield, not food for people or farmer income. “Yield” by itself is a crackpot measure with no inherent meaning. It can have meaning only within some socioeconomic, political, or environmental context.
 
In fact almost the entire yield increase came from improvements in conventional hybrids and expanded irrigation. As for pesticides, Keshav Kranthi of the Central Institute of Cotton Research (CICR) scoffs at the notion that Bt crops can hold their own. On the contrary, he attributes the viability of any kind of hybrid cotton, Bt or conventional, versus a wide range of what from the Bt point of view are secondary pests (Bt cotton’s target pest is the bollworm; secondary pests include whiteflies, jassids/leafhoppers, mealy bugs, mirid bugs, thrips, stink bugs, and many others), to the standard seed treatment with the neonicotinoid imidacloprid. This too is a deadly poison we need to abolish, and jassids increasingly are resistant to it. Therefore, to the extent poisons contribute to yield at all, this non-GM poison is far more important than genetically engineered Bt. The great increase in the years of low Bt acreage and stagnation of the years of Bt domination prove that this GMO offers no yield benefit whatsoever and is actually inferior to conventional cotton hybrids.
 
These numbers, damning as they are, actually exaggerate GMO performance since they’re skewed by the relatively better results from Gujarat state. Gujarat is an outlier in that its agriculture is dominated by fewer, bigger, richer farmers than is typical in other states. Gujarat is far better served by irrigation projects and fertilizer subsidies. Its more capital-rich farmers can better afford the expensive inputs Bt cotton requires. The better Bt cotton production in this state therefore confirms the thesis that GMOs work only for rich growers who can afford lavish outlays for irrigation, fertilizer, and pesticides. Take Gujarat out of the equation and Bt’s performance for small farmers across the cotton belt has been dismal and worsening.
 
Besides its overall poor yield, Bt cotton (and Bt crops in general, everywhere on earth) has performed in an extremely variable way. There have been several regional crop failures, most recently in Karnataka in 2014. In general the national and state averages obscure extreme local variability. As a rule, how the GM crop will perform is a crapshoot and will vary from farmer to farmer. Seed quality is often poor and Bt expression in the crop is highly variable. Is this caused by the chaotically modified genetics, by agronomic factors like watering levels or soil quality, by environmental factors like temperature? Who knows? No government or corporation has ever studied this in Bt cotton. Not Monsanto, not the US government, not the Indian government, no one. An independent study of Bt expression in GM maize, however, found great variation depending on climatic conditions. We see how climate chaos driven by the corporate system is intended to maximize the chaos of all aspects of agriculture, right down to the performance of the corporate flagship product.
 
At the farm level, Bt cotton intrinsically yields less than conventional hybrids. Given high inputs it may have better operational yield for the first few years until the bollworms develop resistance. Given the low inputs which comprise the limit for indebted small farmers, Bt always yields much less, along with many acute failures. Yields have always been far less, often by more than half, than what Monsanto’s advertising promised. Poor yields continue to this day. The meager overall numbers conceal a vast number of individual tragedies.
 
For the individual farmer, growing Bt cotton is like “playing Russian roulette in order to get out of poverty”, as Nassim Taleb put it regarding civilization and GMOs as a whole.
 
*Here’s a good place to add a critical point. While the individual small farmer crushed by commodity agriculture is often impoverished, the opposite is true of agriculture as a whole. Here we’re talking about cotton, which isn’t directly a food although the seeds are pressed into oil which is used in processed foods. Nevertheless in any discussion of GMO yields we must always stress the fact that industrial agriculture produces far more than enough food for everyone on earth today, and more than enough even for the highest future population projections. The fact is that there’s zero problem with the quantity of food produced, today or at any time in the future for as long as industrial agriculture persists. (It won’t for much longer. Humanity must transform to agroecology and food sovereignty if we want to continue eating.) Therefore there’s zero need to increase yields in order to “feed the world”. Feed the World is a classical Big Lie. The world currently produces enough food for 10 billion people, yet of the 7 billion here, one billion go hungry (and another 2 billion suffer from dietary diseases such as malnutrition or obesity, often both at the same time). This is caused purely by pathological economic and political systems for maldistributing the cornucopia we have. For example, India has vast food stocks, indeed it allows vast amounts of stockpiled food to rot, yet 250 million go hungry. The problem, today and tomorrow, is 100% from corporate maldistribution, 0% from insufficient production. It’ll be a great leap forward for civilization when we can completely purge the “Feed the World” notion from rational and moral discussion as the criminal Big Lie it is.
 
*Perhaps the core lie Monsanto-Mahyco and the Indian government told cotton farmers is that Bt cotton is suitable for rainfed cultivation. In reality Bt cotton is dependent upon artificial irrigation. In fact Bt cotton requires as much as twice the water needed by conventional hybrids and cannot be effectively grown without expensive artificial irrigation. The vast majority (70%) of India’s farmers depend completely upon rainfall. In Karnataka state where yields collapsed in 2014, most cotton cultivation is rainfed. Gujarat is the exception again, reversing the proportions of irrigated (65%) and rainfed (35%) farms. Here the irrigated area has accounted for 84% of the state’s cotton production, 689 lint kg/ha, while the rainfed area produces only 247 kg/ha. That’s a typical yield difference between Bt cotton grown with irrigation vs. rainfall.
 
To try to sell Bt cotton, or any GMO, to a rain-dependent farmer is criminal fraud. Investigative journalist PJ Sainath went further – “promoting [Bt cotton] in a dry and unirrigated area like Vidarbha [ground zero for the cotton farmer suicide epidemic] was murderous. It was stupid. It was killing.”
 
*Another core lie is that the Bt technology can be a permanent panacea against insect pests. On the contrary, Monsanto knew from the start that pests would develop resistance to any Bt toxin just as they do with any other pesticide. This is elementary knowledge of how evolution works. Monsanto built the planned obsolescence of each GMO variety and its being superceded by ever more complex and expensive “stacked” varieties into its business strategy. They called this marketing plan “expanded trait penetration”. But in the early 2000s Monsanto was promising the opposite, that single trait Bt cotton would maintain its potency versus the bollworm indefinitely.
 
Farmers who believed the lies were quickly disabused. Overall there was never a real decline in pesticide use in Indian cotton farming. Indeed, nationally pesticide use went up 10% during the peak years of Bt expansion. This was despite the increased use of lower-volume, higher-toxicity poisons during these years. In some regions Bt may have used less pesticide than conventional hybrids for the first few years, with a difference range from minuscule to significant. It’s a function of how much water and fertilizer the crop gets. (As always, every possible agronomic benefit of a GMO is dependent upon lavish and expensive artificial inputs. To spend less on pesticides you need to spend more on water and fertilizer.) Any temporary relief also depends upon high-quality trait expression. But many varieties are inconsistent, shoddy, or just fraudulent. There’s never a lasting decline. After four years at most the pesticide use and cost equals out. A few more years and Bt cotton needs more applied pesticides than non-GM conventional cotton. In terms of aggregate poison use and environmental and health hazards all the numbers comprise a false accounting because they don’t account for the Bt endotoxins themselves. But these too are pesticides and must be counted as such.
 
Meanwhile all commodity cotton, even Bt cotton, always needs sprayed and seed-treated pesticide since cotton is attacked by the widest array of insect types. In the case of anti-bollworm Bt cotton, secondary pests quickly move in to fill any temporary void left where the Bt toxin has temporarily killed the target pest. As I mentioned above, according to the CICR’s Kranthi without neonic seed treatments Bt cotton would be routed by whiteflies, jassids, mirids, aphids, thrips, and many others. As Monsanto’s own propaganda often emphasized, Bt adoption has to be put in the context of the failure of earlier pesticides. Since the same companies propagate both kinds of poisons, applied and GMO endemic, it’s obvious that the poison treadmill culminating in stacked Bt poisons is planned obsolescence, a form of disaster capitalism.
 
In some cases the Bt cotton never worked against the target bollworms at all. In every case bollworms developed resistance within a few years. In 2006 Monsanto introduced Bollgard II containing two Bt toxins, the original Cry1AC plus Cry2AB, thus admitting that the original Bollgard no longer worked. Bollworms have since developed resistance to Cry2AB. This is standard for the GMO pesticide treadmill.
 
The result of all this has been that farmers found any reduced-pesticide dividend to be minimal and temporary at best. While pesticide use and cost may have declined by a small amount at first, within a few years these were back to pre-Bt levels. Today Bt cotton farmers have to spend more on pesticides than farmers growing non-GM conventional hybrids. And to correct the false accounting again, the great expense of Bt seeds has to be entered as a pesticide cost, since farmers are purchasing the Bt endotoxins the crops allegedly will produce.
 
This ongoing pesticide disaster of insurgent secondary pests, resistant target pests, and soaring pesticide use and costs has reached new levels of infamy since 2015, as Bollgard II is collapsing in the face of resistant bollworms even as secondary whiteflies decimate the crop in many states. There’s a rising consensus among Indian farmers, agronomists, and even officials that the Bt cotton experiment has been a disaster India needs to purge.
 
*As Monsanto flooded the market with its seeds it pressured seed growers and sellers to stop producing and offering non-GM seeds. Monsanto calls this tactic “seed replacement”. Once enough farmers had adopted Bt cotton and GM seeds had attained a dominant market position Monsanto jacked up the price to astronomical levels. Here too there has been great variation over time and across regions, but distilling from many sources tells us that seed prices soared to 2-10 times as much as the price of non-GM hybrids. Prices have run from 700-2000 rupees per packet. For contrast, the original Desi varieties cost 5-10 rupees a packet. The bulk of this price explosion is Monsanto’s technology tax. By one estimate, by spring 2014 Monsanto had extracted 5000 crore in taxes (50 billion rupees; c. $810 million in contemporary dollars) from Indian cotton farmers. Imagine what this wealth could have accomplished if Indian society had invested in agroecological food production instead of throwing it down a corporate commodification rathole.
 
This extremely high priced seed input and accompanying tax is unique to the GMO varieties and therefore piles a new burden on the backs of already beleaguered farmers.
 
Various Indian state governments and some central government officials have made half-hearted attempts to relieve the crisis. In 2005 the government of Andhra Pradesh banned three Monsanto-Mahyco varieties for poor performance and sought in vain to force Mahyco to compensate farmers. In 2006 the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) issued an anti-monopoly pricing order against Monsanto-Mahyco, which Mahyco has done all it can to flout. The central government in 2008 as well as the state governments of Maharashtra in 2008, Maharashtra again in 2011 and 2012, and Karnataka in 2014 undertook regional farmer bailouts in response to atrocious Bt performance and crop failures. At various times Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka have banned Mahyco seeds for bad performance and fraudulent sales practices. But these ad hoc, piecemeal measures have been utterly insufficient. In 2016, even as Karnataka geared up for its second farmer bailout, the Indian central government ordered price caps on cotton seed and the tax Monsanto imposes on the seeds. The government also threatened to revoke the Monsanto’s Bollgard II patent on the grounds that the product is a failure and a fraud.
 
The result of these escalating input costs has been that Bt cotton is considerably more expensive to grow than non-GM hybrids. At the same time cotton prices forcibly have been depressed and kept low by US dumping of heavily subsidized cotton. The result is that even for the best-equipped farms, Bt cotton’s profit margin is razor-thin, worse than for non-GM conventional. For small farmers, it’s a wipeout. It’s near impossible for them to do anything but lose even more and sink deeper into debt each year.
 
As all this has been going on India’s conventional agricultural credit structure, based on nationalized banks and lenient payment terms (obviously the right way for society to handle its food producers if it’s to force them to incur debt at all, which of course it should not), has been gutted by the same globalization process which has driven first monoculture hybrid commodification and then Bt commercialization. As a result farmers have been forced to turn to usurious “microlenders” and the seed and poison dealers themselves who often double as loansharks. This sinks them even deeper in the quicksand.
 
Around the world this pattern has held everywhere, from the richest countries like the US and Australia (both suffered yield declines and subsequent reduced Bt plantings during the drought of 2013) to Asia to Latin America. In Argentina the same pattern of partial but fleeting success for wealthy growers, failure and bankruptcy for small farmers, prevailed. The Colombian government fined Monsanto for the awful performance of its Bt cotton seeds. It was the same story: for small farmers Bt cotton didn’t perform well against pests, didn’t reduce pesticide use or costs, yielded poorly.
 
Returning to Asia, Chinese production, long afflicted by the secondary mirid bug, is suffering from surging bollworm resistance. Chinese problems with Bt cotton aren’t new. A 2006 Chinese/Cornell study already documented the standard pattern: Seven years of Chinese Bt cotton cultivation had seen a temporary decline in pesticide use and rise in income, then the surge of secondary pests drove farmers back to spraying as much as 20 times a year. Soon they were paying more for pesticides and making less money than non-GM conventional farmers. In Pakistan pesticide use and costs are rising steeply on account of the rampant fraud and the generally dismal performance of the seeds against pests. In Africa’s Burkino Faso farmer success or failure with Bt cotton has been a function of farmer access to credit on rational terms and the ability of farmers to pay for expensive inputs.
 
African cotton farmers, like the small farmers of India, are especially devastated by US dumping of its heavily subsidized cotton. The same US government which touts GMOs around the world as a great bet for small farmers is ruthlessly dumping its corporate welfare crops on the heads of those same farmers like hot coals. China and the EU also subsidize cotton.
 
Second to the Indian debacle, the most infamous Bt cotton rollout was the abortive deployment in the Makhathini Flats region of South Africa from the latter 1990s to 2005. In Makhathini, the neoliberal government deployed the same kind of propaganda campaign, promised loans and subsidies, told the same high-flying lies. This propaganda was directed at the international community and world media at least as much as at Makhathini’s farmers. (The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization bit. Its 2004 State of Food and Agriculture (SOFA) report swallowed the lies whole and has been a favorite citation of corporate and media flacks to this day.) The seed cartel enlisted local leaders to attest to the alleged benefits of Bt cotton. Economically beleaguered small farmers responded by adopting the Bt technology with the same result as in India – increased costs, crop failure, the poison treadmill, the debt trap, ending in their being driven off the land. Some were able to stick around as laborers on land they’d once stewarded. Most survivors abandoned cotton completely. By the late 1990s over 90% of Makhathini cotton farmers had adopted Bt varieties. By 2004 drought (lack of irrigation), pesticide costs (secondary pests and then target resistance), depressed cotton prices (US dumping), and impossible debt had caused most farmers to abandon cotton completely.
 
The worldwide evidence record of the agronomic and environmental performance of Bt cotton has been the same everywhere. It has always led to failure and disaster for small farmers. The fact that Monsanto, governments, academia, and the media continue to hype Bt cotton as appropriate for small farmers constitutes one of history’s ultimate frauds. It “works” for no one but the destructive, parasitic elites who profit off it and use it to exert ever greater control over agriculture. By Nuremburg standards it’s a crime against humanity.
 
From this history we see how Bt cotton has aggravated the poison/debt agronomic treadmill and economic trap which enclose small farmers in hopelessness and misery, to the point that in the end their only avenues of escape are suicide or to flee the land for the terminal shantytown slums. Bt cotton has turned an agricultural crisis into a catastrophe.
 
This result was no accident, nor was it unforeseen. On the contrary, it’s simply an escalation of standard “green revolution” phenomena: The replacement of food-based (or in this case textile-based) agriculture with a poison and commodity basis; the enclosure and concentration of agricultural power and profitability on an elitist basis; the forced mass expulsion of the people from the land. The fact that government, corporate, academic, and media elites touted Bt cotton to small farmers knowing it could lead only to their destruction comprises a great crime against humanity. The same is true of all GMO deployment.
 
It’s clear that Bt cotton is a product which, where it works at all, works only for a brief period and only where supplemented by an expensive, cumbersome apparatus of artificial inputs. Like all other GMOs, it’s an extremely high maintenance hothouse flower. Industrial agriculture as such is highly destructive, wasteful, and unsustainable. GMOs represent an escalation of all the worst aspects of corporate industrial agriculture while conferring no benefits. As a whole GMOs are the extreme manifestation of a backward, economically cramping, agronomically destructive, retrograde technology and mindset. Collectively GMOs are a hoax and a fraud, and most of all where touted for small farmers. The goal of marketing GMOs to small farmers is to destroy them economically and drive them off the land so that large-scale corporate industrial plantations can more “efficiently” enclose and monopolize agriculture. In First the Seed Jack Kloppenburg discusses how the corporations faced barriers to the full commodification of farming itself (as opposed to the system of agricultural inputs and processing). Here we see the answer: One of the basic purposes of GMOs is to drive up the costs of farming to the point that it becomes economically impossible for small independent farmers to exist. Bt cotton provides one of the best case studies.
 
In fact, the failure of Bt cotton and the great fraud it incarnates are typical of the insecticidal and herbicide tolerant GMOs in general. These essentially are the only two types of GMOs. Both are literally poison plants. They’re engineered to produce their own endemic Bt insecticide and/or to tolerate copious slatherings of herbicide, usually Monsanto’s Roundup. The herbicide is taken into the crop itself and suffuses all its cells. Therefore GMOs add two completely new, massive, indelible presences of extreme poison in our food.
 
In both cases the poison treadmill and the business strategy of planned obsolescence are fully operational. Except for a few trivial exceptions like the small and declining acreage of MON810 cultivation in Spain, no single-trait Bt maize variety has been effective for years. They’ve been replaced by stacked varieties which produce as many as six Bt toxins. Varieties which produce even more are in the pipeline, as pest resistance escalates and accelerates. Meanwhile the Roundup Ready GMO regime no longer works, as over a dozen glyphosate resistant superweeds rampage across North America, Brazil, and elsewhere. The only solution the system offers is to stack herbicide tolerances. Monsanto originally touted Roundup Ready GMOs as rendering even more toxic poisons like 2,4-D and dicamba obsolete while glyphosate (the main ingredient of Roundup though not the only actively toxic ingredient) would never suffer weed resistance.
 
Today Roundup Ready is in ruins, and the cartel and governments are pushing GMOs tolerant of the exact same ultra-toxic 2,4-D and dicamba which those same corporations and governments promised us would be a thing of the past if we just believed them about Roundup Ready. The results with each of these shall be exactly the same total failure, but with even worse socioeconomic, agronomic, environmental, and health destruction wrought along the way. This is why the Technical Expert Committee appointed by India’s supreme court to advise it on GMOs recommended, among several other important restrictions, that herbicide tolerant GMOs never be commercialized because of how badly they would aggravate the ongoing socioeconomic carnage by wiping out vast numbers of agricultural laborers. Economically, herbicide tolerant crops are meant to be standard “labor-saving”, job-destroying devices. They’re also designed to save time so the farmer can expand his acreage, thus feeding the classical vicious circle of agricultural overproduction and trying to “make it up on volume”. This of course also adds to the Get Big or Get Out pressure.
 
We can see how both the insecticidal and herbicide tolerance genres as a whole are massive frauds of the exact same character as Bt cotton. Bt cotton just provides the most clear example of how GMOs as such comprise a monumental fraud and crime.
 
GMOs are worthless, wasteful, counterproductive, and destructive. They impose a severe constraint and bottleneck on all attempts to innovate and advance in agriculture, farming, and food. They are designed and intended to drive out all small and independent producers and, through attaining total corporate control of agriculture and food, impose such a strangulation grip on the throat of humanity that we’ll never break free.
 
GMOs must be completely abolished.
 
 
 
 
If you agree with the ideas in these posts, propagate them.
 

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February 24, 2017

Fueling the Destruction of Food

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The fire is in the mind of the scientism cult. Their goal is to consume the Earth with it.

The fire is in the mind of the scientism cult. Their goal is to consume the Earth with it.

 
 
GM ethanol-ready corn is perhaps the perfect GMO, at least within the realm of what readily can be sold given conventional subsidies. The only thing better would be a GMO which spontaneously combusts in the field prior to harvest. Indeed, this would be less costly to society, which is why it wouldn’t be as attractive to the GMO cult which is dedicated to being as destructive as possible.
 
Ethanol-ready GMOs represent an advance in the anti-food paradigm of corporate industrial agriculture. Corporate agriculture’s primary goal is to eradicate direct, efficient food production and replace it with highly costly, highly wasteful, highly inefficient commodity production designed to channel all proto-food production through CAFOs and processing in order to generate one calorie of eventual food product out of as much as a hundred calories’ worth of energy. This is the most effective way to destroy as much fuel and food as possible for the least return to human beings. The real product is concentrated power for governments and corporations. The process is made economically possible through massive subsidies and forcing all the costs onto society and the environment. The entire human and earthly economy must bear the burden of this massively bloated parasite. There’s the true cost of corporate industrial agriculture, which through smoke and mirrors is made to seem so cheap to the Western consumer at the retail checkout aisle.
 
This mirror effect is part of the funhouse designed to reinforce the religious mindset which believes that food comes not from the earth but from the supermarket, and ultimately from corporations.
 
Ethanol and biodiesel production comprises a refinement in this Food is Dead paradigm. With cropping bound for ethanol, the commodity crop no longer will be turned into even the most vestigial food. Instead the entire process is a pure loss: The land, the soil, the seed, the water, the air, the work, the socioeconomic destruction, the massive poisoning of the environment, all a total write-off for humanity. This is why ethanol subsidies persist even though this is one of the few corporate projects which actually has provoked resistance from other corporate sectors. In spite of the self-evident insanity and impracticality of the agrofuel concept, it remains sacred to the core of the anti-food technocratic priesthood. To put that more precisely, agrofuels are attractive to technocracy exactly because of their insanity and impracticality. Which is also why GMOs in general are such an object of cult worship for this fundamentalist religion. The cultists believe because it’s insane.
 
The “anti-GMO” movement will never get anywhere until it understands this fact.
 
Ethanol-ready GMOs offer another benefit from the technocratic point of view. Commodity agriculture in general eradicates food production. For a typical example, NAFTA was designed forcibly to convert Mexican production from regionally-based food corn for tortillas to globalized commodity corn for CAFOs, while food corn now would have to be imported and at the mercy of Wall Street speculators. The intended result was a great price surge in tortillas and radically escalating hunger in Mexico. Today ethanol-ready corn is taking this assault on tortillas one step further.
 
Corn is wind-pollinated and therefore is one of the most readily cross-pollinated crops. For that reason it’s among the most difficult to protect from contamination by toxic pollen such as from GM corn.
 
Today we’re seeing an epidemic of documented contamination incidents in Nebraska, and of poor-quality masa flour used to make tortillas. The preparation falls apart during cooking, just the effect one would expect from contamination of corn bred to be more starchy by corn engineered to be more sugary. There have also been many reports of food poisoning caused by the contaminated corn. All this is what we’d expect if the tortilla flour was contaminated by the ethanol-ready corn. This latest contamination and food poisoning outbreak is parallel in every way to the StarLink crisis of 2000-2001 where another special type of GM corn, this one designed especially as CAFO feed, contaminated the food supply causing an epidemic of allergic reactions, many of them life-threatening.
 
All this is what we’d expect from a system committed to wiping out food production for human beings as well as human participation in commodity crop production in general. It’s a system dedicated to driving humans off the land in the most literal sense and denying them food in the most literal sense, all the while preaching such religious mantras as “Corporate Profit is Food” and “Hunger is Food”, that these are the modes of “Feeding the World”.
 
The truth is that from the technocratic point of view, corporate persons literally are the world, and are the only “people” who need to be fed. Meanwhile, except for a handful of elites and their cult supporters, actual human beings are supposed to disappear. Corporate agriculture is designed to make human beings disappear, first from the land into shantytowns, and then, via famine, from the earth completely.
 
The assault of GM corn upon corn bred to be food for human beings is an epitome of this corporate/technocratic paradigm.
 
 
 
 
If you like these seeds, propagate them.
 
 

February 14, 2017

Humanfrei

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They hate food. (They hate the fact that we have to eat.) They hate the Earth. They hate the literal soil, the “dirt”. They hate the human body.
 
If for the time being they have no choice but to inhabit bodies which need food, they want to render it all as abstract, fictive, clinical, bureaucratic, technological as possible. For the same reason they want as much as possible to remove all direct human participation from food production and remove all contact with nature. They want to render the soil as inert and sterile and dead as possible and then jolt it with synthetic fertilizer. They want to sunder its contact with the rain and wind by rendering it dependent on irrigation water supplied by high-energy systems. They dream of covering all crop fields with black tarps and using only artificial light for photosynthesis. They want to use poisons to kill, not just “pests” but all life other than the crop itself. The fact that industrial agriculture is extremely wasteful in its use of fertilizers and pesticides, and the fact that GMOs are designed to maximize the use and waste of pesticides, is wasteful only from a rational point of view. From the point of view of technocracy and the scientism religion, maximal deployment of synthetic poison, through external application and by engineering crops to ooze poison from every cell, is an ideological value in itself. They do it on principle.
 
Besides maximizing pesticide use, from the cult’s perspective the main purpose of GMOs, and of corporate control of seed in general, is the religious principle of enclosing the seed and the genes, and therefore the physical crop, within the ritual of patenting. However artificial and fictive this is from a rational point of view, if the technocracy cult can convince enough people religiously to believe in intellectual property, and especially the patenting of life, and if this cult can convince the thug arm of the state to use force and the threat of force on behalf of this fiction, it becomes real. The crop now verily is something “new”. In some way it has been abstracted from the hated ecology.
 
Throughout the history of industrial agriculture and its Green Revolution, culminating in herbicide tolerant GM crops, the system has striven to be “labor saving”, aka job destroying, has been designed to purge as much human participation from the system as possible. Human beings are to be wiped out as farmers, wiped out as laborers, wiped out as communities, wiped out as people living on the land. This campaign has been most overt across the Global South, but it intends to encompass all of humanity. Human beings are to be wiped out as producers and eaters of food, since each of these human activities are odious to the technocrats and scientism cultists. Only as agents conveying money, as moneyed consumers, are human beings to be granted the right to exist at all.
 
In all the goal is to render food as abstract, technocratic, mechanized, chemical, biotechnological as possible. Monsanto’s goal always has been to remove all nature from the seed. Robert Fraley envisioned Monsanto becoming the “Microsoft of seeds”. By this he meant not just the mundane goals of greed and monopoly power. More profoundly he thought Monsanto’s transgenes would comprise the fundamental software of all agriculture, with the physical seeds and crops being just the stupid, fungible, cheap factory-produced hardware. Lots of people tried to tell them agriculture doesn’t work that way, that on the contrary the transgene is a stupid, messy gewgaw dependent upon the quality of germplasm in which it resides. For a long time the company wouldn’t listen.
 
After some years of stubbornness Monsanto had to concede to reality. But the company fixed its ignorance of agronomy only under duress. Their attitude has not changed. To this day they resent having to temporize, they resent having had to buy all those seed companies. They’re still trying to figure out how to impose maximum monopoly control with minimum real-world apparatus or indeed contact with physical reality at all.
 
This is the grail of all corporations, themselves such fictions rendered real only by the violence of the state and the inertia of the people. The sector comprising corporate agriculture and food, along with its lead enablers from the state, like USAID and the USDA, and from the world of private philanthropy, led by the Gates and Rockefeller Foundations, thinks exclusively in terms of Mammon’s fictive numbers. The measure of agriculture is never food for human beings but sanctified fake numbers like GDP, trade balances, sovereign debt, commodity and stock prices, corporate profits, money as such. These pure fictions are rendered real only by the corporate state’s violence and the tolerance of the people. Thus the corporate/government/NGO structure is able globally to impose and enforce the agricultural model which conforms to these measures and eradicates, as much as possible, all actual food production for human beings.
 
In all these ways the goal is to render it as literally true as possible that food is produced by money, that food comes from the supermarket.
 
The entire corporate system is dedicated to enforcing the religion of Mammon to its ultimate extreme, where the only relationships which shall exist shall be between sterile objects, preferably legal fictions like corporations, patents, titles and money, while all ecological relationships, all relationships between human and human, human and Earth, shall be eradicated. These relationships are to cease to have any right to exist, and then cease to exist in the most literal sense. This is the logical end of all theory and practice of the profit-seeking corporation. As we see every day, the corporations at all times are working aggressively toward this end.
 
So we have the situation:
 
Corporations regard human beings as superfluous, potentially dangerous, and would prefer they simply disappear from the earth.
 
Technocrats regard human beings as superfluous, potentially dangerous, and would prefer they simply disappear from the earth.
 
Corporations regard the Earth as literally nothing but a resource mine and waste dump.
 
Technocrats regard the Earth as literally nothing but a resource mine and waste dump.
 
Here we have perfect accord on an ideology, an economic system, and a technology set dedicated to rendering the vast majority of human beings superfluous and worthless in the most literal sense of the term. In the same way there’s perfect agreement on the complete destruction of the global ecology.
 
What do you think follows from that? Especially as the people stop being so patient, so tolerant, so inertial.
 
 
 

February 12, 2017

Ambivalence

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We see how Trump has made hay out of xenophobia. His appeal is only a more overt form of the standard bipartisan xenophobia. Obama/Clinton and the Democrats similarly comprise a xenophobic party. Trump has done nothing and proposes nothing qualitatively different from the status quo embraced by the Democrat Party and its voters.
 
Mass migration, of course, is driven by the corporate globalization forced upon the world by the US government. No other power would have been strong enough to force the World Bank, IMF, WTO upon the world. No other power could have forced NAFTA upon itself and its continent, none could have forced CAFTA upon its hemisphere, none could force the same pattern across both oceans in the form of the TPP and TTIP. Again, this is the policy of what’s objectively a one-party system, the Corporate One-Party. “Republicans” and “Democrats” are nothing but two identical gangs within this monolithic system, and they share consensus on always escalating corporate and technocratic domination, always destroying all they can of humanity and the Earth.
 
Forcing people off their lands, out of their home economies, rendering them homeless and stateless, forcing them into regional and global mass migrations, has always been a primary intent and goal of globalization. The corporations force this migration to drive down wages in some places and to clear others completely of human beings. This was a core purpose of NAFTA, to drive Mexican farmers off their land to clear it for industrial plantations, and to drive them into the US to drive down wages there.
 
The xenophobia of US conservatives and liberals reflects their ambivalence toward globalization and corporate rule. They want to believe the corporate system will continue to maintain them as a parasite class and for this reason they support the crimes of globalization. But at the same time they sense how they too are being liquidated, how the same bell tolls for them. If more gradually, nevertheless just as surely the shantytown and hunger are their ultimate destination as well. They struggle to relieve these fears through such expedients as xenophobia.
 
Similarly, they believe “Islamists” are aliens who are obstructing the full boons of globalization. The Middle East is the geopolitical center of global war, so Islamophobia and “war on terror” fantasies become proxies of ambivalence. The US middle class wants to continue to enjoy the parasitism afforded them by cheap oil, but they sense the fact that the cheap oil is just about spent, only the far more expensive (in every way) remains, the massive subsidies aren’t sustainable, and most fearful of all, the hype touting substitutes for cheap fossil fuels is nothing but a mirage, nothing but a scam.
 
This in turn is an example of the broadest ambivalence, the fantasies of technophilia and scientism bound up with the rising subconscious realism of skepticism about all this. The political parallel is the fantasy of total control over people and earth through technocracy, vs. the sure knowledge that this system is trying to destroy humanity and the earth once and for all.
 
We come full circle. The “civilized” hate the earth, hate the human body, hate that we’re physically forced to eat food which comes from the soil, hate every part of physical reality. The most perfect, most distilled example of this is the American combination of promiscuity and puritanism about sex. This extreme ambivalence is the perfect symbol of Americanism, and of the civilized mindset as such.
 
So it goes for all of reality. That’s the psychological basis of the scientism religion, the technocracy cult. They worship the idea of what they call “high-tech”. They worship only this idea, no matter how much high-tech really means nothing but high-maintenance, no matter how shoddy, inefficient, malfunctioning, wasteful, and destructive this technology really is in practice.
 
This religious ambivalence is how corporations have gained so much power. On a subconscious level the civilized literally worship this corporate person they created, as a kind of demon-worship. This is the objective character of the actions of the Western masses. (In the mass media this corporate worship often becomes nearly overt and self-aware.)
 
But at the same time they hate these fantasies. They know it’s all impossible, they know it’s all lies. They know there’s no way out – the Earth’s patience is at an end. They know the corporations mean to crush them once and for all. They know the STEM establishment is a collective Mengele viewing them literally as a mass of captive test subjects to be manipulated, tormented, controlled, and killed. They know technocracy exalts nothing but the most extreme anti-human, anti-ecological evil.
 
But like the monkey who stuck his arm into the jar to try to pull out the banana, they can’t bring themselves to let go, even though the ground around them is covered with fruit for the taking. That’s how deep the indoctrinated horror of physical life has gone. Today’s “civilized” Babylonian captives would rather starve to death than pack up and return to their Jerusalem, return to the Earth.
 
 
 
 

February 1, 2017

The Green Revolution and Corporate Agriculture Drive Hunger and Famine

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Philanthropy, corporate style.

Philanthropy, corporate style.

 
 
 
History is repeating itself as Africa, so many times in the past the target of colonial depredation, is today the target of a new dual campaign of aggression. The first prong of this campaign is the new colonialism based on land-grabbing and export commodity agriculture. The goal is to seize control of the land, destroy all food production and replace it with industrial plantations to produce export commodities, and drive all the people off their land and into shantytowns. The second prong is the already turbulent climate chaos which has been driven most by the same industrial agriculture, and which in recent years has been wreaking havoc on African farming and food harvests. Today, after years of widespread drought and collapsed harvests, large parts of sub-Saharan Africa are on the verge of famine. This famine, like all previous modern famines, is completely artificial, completely man-made, caused by corporate agriculture and now by the climate change of which this agricultural sector is the main driver.
 
This latest food crisis follows upon the purely financial food crisis of 2008-2009 which was triggered by rising commodity prices. This was part of the finance sector’s war of speculation and its intentional crashing of the global economy in 2008. In all these ways – financial crisis, land crisis, climate crisis – we have corporate campaigns designed to cause disaster, destruction, and chaos. The corporations then proceed to use the crises they intentionally generate as further opportunities for aggression and profit. This is called disaster capitalism. All corporate sectors practice it, and corporate agriculture is the most aggressive and destructive practitioner of all.
 
In the classic disaster capitalist manner today’s corporate imperialists are using the crisis and the famine they have systematically caused as the pretext to call for the escalation of their campaigns of finance speculation, land-grabbing, and food destruction. They call their plan a “second green revolution for Africa.” Toward this goal they have set up a propaganda and organizational apparatus funded by American and British taxpayers and administered by a coalition led by USAID and the Gates Foundation. They call the plan the “New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition” (NAFSN), and the Gates cadre which serves as overall coordinator is called the “Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa” (AGRA). The goal of this campaign is to induce and force upon African countries the whole standard globalization package which has already ravaged Latin America and Asia – privatization of tribal land, publicly-funded export and import infrastructure, eradication of all “trade barriers” which are defenses against Western subsidized dumping, corporate-dictated intellectual property policy, tax abatements and removal of all environmental and labor protections, removal of all currency expatriation restrictions, and in general the complete submission of African countries to the domination of Western-based corporations. The NAFSN seeks to impose all this on behalf of Western agribusiness corporations which have signed up with the plan. They pledge pennies to the public dollar of both Western and African taxpayers; they get to extract 100% of the profit and take it back home. The beneficiaries include pesticide and seed sellers Monsanto, Syngenta, and DuPont, traders Cargill and ADM, synthetic fertilizer manufacturer Yara, food manufacturers Unilever and Diageo. These and more will get special deals via the usual “public-private partnerships” which place all the cost and risk on the public and hand all the profit and control to the corporation.
 
The physical goals of the plan, which are always the real goals, are to seize control of all good farmland, wipe out all food production, drive out the people, divide the land into big corporate industrial plantations growing export crops, and use as much GM seed, synthetic fertilizer, and pesticide as possible. The goal is to be as destructive as possible of the soil’s capacity ever to grow food again, of African ecosystems, and of African communities and economies. Beyond a small collaborator faction which can be maintained as an urban middle class, the goal is to wipe out the African people completely. According to the US/Gates/corporate vision, these people have no purpose existing. There’s not even a plan to exploit them, just to drive them out. They call this the Second Green Revolution.
 
Does this description sound exaggerated? Not to anyone familiar with the record of failure, destruction, and corporate crime wrought by the original Green Revolution.
 
The best introduction to the facts about the Green Revolution and world hunger, and Africa’s alleged need for a second revolution, is the fact that contrary to media depictions, by the 1990s most of the hungry people of the world were not in Africa, which had been represented in Western media for much of the 1980s as the ultimate hunger disaster zone, but in the prime land of the Green Revolution, southern Asia. (Unless otherwise indicated, these numbers are compiled from government and UN sources by Food First in its magisterial World Hunger.)
 
In truth all the numbers which have been touted incessantly for the Green Revolution have been false accounting and lies. The figures claiming that hunger declined during the twenty year period from 1970 to 1990, the heyday of the Green Revolution, are based on the inclusion of figures from China, not a Green Revolution recipient. If China is left out of global figures, then during this period the number of hungry people in the world increased 11%, from 536 million to 597 million, even as food production significantly increased.
 
We can be more specific and focus especially on the two regions most intensely subjected to the Green Revolution. In Latin America during this period per capita food supplies went up 8% while the proportion of the hungry increased 19%. This is an 8% increase in per capita food even as the number of those going hungry leapt significantly. This means that population increase had zero to do with rising hunger, contrary to the claims of the corporate media and Malthusian commentators.
 
In the same way, in South Asia food available per person increased 9% while the hungry increased by 9%. This proves that hunger has nothing to do with the gross amount of food produced and everything to do with its distribution. It proves that any production increase attained by Green Revolution methods is irrelevant since the corporate distribution system which is indelibly conjoined with these production methods acts ruthlessly to make all food less available to people. This proves that corporate agriculture and its Green Revolution automatically and inexorably increase hunger and render increasing numbers vulnerable to famine.
 
And so it has gone. Under the corporate agricultural paradigm, by the latter 1990s there were over 800 million hungry in the world. By 2009 the number exceeded one billion, and continues to rise. This is never under any circumstance because there’s physically not enough food. Without exception hunger is caused by the artificial withholding of food from people to whom it would otherwise be available. Only on account of the artificial constraints, inefficiencies, and rituals of capitalism can food which physically exists, effectively cease to exist, because of the purely arbitrary reason that people lack the money to buy it. The historically proven fact is that as a rule hunger is caused only by inequality and poverty.
 
These are the same people who used to be able to produce more than sufficient food for themselves and their communities when they lived holistically on the land. Their way of life was socioecologically integrated with the Earth. They worked, the Earth produced, the people had food. And this productive balance must be restored if any significant number of people intend to eat in the post-fossil fuel age, since industrial agriculture is 100% dependent upon cheap, plentiful fossil fuels. But the cheapness and plenty are nearing their end, and the industrial paradigm inevitably must collapse.
 
But for now the onslaught continues. With some non-perishable and luxury exceptions, food production and distribution is naturally a local/regional physical and economic system. Corporate agriculture seeks to destroy all food production by forcing all production and distribution into a globalized commodity system. The only way to do this is to force economic structures upon the sector which economically destroy the viability of community food production and, through the enclosure of land, render it physically impossible. This then encloses all food production within the monetized framework and renders that food destroyed and nonexistent from the point of view of people. The “food” now exists only as a globalized commodity which is transported to wherever money is already concentrated. The rich get richer and literally fatter, while an ever rising mass of human beings gets poorer and more hungry. This is the indelible mathematical calculus of corporate agriculture and the Green Revolution, as well as the evil intent of its architects and cadres. It will never and can never have any result but to increase poverty, misery, and hunger.
 
The historical record has long been conclusive that increasing food production cannot reduce hunger because it doesn’t improve access to good land or the money to buy food, and therefore it does not increase access to food. On the contrary, it inexorably makes all these worse, and therefore makes hunger worse. In the same way, the introduction of any agricultural technology into an unjust, unequal system, without a prior social revolution to render that system just and egalitarian, inevitably increases the inequality and poverty and from there the hunger. (Indeed, this is a law of technology as such.)
 
And so we have the incontrovertible record of the Green Revolution and corporate control of food and agriculture. It was based on wheat, rice, and maize seeds specially adapted to high-input monoculture production. The goal was to maximize use of fossil fuels in order to industrialize agriculture and bring it under full capitalist control for maximum profit and power. The campaign did drive up “official” production, measured in commodities, while destroying much community food production and driving much of the rest off the official tally. (This is in order to suppress knowledge of how capable the people are of feeding themselves if they’re left alone and unassaulted.)
 
By official measures food available per capita went up everywhere, and hunger went up everywhere. Corporate agriculture and its Green Revolution act systematically to destroy all production of food which would be available for human beings while applying massive resources to drive up production of agricultural commodities to be exported for luxury use, especially for cheap meat and processed goods for Westerners. This, self-evidently, does not exist as food for the people of these places. On the contrary it represents nothing more or less than the destruction of their ability to produce food and their ability to eat.
 
By 1990 at the latest it was clear that the Green Revolution had no goal of decreasing hunger and helping farmers, but on the contrary was dedicated to economically destroying the farmers and driving them and their people off the land and into the terminal poverty of the shantytowns. Corporate agriculture is dedicated to increasing hunger and bringing famine. This is its systematically attained result, therefore this is its strictly proven intent and goal.
 
Today Africa, so many times ravaged by Western predation, is again under the gun. This time nothing less than the control of its very ability to farm and eat, today and for the future, is at stake. The “Second Green Revolution” already underway in parts of Africa is the greatest crime of our age.
 
The people of Africa are opposing this plan to destroy them. The people are organized into a coalition of hundreds of democracy networks, tribal alliances, and groups representing real farmers and pastoralists. These comprise the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa and include the African Center for Biosafety, the African Biodiversity Network (ABN), the National Coordination of Peasant Organizations (CNOP, a member of the worldwide Via Campesina, the Farmer Way), the NGO Federation of Collectives (FECONG), the Coalition for African Genetic Heritage (COPAGEN), the Food Sovereignty Campaign, Comparing and Supporting Endogenous Development (COMPAS) Africa, the Participatory Ecological Land Use Management Association (PELUM), the Eastern and Southern African Small Scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF), People’s Dialogue, Rural Women’s Assembly, Food Sovereignty Ghana, GMO Free Malawi, and many others.
 
In direct contrast to the failure, destruction, and organized crime which is the proven pattern and intention of corporate industrial agriculture, the true way forward is already operating and achieving great things in Africa and around the world. This is the path of Food Sovereignty and agroecology. This is the way human beings produce abundant food for themselves and their communities without massive, expensive, destructive inputs of fossil fuels and poisons, in harmony with the greater ecology, toward the greatest freedom, democracy, security, and happiness.
 
There’s zero problem where it comes to the sheer amount of food produced. We produce far more than enough food for everyone. This is true globally and it’s true in every region of the world. The only problem anywhere is with the corporate distribution system. Anyone who truly wants to feed people has to want people to be able to feed themselves. We have to change the distribution of the food we have, not struggle to produce “more” within a framework which has already proven it won’t distribute that food to humanity. Anyone who truly wants the world to have food must fight to abolish corporate agriculture, abolish the enslavement of food production to the commodity system, rebuild socially and economically natural food systems (food production and distribution is naturally and logically done on a local/regional basis, and only authoritarian systems can ever twist and contort these into a globalized framework), and build the Food Sovereignty movement. This movement must be based upon the great class of small community farmers who have always been the food producers for humanity and always will be, and upon agroecology, a fully demonstrated science and set of practices ready for full global deployment any time humanity wishes to embrace them. Agroecology is already accomplishing great things in Africa.
 
The goal of corporate industrial agriculture, and the ultimate goal of all globalization, is to seize control of the land and drive the people out. This has always been the ultimate goal of all imperial conquest: To render all land terra nullius, empty space to be subjugated, exploited to the hilt, wrung out like an old rag, left for dead. Today is humanity’s last chance to halt this corporate campaign of total destruction of our agriculture and our environment. We have our great chance to halt it and roll it back. This is what is necessary if we hope to have any agriculture and ecology left going forward beyond the fossil fuel age. The land is still there for us if we wish. We must save it and cherish it.
 
 
 
 
 
 

January 24, 2017

Seeds of Doom vs. Seeds of Rebirth

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“These people think that Africa is a country of animals, that we do not think, that we know nothing, but they are wrong. We are human beings, we know what we want and we will fight on to victory.”
 
– Zimbabwean participant at the 2011 International Conference of Peasants and Farmers vs. Land-Grabbing
 
Tanzania’s new seed control law is the latest victory for Western agribusiness seeking dominion over Africa’s land, seed heritage, and commodity export potential. Conversely, it’s the latest blow to Africa’s fight for self-determination and food security.
 
To gain Western “developmental assistance”, which means Western “investment” toward the goal of transforming a country into a corporate export plantation, the Tanzanian government has enacted “reform” meant to ease corporate control of the land and now will try forcibly to destroy Tanzania’s ancient and socially and ecologically stable system of seed saving and distribution among the small farmers who grow food for their people. All this is to be wiped out and replaced by corporate-controlled export agriculture while all food production disappears from the country and is replaced by mass hunger and misery.
 
This is the most recent development in an ongoing globalization campaign to enforce corporate control of all seeds and all of global agriculture and food. In Africa this campaign has been elaborated into a vast formal project, the so-called New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition (NAFSN). The New Alliance is the corporate strategy for the recolonization of Africa led by Western agribusiness. Its goal is to drive millions of Africans off their land and gain full control of all arable land in order to convert it to export commodity production. African farmers, tribes, consumers, environmental and civil society groups are opposing this, with support from anti-corporate and democracy activists from all over the world.
 
The record of over fifty years of aggressive globalized corporate agriculture based on production for commodity export proves that corporate agriculture equals human hunger. Corporate agriculture generates mass hunger and seeks to perpetuate and maximize hunger. Its goal always is to destroy food production, seize the land for commodity production, and drive the people OUT.
 
The NAFSN is driven by the US and UK governments, paid for by US and UK taxpayers, and functions according to operational goals dictated by corporations such as Monsanto, Syngenta, Cargill, Unilever, and others who have signed up for the program as part of various “public-private partnership” scams. The NAFSN operates officially under the auspices of the G8. The program is directly administered by USAID in its usual role as alleged “humanitarian” front group, public sector version, with the Gates Foundation and others serving as the “private”, so-called philanthropic counterpart. The Gates Foundation has set up its “Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa” as a key activist and propaganda weapon of the campaign. The corporate beneficiaries have signed “letters of intent” to join this so-called “investment” program. This means they put up pennies to the taxpayer dollar while being slated to extract 100% of the profits. An African fig leaf is provided in the form of the African Union’s Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Program (CAADP). This is the Stockholm Syndrome blueprint African governments developed in the wake of the West’s “structural adjustment” assaults. The NAFSN is a typical vehicle wherein African governments beg for “investment” on the corporations’ terms. The New Alliance is a prime fruition of this radical corporate control of Western investment. Ten African governments have sold out: Ethiopia, Ghana, Burkina Faso, the Ivory Coast, Mozambique, and Tanzania, Benin, Malawi, Nigeria, and Senegal. (The US remains frustrated by the ambivalence of Kenya, which was supposed to be the crown jewel member by now.)
 
The people of Africa are opposing this plan to destroy them. The people are organized into a coalition of hundreds of democracy networks, tribal alliances, and groups representing real farmers and pastoralists. These comprise the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa and include the African Center for Biosafety, the African Biodiversity Network (ABN), the National Coordination of Peasant Organizations (CNOP, a member of the worldwide Via Campesina, the Farmer Way), the NGO Federation of Collectives (FECONG), the Coalition for African Genetic Heritage (COPAGEN), the Food Sovereignty Campaign, Comparing and Supporting Endogenous Development (COMPAS) Africa, the Participatory Ecological Land Use Management Association (PELUM), the Eastern and Southern African Small Scale Farmers Forum (ESAFF), People’s Dialogue, Rural Women’s Assembly, Food Sovereignty Ghana, GMO Free Malawi, and many others.
 
Here we have a clear black and white division between humanity and a criminal elite. We have the aggressive elite power of the US and other Western governments, corporations, the mainstream media and technocratic establishment, and other elitists including racist liberals and NGOs. The whole project has had zero input or representation from the people of Africa or the West. Even as they mouth platitudes about helping the small farmers of Africa, the roster of participants in the cabal’s conferences reads each time like a technocratic dream guest list – Western politicians, corporate agents, NGO operatives, motley “experts” and engineers. It includes every illegitimate elite which is alien to the Earth and excludes every representative of actual human beings. Those opposing this assault comprise a truly representative lineup of African farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolk, indigenous peoples, and the citizenry in general.
 
Even if one didn’t know the issues and facts, just from the order of battle it would be clear who’s right and who’s wrong, who represents human prosperity, security, democracy, and freedom, and who represents the destruction of all of these.
 
The goal of the New Alliance is the corporate Gleichschaltung (coordination) of African agriculture and trade practices and policies for maximum plunder and domination. Its main goals are to drive the people of Africa off their land and into shantytowns, seizing all the arable land for corporate commodity production for export. The goal, as with all agribusiness endeavor, is to wipe out all food production and replace it with commodity production. This is the same program of globalization and commodification which has already devastated much of humanity. African governments are to collaborate in dominating and exploiting the people and the land. The goal of corporate industrial agriculture, and the ultimate goal of all globalization, is to seize control of the land and drive the people out.
 
Here’s the main elements of the plan:
 
*The privatization of land. In Africa vast numbers of people still farm and graze the commons. This makes it difficult for the corporate state to impose dependency upon money and loans of indenture, to set up corporate infrastructure and distribution facilities for pesticides, proprietary GM seeds, synthetic fertilizer, industrial machinery, to impose commodity cash cropping, and to arrange the export of the entire production of the land, leaving the people with nothing. As a prerequisite, corporations which would dominate and exploit these people and their land first need government to enclose and parcel out the land. This has been a priority of the World Bank going back to the 1980s. Obama’s USAID chief Rajiv Shad emphasized that the goal is to accelerate land grabbing. As Via Campesina put it, “These policies aim to allocate title deeds to land in order to facilitate the purchase and sale of landed property. In the end, poor peasants and other rural people lose out to the benefit of those who have the means to purchase land.” Tribesmen and pastoralists who have farmed the land for generations suddenly are told that the land of their ancestors is “legally owned” by a Western speculator or the land-grabbing agent of a foreign government. The NAFSN is designed to escalate this colonial process of stealing the land. The only difference from the old-style conquistadors is that the direct gun and sword have been replaced by the fountain pen, backed by guns, drones, and cruise missiles.
 
*The formation of economic hierarchies to centralize and integrate production, processing, storage, and distribution. All this is to be done according to corporate specifications, toward the goal of forcing most farmers off the land and reducing the rest to indentured servitude and wage slavery within a cash-based commodity export regime. Today the farmers of Africa are smallholders and commons managers producing food for their families and communities. This is ideologically odious to Western technocracy and an obstacle to total corporate domination and exploitation. The goal of the New Alliance is to eradicate this human order and replace it with the corporate-controlled globalized commodity export system.
 
*Use propaganda to induce the beleaguered farmers to adopt commodity cropping themselves, then impose expensive industrial infrastructure on them. The NAFSN reprises the decades-old ploy of offering credit in order to indenture farmers and trap them on the cash-crop debt treadmill. The procedure is always the same everywhere, with only minor modifications. 1. Propaganda – you have no choice but to get on board with commodification, and you better do it fast or you’ll be left behind. 2. Enforce this with Western commodity dumping and general coercion into a cash economy. 3. Offer the necessary product (“improved”, i.e. corporate-controlled seeds, synthetic fertilizer, industrial herbicide and pesticide, machinery, oil) and the debt-mongering loan in order to buy it. 4. In this way destroy most independent farmers completely, turn the rest into indentured sharecroppers or wage slaves.
 
*A severe and rigorously enforced “intellectual property” regime for the benefit of the seed cartel and its patents. The Tanzanian law is the latest example. All intellectual property in seeds has been the result of biopiracy. All crops and landraces were developed by farmers selecting seeds over thousands of years in cooperation with nature, and all existing varieties have been developed by farmers in tandem with modern public sector breeding projects. The private sector has never contributed anything constructive at all. This is just as true in Africa as anywhere else. IP seed regimes are designed to expropriate a vast property interest of the people as a whole, in exactly the same way as land-grabbing.
 
*Selectively open borders for corporate dumping and looting. “Free trade” is the standard Orwellian term for this; a truthful term would be something like corporate command trade, forced markets, forced commodification. This so-called “liberalization” applies where it comes to the government-approved and licensed “formal sector”. Meanwhile traditional markets and actual free trading among the people would be criminalized and repressed, as we see in the case of corporate seed regimes like that being imposed upon Tanzanians.
 
*”Free trade” zones, tax-free zones, laws licensing the total repatriation of profits by Western “investors”. These ravages of Latin America and Asia are set to be reproduced in Africa.
 
We already know the end result of this because we’ve seen it play out over sixty years in Asia, Latin America, and in South Africa which already has a near-fully corporate controlled regime. Seeds and the land are largely enclosed, farmers have been reduced to servitude, profits are ruthlessly extracted and removed from the country.
 
The program of the New Alliance is being called a “Second Green Revolution”, a “Green Revolution in Africa”. We already know the evils of the first Green Revolution. It drove the people off the good agricultural land, forcing them to struggle to grow food for themselves on worse, environmentally more fragile land. Meanwhile all prime agricultural land was enclosed for export production. The land is stolen and locked away. From the people’s point of view it’s as if all the best land literally was destroyed, while all the food they used to produce ceases to exist. This is the driver of all Southern hunger, just as forcing the people who used to support themselves across the land to become crowded into small desolate regions is the cause of so-called “overpopulation”. Thus the Green Revolution drives ever more people off the land and into urban slums and shantytowns. Shantytowns have always been the direct, intended result of this agricultural policy. The goal always is to further separate humanity from the land, assault human food economies, replace these with the global corporate commodity economy from which food is supposed to “trickle down” to those who have money to buy it, forcibly turn community farmers into “job”-seekers, generate population pressures and all the political divide-and-conquer gambits this enables, drive up the proportion of the population which is food insecure, drive down wages. In all these ways the Green Revolution increases desperation and infighting among the destitute masses and aggravates and accelerates the processes of colonialism and corporate rule in general. Today’s onslaught of corporate agriculture is an escalated version of all this.
 
Pro-technocracy, pro-corporate types still believe and propagate the lies of the Green Revolution. But it takes only a look at the historical record and current events to see that corporate agriculture has nothing to do with feeding people and everything to do with starving them for the sake of its profit and domination imperatives. How does it feed an African community to force it to stop feeding itself and start growing cash crops to be turned into cheap meat for Westerners and ethanol for Western cars? How does it feed people to drive them off the land they farm and into shantytowns? How does it feed people to impose artificial scarcity on the abundance their work coaxes from nature?
 
Let’s cut through all the lies. If you want human beings to eat, you want people to provide their own food for themselves, their families, their communities. If you want corporations and governments to crush this normal, natural food system and replace it with the corporate system of scarcity, coercion, domination, extraction, you want only those with money to feed. (As for the Western middle class among whom this attitude is common, the bell is tolling for them as well. If any among them ever wonders what the corporate and technocratic elite has in store for them, they need only look to the farmers of Africa now. In the end they’re slated to be liquidated the same way, even if it takes a little more time. But there’s already no lack of tent cities in America.)
 
The entire modern record of corporate agriculture and food proves that the corporate system does not want to feed the world and cannot do so, by its very nature. It takes a unusual form of stupidity to think that the way to end hunger is to take naturally abundant food and render it artificially scarce, as capitalism must do according to its nature. Just as it takes a special kind of arithmetic to think the way you end hunger is through a system whose primary action is to use ten calories’ worth of grain to produce one calorie of meat. This fact lays bare the entire truth about the corporate system, its goals, and the evil of anyone who supports it while even a single child goes hungry.
 
Corporate neoliberal ideology is a proven lie in every sector. There is no sector, especially food and agriculture, where corporate practice hasn’t brought oligopoly, inequality, deteriorating agronomic results, ever more frequent socioeconomic and environmental disaster, and mass hunger. All the while our prosperity, freedom, democracy, and happiness are destroyed. We know that agroecological production and distribution bring better practical results than the corporate system, we know that only it can sustain the environment, we know that all true innovation in agriculture throughout history has been the result of cooperative action in the public domain, and we know that corporate enclosure like the intellectual property regime has functioned only to smother true innovation. We know that the industrial food system is unsustainable in terms of energy consumption, we know it’s the worst driver of the climate crisis and other environmental crises, we know that even in the West it’s no longer keeping prices down, and we know that at every point it diminishes our freedom, autonomy, and community.
 
In direct contrast to the failure, destruction, and organized crime which is the proven pattern and intention of corporate industrial agriculture, the true way forward is already operating and achieving great things in Africa and around the world. This is the path of Food Sovereignty and agroecology. This is the way human beings produce abundant food for themselves and their communities without massive, expensive, and destructive inputs of fossil fuels and poisons, in harmony with the greater ecology, toward the greatest freedom, democracy, security, and happiness.
 
There’s zero problem with the sheer amount of food produced. We produce far more than enough food for everyone on earth and then some to fill their stomachs. This is true globally and it’s true in every region of the world. The only problem anywhere is with the corporate distribution system. Anyone who truly wants to feed people has to want people to be able to feed themselves. We have to change the distribution of the food we have, not struggle to produce “more” within a framework which has already proven it won’t distribute that food to humanity. Anyone who truly wants the world to have food must fight to abolish corporate agriculture, abolish the enslavement of food production to the commodity system, rebuild socially and economically natural food systems (food production and distribution is naturally and logically done on a local/regional basis, and only authoritarian systems can ever force the contortion of these into a globalized framework), and build the Food Sovereignty movement. This movement must be based upon the great class of small community farmers who have always been the food producers for humanity and always will be, and upon agroecology, a fully demonstrated science and set of practices ready for full global deployment any time humanity wishes to embrace them. Look at what agroecology is already accomplishing in Africa against such economic pressure and corporate and government hostility.
 
Meanwhile anyone like the elites and elitists of corporate domination and technocracy, who claims to want to “feed the world” but wants to do so by doubling down on the proven failure of a “Green Revolution” and corporate industrial agriculture is really a liar and a criminal.
 
The goal of corporate industrial agriculture, and the ultimate goal of all globalization, is to seize control of the land and drive the people out. This has always been the ultimate goal of all imperial conquest: To render all land terra nullius, empty space, to be subjugated, exploited to the hilt, wrung out like an old rag, left for dead. Today is humanity’s last chance to halt this corporate campaign of total destruction of our agriculture and our environment. We have our great chance to halt it and roll it back. This is what is necessary if we hope to have any agriculture and ecology left going forward beyond the fossil fuel age. The land is still there for us if we wish. We must save it and cherish it.

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January 3, 2017

For An Introduction, Poison vs. Evolution

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The law and culture of Gaia’s ecology is the framework for human citizenship on Earth. Civilization enhances ecology where it upholds this law and embodies this culture. Today humanity and ecology alike stagger as slaves in a wilderness, beaten and insulted by the barbarism of a civilization berserk in its rebellion against the very womb which feeds it. This is a civilization gone mad.
 
This madness is driven by humanity’s depraved creation of “corporate persons” and the exaltation of these entities as tyrants over all actual human beings. By any measure, religious or secular, this has been a summoning of demons, and for as long as humans believe in them and worship them the demons are real with incredible power for evil. The evil they’ve done has been devastating, and the evil they yet intend is unfathomable.
 
Today the true human and citizen of the Earth is a voice crying out from the wilderness of barbarism. Today there can be only one call: Prepare the way of the Earth. Because all which is sustained by the finite and fleeting fossil fuel hoard, the entirety of the fossil fuel civilization, its energy and agriculture, cannot be sustained. All must soon collapse and destroy itself forever. If the faithful remnant of humanity prepares nothing, builds nothing in anticipation, the final immolation will leave nothing but the ashes.
 
What is fossil-fueled corporate civilization doing to Gaia’s ecology? We humans have always modified our environments with predictable as well as predictably incalculable direct and reverberation effects. Indeed, the grammar which makes us tend to separate “the organism” from “the environment” is scientifically and philosophically wrong. There’s no such delineation. Organisms interact with and change and are changed by their environments, which are inextricable working parts of “the” environment as a whole. Each species is an active participant in its environment, a participatory citizen of this ecological polity, an integral action amid the vast commonwealth of the Earth.
 
But the modification which industrial civilization has been able to undertake, afforded by the one-off spending of our inheritance, the fossil fuel residue of billions of years of extremely refined sunlight, is at such a higher order of magnitude than the historical norm as to be qualitatively different from this norm. The “Anthropocene” scam is designed to absolve industrialization and capitalism of any absolutely unsustainable level of destructiveness, and to justify continuing with business as usual. But to leap from a thousand foot cliff is very different from undergoing a two foot drop.
 
What are we doing to Gaia, this Earth, our only womb and home for the rest of our human journey? The environmental chaos of climate change is already rending the Earth and will only get much worse. This is the thrashing of a body trapped in an oven while the temperature rises and rises and rises. The physical and psychological agony is profound, and the potential chaos can only become more kinetic in every way as the system is ever more energized by the embodied violence our fuel-burning and soil-ravaging corporate industry keeps pumping into it.
 
All the networked organisms of the ecological system are always reacting to changes in temperature, and climate change has always occurred naturally. The organic reactions generally sum up to relative stability over evolutionary time, and this is part of the process of evolution. This evolutionary process, in climate and ecology, would have proceeded naturally in recent centuries as well.
 
But where the change radically overleaps the dampening effect of evolutionary time including its many safeguards and diminishing feedback loops, especially where this radical change is combined with many other drivers of chaos and destruction, the network becomes overstressed as many component organisms find it difficult or impossible to adapt. Civilized humans, and people subject to corporate imperial civilization, are the most vulnerable of these organisms. The emission waste from the industrial burning of fossil fuels and destruction of carbon sinks (natural processes generate little or no waste) comprises an absolutely different order of magnitude and a qualitative difference in the speed and extremity of modern artificial climate change.
 
Those who deny this, who deny the time element of evolution’s process of simmering and adjustment, are the most irrational and destructive kind of evolution denier, far worse and more ignorant than religious creationist types.
 
(Whether or not a process generates waste, defined here as a by-product the ecological system cannot readily assimilate, is a criterion for distinguishing ecological vs. anti-ecological processes. The more usual attempt to distinguish “natural” vs. “artificial” is an unfruitful diversion. While as a rule there cannot persist a natural process which is anti-ecological, artifices can be ecological or anti-ecological. As examples of the latter, human-artificed industrial processes often produce massive, toxic waste. Agroecology is the best example of an ecological artifice.)
 
Industrial consumption of water, especially for industrial agriculture, and personal luxury consumption are rapidly depleting the fossil aquifers which originally filled over geologic time. This depletion proceeds in the same way we’re depleting the fossil fuel principal. Since the water cycle can recycle only a finite amount of water, far less than we use, the rest is effectively lost to us after at most a few usages as it empties into the oceans.
 
Those who deny this, or who deny fossil fuel depletion, are simply denying the very existence of geologic time. They blaspheme against the actual Gaian creation with the exact same mindset as those who believe the Earth is 5000 years old. They’re the Oil Creationists, the Water Creationists. Again, their version of creationism is the most ignorant, irrational, and destructive. We do indeed need an evolution education movement, and its main target must be the false teachings of those who deny evolution because of corporate and techno-cultist faith.
 
We are decimating Gaia’s biodiversity and habitats. At any ecological level, from the microscopic to the global, from the most pristine wilderness to agriculture (these are all interlinked and are divided here only into broad, convenient conceptual groupings), the more diverse and multi-linked the networks, the more resilient, robust, complex, adaptable, and therefore healthy the organic network is. As we started out saying, the network itself is a collective organism. By contrast, the more denuded and simplified the interconnections become, the more they become vulnerable, inflexible, calcified, maladaptive, inherently unhealthy and exposed to predation and disease.
 
There’s another kind of Creationist (usually the same person, of course) who believes there’s the water he poisons, and a “different”, separate, Specially Created Water which is reserved for himself, his kind, their families. Same for the air they poison and the Specially Created Air, the Specially Created Food, the Specially Created Soil, and in general the Specially Created Earth, which is different and separate from the Gaia these Poisoners ravage and are attempting to murder.
 
Indeed they are attempting universal murder by poison. The entire corporate industrial system has a poison mandate at its core. Its core goal is to supply poisons and generate, by force where necessary, markets for these and deployment of them. This has many metaphorical applications, but today I’m speaking in the most physical sense. Poison-based agriculture is the core activism of corporate globalization, and in the end the entire structure will stand or fall based on capitalism’s ability to sustain this poison imperative. The proximate goal is to destroy everything which lives on Earth, figuratively and physically, except what’s functional toward corporate domination.
 
We’re already seeing the physical ravages, as the ever-compounding poison load destroys human, animal, and environmental health. Everywhere these poisons are deployed we see the surge of cancer, birth defects, every kind of reproductive and developmental disease, neurodisease, allergies and other autoimmune disease, respiratory and digestive ailments, hormonal and neurotransmitter chaos, genetic damage, and myriad acute symptoms. All these are iterated at every scale, from the bacterial, where antibiotic-resistant pathogens are boosted, beneficial gut and soil bacteria suppressed; to the complex organic, where the networked diversity of life has more and more of its bonds frayed and broken completely as the poison load accumulates in organic tissues and, as an expanded mutation load, in the genes, as well as wreaking havoc with the endocrine, neurotransmission, and immune systems of organisms; to the global, as vast amounts of arable soil and groundwater are toxified, their microbial ecosystems decimated, the oceans are blemished with dead zones expanding from the great estuaries, as just the most visible leading edge of the oceanic toxification, and all the ecosystems which ramify from these are crippled by the poisoning of the foundation.
 
All environmental crises and all hunger on Earth are driven completely by globalization, and most of all by commodity agriculture. There is no human or environmental problem which would not disappear completely or be greatly mitigated if humanity were to abolish corporate industrial agriculture. And we would prosper in every physical, psychological, and spiritual way. The abolition of the corporate demons is the great necessity, preliminary to the great affirmative preparation of the Earth for the ecological human age to which we must evolve or perish completely.
 
Corporate industrial agriculture seizes all the best land, drives the people and their food production onto marginal lands and into forests, or else off the land completely into shantytowns. Corporate agriculture is the worst emitter of greenhouse gases and destroyer of carbon sinks. Along with industrial loggers it destroys the rain forests. It destroys the grasslands. It is dedicated to maximizing the use of poisons which toxify the soils, waters, air, and food. Poison-based agriculture is the worst driver of climate change, the worst destroyer of forest and grassland and all other habitats, the worst destroyer of biodiversity and driver of the modern era’s mass extinction, the worst poisoner of every element of the environment right down to our very bodies. Poison-based agriculture is pure evil, has zero purpose, zero rationale, zero redeeming qualities. It must be abolished completely. There is no goal as critical, no need as pressing, no imperative as severe. This abolition imperative encompasses all other goals, all of which are in line with it or would be meaningless without it. Only the parasite squatters on the planet’s surface, those who have renounced their ecological and therefore human citizenship, would dispute this.
 
Capitalist industrialization, globalization, corporate rule, scientism and technocracy, most of all where these crystallize as the Poisoner and monoculture campaigns of corporate industrial agriculture, systematically and willfully destroy all biodiversity and the entire basis of organic resiliency and health. This will to destruction and monoculture has always been characteristic of tyranny, but only in the modern era have the aspiring tyrants been able to deploy such destructive force with the hope of wiping out everything which is not under the most physical direct control and manipulation of the tyrants and their engineer lackeys.
 
In all these ways corporate barbarism pumps ever more potential energy into the system. It pumps its poison, its greed, its powerlust, its gluttony, its violence, its sadism, its hatred, its anguish, its despair.
 
This, most of all, is the joint assassination attempt upon humanity and the Earth being conducted by the corporate and techno-cultist Poisoners. Humanity must act in the same self-defense vs. this murder attempt as any intrepid individual or group would against any other.
 
They are cancer.
 
What do you do when you’re suffering heat exhaustion? First thing, you stop throwing fuel on the bonfire. What do you do when you’re dying of thirst in the desert? You stop pouring your water out onto the sand. What do you do when you’ve ingested poison and become violently ill? You stop drinking the poison. When you’ve damaged or destroyed so many of the things you depend upon for your very life? And all the things you love? You stop destroying, and start fixing what you broke. And you seek the antidote for the poison. And you drink salubrious refreshing water. And you douse the flames and welcome a cool breeze.
 
These are what humanity must do in order to save the Earth for our time and prepare for the next age, the age of Gaia, the ecological age. This salvation is necessary for the entire weave of life, but most of all for its most frayed, vulnerable thread – our own species. In the long run Gaia will recover from us and continue as she was, whether we save ourselves or not. But unless we take the necessary cooperative action now, we shall not be part of this recovery. As I’ve written of many times before, the first step toward ultimate destruction will be the full dominion of the corporations. This will be political tyranny and economic enslavement. But this will be followed shortly by physical death.
 
Let us change from this future. We start by changing our minds. From there, as Shakespeare wrote it, “All things are ready if our minds be so.” All the ideas, the entire system of reason, science, and morality, starting with agroecology and food sovereignty, are fully demonstrated and ready for the entire human and ecological deployment all over the world. All the resources for today and the future are available and waiting. All that’s been lacking is sufficient will and organization. All that’s lacking is the spirit, the faith, the action of faith.
 
 
 
 
 
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December 21, 2016

The Abolition Movement is Needed

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1. This morning for the thousandth time I read a piece giving a decent overview of the health, economic, agronomic, and ecological crises being driven by poison-based agriculture.
 
The conclusion was lukewarm as always: “Action is urgently needed to regulate and monitor corporate power to ensure that food sovereignty, the environment, and public health are not further compromised.”
 
And thus we can chalk up another one for reformism within the corporate framework, and implicitly against the necessary call to a fully committed abolition movement. Reformism is the call to “co-existence”, something we all know is impossible in the long run. Worse, it validates the corporate framework. I’ve described in dozens of pieces what I call the corporate triangulation template of regulators, the scientific establishment, NGOs, reformists in general. And as we see in the quote above, this reform call is always implicitly willing to grandfather in the existing level of how compromised those values and needs – food sovereignty, environment, public health – already are.
 
2. “Regulate and monitor” is the ideology and strategy of system NGOs which focus on petitions and public comments to regulators, lawsuits, and the apparently permanent and permanently vague campaign of “public education”. This has been ongoing for decades.
 
But look at the facts: At best this strategy has slowed down the corporate poisoner assault in America, but nowhere has it halted it and started rolling it back. On the contrary, slowly but surely the enemy gains ground.
 
Obviously the status quo is untenable as well as unacceptable on any agronomic, ecological, public health, economic, or political level. Ipso facto, any position thinking in terms of preventing “further compromise”, even if that were possible, is insufficient.
 
3. To be clear about my position: I’m a skeptic as to whether regulate-and-monitor could be effective even if this seemingly lukewarm call really could muster a fighting movement.*
 
But more importantly, this is not a call to battle which will resonate with anyone. The evidence is that this is the kind of call which, by its nature, implies that everyone should remain in their pre-assigned positions and roles within the corporate capitalist framework. Therefore it never can muster and organize the latent energies which sometimes inspire large numbers of intrepid, determined people to break out of these pre-assigned roles and form movements in opposition to the existing system.
 
4. Based on my knowledge of history, I think if the deployment of such a critically important sector as agropoisons were ever to be hindered severely enough (i.e., once Monsanto and the US government become fed up once and for all with the obstructionism of regulate-and-monitor), the system will become far more aggressive and lawless than it’s already been in forcing its poisons into the food and ecology. We already see the USDA in the process of abrogating the entirety of its oversight authority toward expanding ranges of poisons.
 
We can expect the Trump administration to step up the aggression and lawlessness.
 
When this starts, regulate-and-monitor will become untenable even according to its own diminished criteria, and the only options left will be a full-scale abolition movement, or else surrender.
 
By then it’ll be late in the game to be getting started building such a movement. The time to start is now, among those who can learn from history and prepare ahead of time for its cycles. Indeed the time was years ago, just as I’ve been saying all this for many years now.
 
There was a time for lawsuits and labeling campaigns. (Ironically, the Europe example labelists like to cite proves something different than what they think: The time for those was in the 1990s, at the outset of the deployment; America missed the boat where it comes to that.) There was a time for exalting the precautionary principle and calling for more and better testing. There was a time for educating the public within the framework of regular system politics and media. And there was a time for campaigners to educate themselves about all the facts of agropoisons and their role in agronomy, politics, economy, religion, science, ecology.
 
But today all these tasks are either complete, or are obsolete, or have been demonstrated to be ineffective, or need to transcend the prior political and philosophical frameworks.
 
Today and going forward is the time wherein humanity must find its soul and its will to organize and fight this global attempt to force an apocalypse of poisoning upon us, our children, our children’s children, and upon the entire life system of the Earth. From a purely secular point of view, not to mention the various religions, we see how the axis of corporate power, government power, and the scientism cult wish to turn the 21st century into a veritable end time for humanity and the Earth. Poisonism, extermination of biodiversity, and forced climate chaos combine to form what’s indisputably a willful, intentional campaign of global destruction for the sake of power. This century will decide once and for all the final question of power. Will humanity redeem itself, or will the corporate persons be the infinite tyrants of tomorrow?
 
Make no mistake: If you’re a flesh-and-blood human being, a corporate person regards you as literally nothing but a resource to be exploited where profitable, cast out to die where unprofitable, actively killed where a danger. How is it even possible for anyone to be so willfully stupid that in this day and age this isn’t universal knowledge?
 
And therefore we have the absolute need for a full scale social and political movement dedicated to the clear goal of abolishing corporations. This is necessary against every corporate sector. A movement to abolish agropoisons looks like the obvious place for abolitionists to commence and to set the standard for all the necessary action going forward. As for the public education, we see the great need to transcend anything redolent of “regulating and monitoring” so-called “abuses” perpetrated by alleged “bad apples” among a corporate system otherwise inertially and implicitly taken as normal and normative. By now this inertia and implication kills more surely than any physical poison.
 
On the contrary, the message which begins, suffuses, and concludes all thought and communication must be the need to abolish corporate power, in this context starting with poison-based agriculture, before it succeeds in its campaign to destroy us all.
 
 
 
 
*To clarify another point about my position: Although I reject liberalism/reformism on principle for many reasons, the main reason I reject it is that it’s cowardly and fraudulent even where it comes to fighting on the line it proclaims for itself. In theory it’s possible to have a “moderate” position but be a ferocious, uncompromising fighter at that moderate line. But in practice almost all moderates where it comes to theory are moderate really because they’re craven in action. The first example that always jumps to mind is the “Progressive Block” scam during the Heritage/Obamacare debacle. The “progressives” in Congress swore they’d reject anything without a “public option” (another scam), then unanimously reneged on their solemn promise. This kind of lying and cowardice is typical of progressives. That is, they become progressives in the first place because as people they are indelibly liars and cowards. They’re also not very bright, which is why they seem congenitally incapable of breaking free of the cult of electoralism, learning what corporate rule is, what the corporate state is, how it works, what it does, and how to fight it. That’s why we have the typical phenomenon among “anti-GMO” people of a progressive who actually does come to understand some aspects of corporatism where it comes to food and agriculture, but remains utterly incapable of inducing a general idea and applying it across all corporate sectors and to the US government and media as such.
 
 
 
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