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August 29, 2014

Total Failure: The Fraudulent Promises of the Two Types of GMOs

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Farmers originally embraced the Roundup Ready system, not because they expected it to directly increase crop yields or reduce costs (it doesn’t and never did), but because by greatly simplifying weed management through the one-time application of one herbicide, it freed up time and conceptual space so the farmer could farm more acres.
 
Under conditions of commodity agriculture, farmers are under constant pressure to maximize their acreage and in this way their production. So while herbicide tolerant GMOs never increased yield acre-for-acre, and often have decreased it, they enable the farmer to cover more acres and in this way “make it up on volume”. It’s a version of Taylorism, a speed-up device, and also saves labor costs. Monsanto and the USDA touted these virtues for the farmer, and to this day still claim that the product benefits farmers in this way.
 
All this describes the attraction of the Roundup Ready system for farmers, during the few years that it worked as advertised. But with the rise of glyphosate-resistant superweeds, all these benefits have been lost. All the touted simplicity has been replaced by a regression to an even more costly complexity than farmers faced prior to the advent of herbicide tolerant GMOs.
 
Farmers were promised by Monsanto and the US government that they could schedule their plantings without having to coordinate them with herbicide applications. They could later apply glyphosate whenever they wanted, needing just one application (or in the case of cotton two). But with the evolution-predicted rise of glyphosate-resistant weeds, farmers now find themselves having to revert to the old complex choreography. Increasingly, they need a non-glyphosate pre-emergence application, followed by a post-emergence glyphosate application at exactly the right time to catch Palmer amaranth when it’s small enough to be affected. That’s assuming the P. amaranth isn’t a Roundup Ready superweed, as they increasingly are. If it’s resistant to the herbicide, then it has to be hand-weeding or the hoe, when the weeds are still small enough. Then more applications of glyphosate and other herbicides.
 
Farmers were similarly promised they could forever plant corn-on-corn or corn-on-soy (again, something implicitly demanded by the economics of commodity monocropping), since the Roundup Ready system would make weed management such a snap that you could forever plant Roundup Ready-on-Roundup Ready and never have a problem. In spite of the previous history of weeds developing resistance to triazine and ALS-inhibitor herbicides, as a matter of evolutionary clockwork, Monsanto explicitly promised that glyphosate-resistant weeds would not develop no matter how massively and long they were doused with Roundup. Their technical hacks published “studies” to that effect.
 
Today such rotations accomplish nothing against the superweeds, and weed scientists can only recommend rotations which include wheat or lesser crops like oats and barley. Some recommend that farmers ration their use of glyphosate. This of course is tantamount to rejecting the Roundup Ready GMO system as such, since the only thing which could possibly in theory justify the massively higher cost of RR seeds is the efficacy and simplicity of idiot-proof drenching with Roundup.
 
Meanwhile, not only have GMO farmer/contractors made their own weed management increasingly complex and economically unviable, but they’re inflicting worse weed infestations on their non-GM conventional neighbors.
 
To sum up, the corporate system promised farmers and the public that the Roundup Ready system would simplify weed management and render it less toxic, as glyphosate was allegedly less toxic to human and environmental health than older herbicides. Today “The Party’s Over” as weed scientist Aaron Hager says, and “the ‘simplicity’ of glyphosate as a stand-alone weed management tool will be relegated to the annals of history”. Or as former Dupont cadre Alberto Bianchi puts it, “today we have to fight pests worse than 15 or 20 years ago, but with fewer weapons than we had before”. Desperate weed consultants advise better crop rotations, using greater amounts of more different kinds of herbicides more often, and returning to the antiquated practice of deep tillage. Capping this reactionary program is the ultimate dark age regression, the deployment of GMOs engineered to be resistant to the exact same, far more toxic retrograde herbicides which the corporations and government originally promised us would be rendered permanently obsolete.
 
This proves the malign intent of corporations and governments, that they’re actually trying to repeat this same “mistake”, albeit at a vastly more destructive level. The failure of 2,4-D and dicamba resistant systems is already a proven fact. History proves it. No one who supports it can escape criminal culpability, and must and shall be held criminally responsible for every harm that follows.
 
Farmers have went through the same history with GMO corn engineered to resist rootworm (CRW) predation. Monsanto introduced CRW-resistant corn in 2003 with promises that it would forever relegate soil insecticides, previously the main pesticide used vs. CRW, to the scrap heap. Here the target pest counterattacked more quickly than even the weeds did. The Bt toxin itself was weak vs. rootworms from the start, serving to accelerate the development of resistance. Farmers saw very little insecticide dividend, and had to go back to soil insecticide application so quickly that by 2008 the University of Illinois felt the need to assure farmers that supplementing anti-CRW GMOs with soil insecticide doesn’t “always make sense”. That’s how ubiquitous the field reports of Bt-resistant rootworms already were.
 
Lab confirmation quickly followed. Using specimens collected from ravaged Iowa fields in 2009, a team at Iowa State documented resistance in a 2011 study. Subsequent studies in 2013 and 2014 reinforced the documentation. This latest study, published in the National Academy of Sciences, documented that rootworms which developed resistance to Monsanto’s original Cry3Bb1 trait were also cross-resistant to Syngenta’s Cry3A set of anti-rootworm traits.
 
According to this study, Dow’s Cry34/35Ab1 toxin still worked well vs. rootworms. But that was only for the moment. In 2014 Iowa farmers have reported rootworm damage in fields planted to Bt varieties containing the Cry34/35Ab1 trait. So what was the last trait standing is now staggering.
 
Thus farmers have had to go back to the bad old days of applying soil insecticides, and it’s commonplace among system entomologists to recommend this as part of the remedy farmers need to deploy as the Bt GMO system increasingly fails to live up to its promises.
 
Here too a return to crop rotation is a common recommendation. But if the idea is the pseudo-rotation of corn-on-soy, previously effective vs. rootworm, it’s becoming too late for this as well. As early as 1999 rootworms were discovered which could lay their eggs amid a corn-planting and then endure through a soybean season, awaiting the next corn planting. These “rotation-resistant” rootworms have since then been documented in Illinois and Iowa. They’re a product of the industrial corn/soy monoculture; corn-on-soy is really is no kind of legitimate rotation at all. And there’s many possible ways in which their rotation resistance may have been fostered by elements of the Roundup Ready GMO system itself.
 
Here again, GMO contract growers are not only destroying their own ability to exist, but are making production more difficult for non-GM farmers who must contend with more common and virulent rootworm infestations than occurred prior to Roundup Ready’s corn-on-corn campaign and the advent of the anti-rootworm Bt campaign.
 
The inexorable march of the superweeds and the rising insurrection of the rootworms exemplify the proven complete failure of the two basic genres of GMOs, herbicide tolerance and insecticide expression. Farmers increasingly wish to get off the GMO treadmill and resume conventional agriculture, or even to switch to direct retail and/or organic agriculture. This is definitely the rational choice, as confirmed by every portent.
 
But if farmers want to get off the treadmill, they may find many obstacles. The superiority of non-GM conventional production is well documented. With every new year of greater seed costs, poison costs, and ever expanding and intensifying superweed and superbug development, more and more industrial farmers are interested in getting off the GMO treadmill and resuming conventional production. But for corn and soy, non-GM varieties are often difficult to find. Thanks to the dereliction of the public breeding sector and the widespread enclosure of new varieties which are released to the public only in GMO (i.e. Roundup Ready and/or Bt expressing) form, the varieties which are available are often of lower quality. (This also reveals the fraud involved in cartel studies which allege higher yields for some Bt varieties over conventional. These “studies” never compare a GMO variety with its isogenic non-GM equivalent, but rather what’s likely to be a superior conventionally-bred variety which was then subjected to Bt transgene insertion and made publicly available only in this GMO form, vs. an inferior conventional variety.)
 
The cartel and the US government are responding to the proven complete failure of the very concepts of herbicide tolerant and insecticide-expressing GMOs by striving to double down on them and render vastly worse the failure and the collateral health, environmental, and economic destruction which shall go along with them. This is smoking gun proof that all the blathering in favor of GMOs is nothing but lies, and that for GMO proponents, the consciously, intentionally held one and only goal is to maximize corporate profit and power.

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August 21, 2014

GMOs, Always A Backward Technology, Get More Regressive All the Time

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For all practical purposes, there’s just two kinds of GMOs. There’s those which are resistant to one or more herbicides, and there’s those which produce one or more of their own endemic Bt insecticides. Increasingly, GMO varieties do both of these, for multiple poisons in each case.
 
Weed resistance to herbicides and insect resistance to insecticides went back decades prior to the deployment of GMOs. It was widely predicted by everyone but corporate and government flacks that the incestuous focus on one herbicide, glyphosate, and a handful of Bt toxins, to the overthrow of any rational crop rotation and weed/pest management strategy, would quickly lead to weed and pest resistance which would render GMOs impotent. Within a few years of GMO commercialization these predictions started coming true. By ten years in, weed and pest resistance were accelerating toward disaster. Today the Roundup Ready regime is in ruins, and over much of the world most of the original Bt varieties are worthless against pests. For anyone who’s not an evolution denier, the failure of these two product genres is proven and complete.
 
Monsanto’s Roundup Ready product line, engineered to be resistant to glyphosate, has been the foundation of the GMO regime. US acreage planted to RR varieties in 2011 comprised 94% of soybeans, 72% of maize, and 96% of cotton (Benbrook 2012 p.2). Glyphosate use surged from 15 million pounds of active ingredient in 1996 to 159 million in 2009 (FWW 2013 p.2). According to Charles Benbrook’s 2012 analysis, RR crops caused overall herbicide use to increase over what would have been sprayed on exclusively non-GM conventional crops by a total of 527 million pounds from 1996 to 2011, the great bulk of this being extra glyphosate, with RR soybeans accounting for 70% of the total increase.
 
Glyphosate-based herbicide first went on sale in 1976, but because it wasn’t heavily used there weren’t reports of weeds resistant to it until the latter 90s, as the Roundup Ready system started becoming widely deployed. The first confirmed glyphosate-resistant superweed in the US was rigid ryegrass in California in 1998. Resistant horseweed, destined to become the most common Roundup Ready superweed, was first confirmed in Delaware in 2000. It quickly began a triumphal march across the southern US, while several other glyphosate-resistant weeds emerged, most notably Palmer amaranth and waterhemp. By 2012 Roundup-resistant horseweed was confirmed in 21 states, Palmer amaranth in 17, and waterhemp in 12 (FWW p.3). Today these superweeds are embarked upon a veritable march of conquest, while Roundup Ready crops are being driven back in what’s turning into a total rout. The Stratus Glyphosate Tracking Survey has documented the accelerating phenomenon. In 2013 over 70 million US acres were reported to be afflicted with glyphosate resistant weeds, up from 61.2 million in 2012, 40.7 in 2011, 32.6 in 2010. In 2012 50% of corn, soy, and cotton farmers reported such superweeds in their fields, up from 34% in 2011. 27% reported multiple superweed species, up from 15% in 2011. The numbers have been much higher in the worst-hit states of the South and Midwest.
 
All this has driven the great surge in glyphosate use and increases in the use of other herbicides including 2,4-D (up 3.9 million pounds per year from 2000 to 2009, a 90% increase) to supplement the faltering Roundup (FWW p.7). In 1996 RR cotton growers applied glyphosate an average of once a year at a rate of .63 pounds per acre (Benbrook 2009 p.30). By 2007 they were up to 2.4 applications for an average 1.89 pounds/acre, so the amount applied each time is also increasing. For RR soybean growers the 1996 numbers were 1.1 applications totaling .69 pounds per acre, while by 2006 the were up to 1.7 applications for a total of 1.36 pounds/acre.
 
As I’ll detail in a subsequent post, the failure of herbicide tolerance technology is already costing farmers severely.
 
There’s no longer a debate among honest, rational people. We have complete consensus that herbicide tolerance is a failed product genre which must be discontinued immediately and replaced by integrated weed management programs including rational crop rotation and cover cropping. (That’s still within the framework of industrial agriculture, which has one last chance to give itself some extra time. Of course the real agroecological solution goes far beyond this.)
 
But the corporatist system has no honesty or rationality to work with. The system’s only answer to the collapse of Roundup is the reactionary, luddite answer: To double down on proven failure by regressing to GMOs tolerant of older, even more destructive herbicides. This is the context in which the evolution-denialist system is promulgating the backward, luddite “solution” of corn and soybeans engineered to tolerate the retrograde herbicide 2,4-D, one of the two primary components of the chemical weapon Agent Orange. This is one of the dark age poisons which Monsanto and the US government originally promised would be permanently relegated to the scrap heap by the Roundup Ready system. Dicamba is another such regressive chemical being poised by Monsanto for a comeback.
 
The evolution-denier character of this policy is revealed by the fact that there are already many weeds documented to be resistant to 2,4-D, including the waterhemp which is among the big three rampaging with impunity across the Roundup Ready fields.
 
Agent Orange corn and soy will therefore be greeted by 2,4-D resistant weeds already prepared for them, and as the slathering of 2,4-D escalates, resistance to it will accelerate and spread. It’ll happen like clockwork, because it’s the standard mechanism of evolution, understood by everyone but the corporate liars and scientistic evolution deniers.
 
2,4-D and dicamba-tolerant GMOs, and any other herbicide tolerant GMO product such as Bayer’s isoxaflutole-tolerant soybean approved by the USDA in 2013, will also speed the development of weeds which possess metabolism-based general resistance across many or all herbicide classes.
 
Along the way, the promiscuous deployment of these hitherto restricted-use growth regulator herbicides will vastly escalate the damage they cause to other crops like tomatoes and grapes when they drift. 2,4-D is already notorious for this, causing by far the greatest number of agricultural collateral damage incidents even given its limited use hitherto. That’s why the Save Our Crops Coalition, which for a time lobbied the USDA to refuse approval of Agent Orange GMOs, included several major processors and canners. In 2012 Steve Smith, Agriculture Director of Red Gold, testified before Congress that “the widespread use of dicamba possesses the single most serious threat to the future of the specialty crop industry in the Midwest.”
 
This group dropped its opposition in 2012, claiming to have been reassured by Dow that its “Enlist” 2,4-D formulation won’t be drift-prone. I don’t know if they were really stupid enough to believe this or if they were bought off or intimidated, but regardless it’s an extremely foolish thing to believe. Even if by some miracle Dow were now capping its fifty year history of lies about 2,4-D and related poisons with a true statement for once, that wouldn’t affect the many other 2,4-D formulations on the market. The commercialization of Agent Orange crops will cause as much as a 30-fold increase in 2,4-D application (Benbrook 2012 p.5). According to one study, 2,4-D and dicamba are respectively 400 times and 70 times as likely as glyphosate to drift and damage or destroy other crops. We see again how only the most diehard, hunker-in-the-bunker luddite would want to respond to the proven failure of Roundup Ready, and therefore of herbicide tolerance as such, by doubling down with such a destructive escalation of the failure.
 
Then there’s the public health consequences of such a massive increase of this extreme poison. 2,4-D is an endocrine disruptor and causes birth defects and cancer. It’s been linked to Parkinson’s disease. The manufacture of 2,4-D chronically produces dioxins as a byproduct. How much dioxin produced is a function of the production process. Dow of course claims its own process is clean, but the historical record gives good reason to doubt this. Ad hoc measurements of dioxins in 2,4-D have found levels below WHO and FAO maximums. This begs the question of how valid those maximums are; as a rule regulator allowable maximums have zero to do with science or public health, but are mechanically raised to whatever level the poison companies require. At any rate testing has been sporadic and rare. We really have no idea how much dioxin laces the 2,4-D being used in agriculture, and so we have no idea to what extent GMO agriculture is permanently toxifying the soil with deadly dioxin.
 
Environmentally, the EPA deems 2,4-D “very highly toxic to slightly toxic to freshwater and marine invertebrates”, while the National Marine Fisheries Service considers it a dire threat to endangered and threatened salmon species (FWW p.11).
 
And all this is for the sake of no practical or rational goal, nothing which could ever benefit human beings even the slightest bit, but merely to escalate the poison sector’s campaign of planned obsolescence and disaster capitalism. All for the sake of nothing but corporate profit and power.
 
This is indisputable, since the collapse of glyphosate renders it indisputable that herbicide tolerant GMOs comprise a failed technology. Today it’s impossible to support this technology “by mistake”. It’s only possible to be consciously, willfully, criminally committed to forcing humanity to remain on this ever-accelerating poison treadmill, with ever-increasing agricultural, economic, environmental, and health detriments, all for the sake of nothing but corporate domination. Humanity must fight this regressive luddite campaign which seeks to drag us back to the agricultural dark ages. We must overthrow the corporations which seeks to prevent by force our emergence into the light of the most vanguard agroecological technologies and science.

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July 9, 2014

There’s No Debate: GMOs Are Nothing But A Corporate Poison Regime

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As Beyond Pesticides points out in its brief opposing the application to the EPA from Texas cotton contractors for an “emergency” deregulation of the extremely toxic herbicide propazine, there’s no legitimate emergency here at all. On the contrary, the superweeds which are crippling industrial cotton production over large and increasing parts of the US were anticipated many years ago, and corporate agriculture made the conscious policy choice to embark upon a campaign guaranteed to bring this result. So how can the premeditated result now be called an “emergency”? The answer, of course, is that this is typical disaster capitalism propaganda meant to justify the increased use of poisons whose use was previously restricted on the grounds of their proven health hazards.
 
The Roundup Ready GMO system, these days called the “first generation” of herbicide resistant GMOs, was originally touted with the promise that by relying on the allegedly less toxic glyphosate (also a lie) it would once and for all render more toxic herbicides obsolete. This marketing theme seemingly confirmed earlier bans and restrictions on various poisons, enacted during the period of the public’s maximum concern with environmental problems.
 
Today we have the long anticipated collapse of the Roundup Ready regime and subsequent propaganda campaign on behalf of “second generation” GMOs resistant to 2,4-D, dicamba, and other poisons which are the exact herbicides Roundup Ready originally promised to render obsolete once and for all. With this we can see how the whole arc of GMO propaganda was a maneuver to not only sell vastly more glyphosate but to rehabilitate all the “restricted” poisons and render the old environmental concept of restrictions as such obsolete. This attempt at the rehabilitation of propazine is an example of this. The regulation regime is now recast in terms unrelated to human and environmental health, but focused solely on the artificially, intentionally generated crisis of herbicide-resistant superweeds and pesticide-resistant superbugs. That the only answer to this escalating pest resistance is escalating poison use is, as much as possible, being pushed by the US government as normative.
 
We can see the proof, clear as day, that the overriding goal of the US government and the GMO cartel are to sell and apply poison, and that the agriculture and food sectors must be seen as nothing but a chemical poison sector where “food” is nothing but an afterthought.
 
There’s no rational rebuttal to these facts. Herbicide resistance and pesticide expression are failed product genres. This is indisputable, and any debate is over. No sane, honest person could think humanity ought to continue with either of these product genres, let alone escalate them.
 
On the contrary, this is proof that the one and only purpose of the GMO regime and corporate agriculture in general is profit and control based on the economic and physical use of poison. Humanity’s very food has been hijacked and is being held hostage toward this evil purpose.
 
It’s no longer possible to be innocently mistaken about any of this.

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June 29, 2014

Notes on GMO Scientism and its Ideological Threads

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One of the constant ideological threads among scienticians and adherents of the scientism cult is denial of how poisoning our bodies damages our health, and shrill hostility toward anyone who states the fact that our food and water are being poisoned.
 
This is part of their hostility toward the body and their resentment of the fact that the conscious mind, itself just an epiphenomenon of neurobiology, needs to concern itself with care of the mere physical body.
 
Support for GMOs and other agricultural poisons is therefore, for many, a gesture of anti-body defiance, and is self-evidently an expression of homicidal-suicidal resentment toward one’s own body.
 
This is obviously the basis of the transhumanist religion. Ironically, although the devotees of this cult see themselves as rational technologists in thinking that some aspect of the mind can be transferred to a computer, this is really just a rehash of age-old metaphysics and mysticism of “the soul” as distinct from the inferior, mechanical body. The transhumanists are merely epigones of a prehistoric mindset.
 
It’s also ironic that they despise this marvelously crafted work, the human body, so well designed by millions of years of evolution, in favor of a relatively shoddy machine which imperfectly conscious humans constructed over the last few years. This is one of the many manifestations of anti-evolutionism and creationist ideology expressed by today’s scientism cult. They deny the craftsmanship of evolution while religiously fetishizing the idea of what their own alleged godhead can “create”.
 
So we can see how support for poison-based agriculture has, as one of its ideological threads, a deranged epigone version of an ancient religious cult notion, the duality of mind and body. This of course dovetails excellently with the debunked genetic engineering ideology, that one gene = one trait, and so an engineer can remove a gene from one organism and insert it into another with predictable results. It also dovetails with the broader NPK ideology, that agriculture is just the sum of its inputs, which can be dismantled, reassembled, mixed and matched, in any way the manipulator desires. GE ideology is just a subset of this broader fallacy. I’ll be writing more about how it dovetails with eugenics, and how today’s genetic engineering cadres are direct descendants, ideologically and institutionally, of the original, more honestly racist eugenicists.
 
In every case we have a hatred for holistic systems, and especially for ideas about these systems. It’s all grounded in the worst aspects of human nature – greed, hatred, lust for domination, self-loathing. These ideological threads offer the delusion that one man can be an island, that the food he eats and the water he drinks aren’t the same as those he poisoned for everyone else, and most of all that someday, somehow, the pure soul shall break free of this disgusting prison of the body. So even if we are poisoning the body, it won’t matter since we’ll soon break free of it anyway. The “get off this rock” fantasy, and the hatred of the earth it expresses, is another version of the same pathology, and leads to the same nihilist practical conclusion. Since we’ll be “breaking free” of the earth anyway, there’s no reason not to destroy it while we’re here.
 
These are all, in turn, clearly versions of another age-old religious doctrine, that there’s going to be a “second coming” or some other kind of apocalypse. Therefore, as Reagan’s interior secretary James Watt said, why worry about poisoning and destroying the environment? IBGYBG (I’ll-be-gone-you’ll-be-gone), as they say on Wall Street.
 
So there’s some notes on the ideological basis of support for poison-based agriculture and how it dovetails with the corporate drive for profit, power, control, and domination.

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June 24, 2014

GMO Arms Race, GMO War

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In the latest example of how the herbicide tolerance genre of GMOs is a failure, by now turning into a horrific hoax, Texas cotton contractors are applying for permission to use propazine on Roundup Ready pigweed.
 
Pigweed, AKA palmer amaranth, is one of the most aggressive agricultural weeds, and has been one of the most successful superweeds which have become resistant to Roundup (glyphosate).
 
Propazine is acknowledged even by the government to be so toxic and cancer-causing that it’s on a restricted-use list, and special EPA permission will be needed for this proposed use.
 
Monsanto and the US government originally promised that the Roundup Ready (RR) system would render a wide array of extremely toxic herbicides like propazine, 2,4-D, and dicamba obsolete. This was in fact a monumental lie, as weeds predictably became resistant to glyphosate. By now there are several dozen documented superweeds spreading rapidly across the US. Large swaths of arable land have been all but taken over by these weeds. As we see here, corporatized “farmers” are helpless to deal with the crisis, having lost all real farmer skills. By now they’re little more than corporate overseers who understand nothing but poison, poison, and more poison. Just like corporatism in general understands nothing but force and more force.
 
Herbicide tolerance, one of the two genres of GMOs which effectively exist (the other genre endemically produces its own Bt poison vs. insects), is a complete failure from any rational point of view or any point of view concerned with human well-being. Any decent, rational human being agrees that the HT genre needs to be discontinued.
 
But HT GMOs were never developed in the first place to help humanity. They were developed for the standard sociopathic corporate goals – selling more poison, eliminating labor costs, expanding enclosure via intellectual property, and imposing greater control. (The same is true of the Bt genre.)
 
GMO proponents are evolution deniers who continue to deny this ever-escalating biological arms race which the weeds and insects are guaranteed to win.
 
But for the corporations themselves, this arms race is simple planned obsolescence. Each iteration of the product line is supposed to fail even more quickly than the last so that the next, even more profitable and coercive generation can be deployed. Thus Agent Orange ingredient 2,4-D, one of the viciously toxic herbicides the government promised would be rendered permanently obsolete by the RR system, is now the centerpiece of the so-called “second generation” HT GMOs. Agent Orange GMOs are set to be planted in the US in 2015. The only result of this will be a massive escalation of 2,4-D use which will be monstrously destructive to other crops and the environment (2,4-D is far less controllable than glyphosate, which itself often drifts from the intended application site), will leave vast stretches of soil laced with dioxin (picture a large portion of America’s farmland as one big Times Beach), and generate 2,4-D resistant pigweed and other superweeds even more quickly than the glyphosate resistant ones evolved.
 
Of course glyphosate, itself vastly more toxic than the propaganda claimed, is not being retired or anything. 2,4-D and other retrograde poisons like propazine will just be slathered on top of the ever escalating amount of glyphosate which has to be sprayed to get any effect at all.
 
Eventually all existing herbicides will be massively sprayed everywhere in sight with no effect. This is the clear logic of poison-based agriculture. The earth and humanity will be tortured to death by this insane poisoning, which will never stop for as long as the system can prop itself up and humanity allows the attack to continue. As I wrote the other day, under corporate control the “agriculture and food” sector is really the poison sector, with food production being merely the pretext to sell and apply poison, toward no goal at all but profit, power, and control.
 
That’s what this war is about. 

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June 4, 2014

The Seralini Study is a Good Study and is Good Enough for Action

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Gilles-Eric Seralini and his CRIIGEN team are withdrawing from participation in a French government study which was allegedly supposed to follow up the findings of the team’s 2012 study of Monsanto’s GM maize variety NK603 and its affiliated poison, Roundup. I’ve written before about how the 2012 Seralini study forced the French government and the EU to announce that they would conduct the very first government safety tests of a GMO ever. If these tests were scientifically conceived and were conducted by independent scientists, they’d be the first such government-ordered tests ever.
 
Now the French regulator ANSES has announced a bogus “subchronic” toxicity test design, little better than the discredited 90-day test it was allegedly going to improve upon. Seralini has set the standard, that any valid study must be a full-length two year study. Anything less is self-evidently bogus. ANSES also invited Monsanto to participate in the study design. Seralini judged that for he and his team, who carried out their vastly superior study in 2012, to participate in this retrograde step would be to endorse it. It would be a betrayal of their own work. Seralini has set the standard – nothing less than a two year study by independent scientists is acceptable. No one who cares about the health effects of glyphosate and GMOs, or about science itself, can ever again accept less.
 
That’s one down and one to go. As for the EU’s projected 2-year carcinogenicity study, no details have been made public yet, but it’s already rumored that a cartel-affiliated group will get the contract. So much for scientific independence, and that will be the end of that as far as a study which has any legitimacy.
 
Seralini’s team also recently published a new paper in FCT (FCT is said to have been forced to publish this rebuttal by its parent company Elsevier, which is evidently embarrassed by the scandal) detailing the anti-scientific double standards involved in the decision of Food and Chemical Toxicology to retract their 2012 study for being “inconclusive”, which was an unprecedented rationale and one that is inadmissible according to Committee on Publishing Ethics (COPE) guidelines. FCT is a member of the COPE. Seralini’s study, a full length two-year toxicology study, the only one which has ever been performed, was suppressed, declared an unstudy which doesn’t need to be cited in subsequent literature, and slandered in the corporate media. At the same time, fraudulent pro-GMO “studies” published in FCT by Monsanto prior to 2012 (Seralini’s study was an avowed replication of Monsanto’s studies, as per proper scientific procedure) and subsequent to FCT’s suppression of the Seralini study remain on the books in good stead. This is in spite of the fact that these were all studies of intentionally inadequate duration (90 days; “subchronic” studies in the parlance), using fraudulent tricks like “historical reference groups” to try to drown out any signal of toxicity, designed not as toxicological studies but simply to test industry-important parameters like weight gain, and which in spite of all these hurdles still found evidence of toxicity.
 
The Seralini study sought to replicate Monsanto’s own study, and did so changing only the duration (2 years vs. 90 days) and what it was measuring (toxicity vs. weight gain and feed conversion). Otherwise it kept things the same, including using the exact same rat variety and the same sample sizes, albeit improving the methodology. This refutes the two most common canned lies about the Seralini study. The only other tack the enemy’s had has been to fraudulently attack this excellent toxicity study as a “bad” cancer study. This is meant to misdirect attention from the fact that it was a toxicity study and thus to suppress the data on the toxic effects.
 
The 2012 study was the culmination of many years of work. The initially pro-GMO Seralini first participated on a scientific review board where he questioned the flimsy basis of EFSA’s approval of MON863 maize. In 2007 he published a review of the shoddy procedures and evidence of health risk revealed by Monsanto’s own trials of MON863. In 2009 the CRIIGEN team published a review of how Monsanto’s own trials of MON863, MON810, and NK603 found evidence of liver and kidney toxicity. That same year Seralini refuted the validity of 90-day subchronic tests and called for a full two-year study. In 2011 the team published another review, this time of 19 studies including industry tests which consistently found evidence of liver and kidney toxicity. That’s the history which led up to the 2012 publication. 
 
This is how science is supposed to work, and Seralini’s study is a fine example of good scientific study by any measure, as well as the best to date on a GMO. It’s the one and only full toxicity study. That the EU and French governments felt forced to announce their own studies is a testament to the legitimacy of this one.
 
What was the system response to science at its best? The 2012 study was subject first to a preemptive UK media counterattack, and then to a relentless smear campaign in the UK and Europe. (The US corporate media largely ignored it.) All this was based on prefabricated lies. The lies were fabricated by Monsanto publicists, propagated by corporate fronts like the UK Science Media Centre and by the EFSA, whose honor was directly at stake since the study results condemned EFSA’s rubberstamping of Monsanto’s own bogus “safety tests”. The lies were eventually taken up and became dogma at mainstream media like the NYT. Seldom if ever has a piece of scientific work been so persecuted and smeared in the Western media machine. Finally the study was suppressed and censored.
 
That FCT suppressed it under intense pressure from Monsanto and the US and UK governments, and at the dictates of a Monsanto cadre who had a new editorial position at FCT created especially for him, is obviously nothing more or less than ideologically motivated censorship. Vastly inferior “studies” which find for GMOs and Roundup, on the other hand, are waved through. The whole affair has been an extreme example of the increasingly typical corruption and corporatization of “peer review”, which renders the whole concept of the people’s reliance upon the findings of establishment scientific procedure more and more dubious.
 
The whole scandal has provided a case study in scientistic authoritarianism. No honest, rational person could or would dispute the basic legitimacy of the Seralini study. Although like any other study it would benefit from repetition and further tweaking, the objections to its legitimacy as such are pathetically transparent and spurious. But corporatist ideologues, including regulators and corporate media personnel, are not rational or honest. To varying extents these ideologues irrationally believe that what corporations want to do should be considered automatically the normative baseline. Anyone who dissents, disputes, or presents evidence contrary to corporate assertions should be considered abnormal, even as a kind of aggressor, and should be held to a higher standard of proof.
 
In the Seralini era, GMO propaganda has begun openly to assert that independent science should be held to a higher standard of proof than corporate claims, however unevidenced. This anti-scientific dogma started out as a corollary to the Big Lie about a nonexistent “scientific consensus” in favor of GMOs. But as it’s become impossible to maintain this self-evidently absurd lie, the hacks have become more brazen about proclaiming a double standard for evidence. Thus they can try to revive their demolished “consensus” claim by segregating evidence-based science into a kind of ghetto and dismissing it as not the real science, while maintaining their conformist, nihilist consensus of anti-evidence, pro-dogma scienticians as the body of “sound science”, to use one of their favorite propaganda terms, recycled from old pro-cigarette campaigns.
 
(That the term “sound science” has evolved from its invention by Big Tobacco lobbyists to become today the official language of the US Trade Representative and other US government bodies where it comes to GMOs, fracking, and similar corporate assaults is a perfect symbol of the extreme communion between the US government and the most vicious, predatory assaults of corporations. It’s also proof of the elemental hostility and cynicism toward science and reason on the part of the government and corporate media. Similarly, the evolution of the Republican Frank Luntz code word “patchwork” to become a recent favorite of Democrats and the “liberal media” is a good crystallization of the identity of liberals and conservatives today. Examples like these epitomize how today the only meaningful distinction and divide is corporatism against humanity, and how this has redefined every other distinction and issue.)
 
Now Seralini and his CRIIGEN team have withdrawn from the French study. This incident rebuts a common theme among GMO skeptics and dissenters that we need more study. Perhaps these people are even dismayed at Seralini’s withdrawal, as progressives are prone to regard the “seat at the table” as more important than any actual result, and in this case may regard any study, however bogus and retrograde and likely to be rigged to produce a pro-Monsanto result, as better than nothing.
 
What’s bizarre about this is that we already have such a good study as the Seralini study, and we see how the system reacted to it. The evidence record is that no study which finds results adverse to the GMO cartel propaganda will ever be acceptable to the establishment, and that we shouldn’t be focusing on being acceptable to the establishment and its media. Indeed, the call for more study often sounds like an attempt to prop up faith in Good Government, and the faith that the people can somehow get regulators to act like the good government textbook depiction of regulators in the public interest.
 
It’s good that people want to reform GMO approval systems to make them more rigorous. But we must put GMOs in their socioeconomic and political context. When we do, and we realize how critical the GMO project is to the corporate system, we can see how unlikely it is that such “petitioning” type reformism can ever work.
 
If we’re to reform anything, we’ll do it only through massive bottom-up pressure which forces elites to change in order to save their own skin. In that case, the right focus for activist appeals isn’t to the system itself, but directly to the people.
 
Similarly, when we truly comprehend the socioeconomic and political evils of the GMO regime, its existential threat to agricultural biodiversity, and the way agricultural poison use threatens a cataclysm which shall destroy human and animal health, environmental health, and the soil itself, we can see that nothing short of the total abolition of GMOs and poison-based agriculture shall suffice. For this purpose as well, we must speak directly to the people.
 
But although we’ll welcome and use all new evidence as it continues to pile up, we don’t need to wait for more of any particular kind of evidence. On every front, we have far more than all the evidence we need. That includes the evidence of the health hazards of glyphosate (abundantly proven) and GMOs as such.
 
The Seralini study is among the best of these compilations of evidence, and along with the rest of the health evidence is enough to move forward with action. According to The Peter Principle one of the symptoms of having no idea what to do, or just not wanting to take any action, is to keep calling for more data even though you already have far more than enough. Let’s not exemplify such a mournful example by implicitly echoing the system’s lies about the alleged inadequacy of the evidence we have.
 
We the people don’t lack evidence, so far we simply lack action.

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May 27, 2014

The Corporate Poison Regime and Regulatory Shamming: The EFSA’s “Public Consultation” on Glyphosate

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GM-Free Cymru has filed a formal complaint over the EFSA’s farcical “public consultation” over whether the EU should renew its approval of glyphosate and raise the allowable level of the poison in water and food, as Germany, the EU’s “rapporteur state” for glyphosate, recently recommended.
 
Although the EFSA is legally required to receive public comments, it flouted this requirement by setting up a tortuous, arcane online submission system which was designed to make it near-impossible to submit substantive comments. Respondents were required to tailor their comments to EFSA specifications including tight space restrictions. The EFSA required commenters to sign a waiver basically disavowing their right to have their comments published at EFSA discretion. This too is designed to evade the law. There are several other parts of GM-Free Cymru’s complaint detailing how the process is openly discouraging to potentially adverse commenters, and how the initial German assessment is corrupt and has had information illegally and unscientifically redacted from public releases. 
 
Most substantively fraudulent, the EFSA declared that it would delete any comments which referred to Roundup. Respondents are allowed to comment only on glyphosate. This is in spite of the fact that in agricultural practice it’ll be Roundup and similar formulations which are actually sprayed, while pure glyphosate is never used anywhere but in the laboratory test.
 
This is a standard scam on the part of poison manufacturers and regulators. The regulatory process, meager and inadequate as it is, deals only with an isolated so-called “active ingredient” such as glyphosate. It never deals with the kind of commercial formulation which will be used in the real world. Therefore it’s a fraud from any scientific or government ethics point of view. “Active ingredient” isn’t a practically meaningful term, since the commercial formulation will contain several bioactive ingredients. Instead this is an ideological term meant to isolate one ingredient in an unworldly ivory tower manner. Under such isolation of a single ingredient which never appears in isolation in reality, it’s easier for corporations and regulators to manufacture the sham semblance of testing and assurances of safety.
 
Meanwhile independent testing and epidemiological evidence has abundantly documented that many such commercial poisons are far more toxic in their real-world form than the “active ingredient” is in laboratory isolation.
 
In the case of glyphosate, the evidence proves that the combination of glyphosate with the surfactant POEA is far more toxic to human health than glyphosate in isolation. This combination, along with several other truly active poisons, is typical of glyphosate’s commercial formulations including Roundup.
 
Regulators are practically robotic in mechanically raising allowable levels of industrial poisons in air, water, soil, crops, food, and human bodies in response to corporate demands. It’s literally the case that the regulator sets the “safe” level of the poison based on how much of the poison the corporations expect to sell. When the corporations project a market expansion and concomitant increase in the environmental presence of the poison, they lobby the regulator to raise the “safe” level commensurately. The regulator invariably complies, since the regulator sees its job as to assist the corporate prerogative, never to hinder it.
 
I’ve described this process before, calling it “regulator triangulation”. By triangulation I mean the regulator pretends to be a public servant but is really trying to represent a corporatist agenda as “public service”.
 
1. The government regulator regards the corporate prerogative as normative. Indeed, as an EFSA memo discussing the EU law which would gradually ban endocrine-disrupting chemicals like Roundup openly says, the regulator ideology is based on an assumed corporate right to maximum profit. Any competing value is generally considered an irritant to be quashed. Under no circumstance will even the most conscientious regulator do anything which would seriously hinder corporate profit and control.
 
2. Given (1), a regulator may or may not try to ameliorate the worst harms and “abuses”. As we see in this case and many others, the EFSA is the kind of bureaucracy which doesn’t even want meager amelioration, but is gung ho on behalf of the full corporate onslaught.
 
3. The regulator then places its imprimatur on the resulting policy. It calls this the result of meticulous deliberation which takes the public interest into account. It declares the product “safe” and promises its own professional vigilance in ensuring the policy is carried out. But in fact only the corporate agenda and how to camouflage it went into the deliberation, “safe” is an Orwellian term which means, “what’s the minimum paper restraint we can politically get away with?”, and there’s seldom even a modest attempt on the regulator’s part to enforce this sham minimum. The US EPA’s “refugia” policy for Bt crops is a good example of a policy which is weak and insufficient in principle and is indifferently enforced in practice, whose only real purpose is as propaganda.
 
By means of this parallax effect the regulator helps direct public attention to a sham depiction of “good government” and “public health” while the real position is a direct, coordinated assault of the corporate state on public health and on every other human value.
 
The EFSA’s campaign to help force more of this viciously toxic poison upon us while making it look “safe” is a typical example. As is the contempt for democracy and accountability it’s demonstrating in the process. But then, the whole “public comment” process is intrinsic to the basic regulation scam.

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April 13, 2014

Rootworms and GMOs

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A recent paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences summarizes the spread of rootworm resistance to Bt poisons generated by GMOs. Two of the three commercial Bt traits against rootworm are widely ineffective. The problem is so severe that even a corporatist organization like the NAS feels compelled to discuss it.
 
This product failure, or to put it another way the triumphant counteroffensive of the rootworms, has been documented for many years now. It happened quickly following the commercialization of the first anti-rootworm GMO products in 2003.
 
The product genre is in response to an artificial problem, generated completely by the GMO regime itself. In a rational crop rotation and pest management system, as largely prevailed prior to the advent of GMOs in the mid 1990s, rootworm was seldom more than a nuisance to maize farmers. This pest only started becoming a serious problem when farmers were exhorted by Monsanto and the US government to grow corn every year. The Roundup Ready trait and the poison trait vs. the corn borer were alleged to enable this. The fact that it encouraged rootworm infestation, since now their larvae would find new corn to feed on the next year (which is what crop rotation is supposed to prevent, so that the pest can never become well-established), was an intentionally generated problem which Monsanto then answered with its rootworm-resistant poison trait.
 
Monsanto’s plan was not only to supply this artificially generated demand, but to use this demand as leverage for its “expanded trait penetration” strategy to force stacked products containing the anti-rootworm trait upon farmers who didn’t need it. In the face of a massive farmer outcry and whatever danger there was from the largely illusory Justice Department antitrust investigation, Monsanto backpedaled on this, and today there are plenty of Double Pro varieties without the anti-rootworm trait available. But these are still triple-stacks containing two anti-borer poisons, since borers have been waging their own victorious war against poison-based agriculture, and it’s a fact that the GMO regime can do nothing but try to fight the long defeat as slowly as possible.
 
The standard treadmill dynamic for both anti-weed and anti-insect GMOs quickly set in with anti-rootworm crops, as rootworms quickly developed resistance to the poison crops which pretended to suppress them. Now this new paper documents how quickly cross-resistance developed between two of the three anti-rootworm traits available. The first anti-rootworm Bt poison was Monsanto’s CryBb1 (“cry” means the crystalline form of the Bt toxin). This was the poison produced by the cells of the original M863 product in 2003, and it remains Monsanto’s anti-rootworm trait to this day. So much for innovation.
 
Rootworms developed resistance to this toxin, and then more quickly developed resistance to Syngenta’s modified Cry3A which is contained in its MIR604 product line, including the new Duracade line which contains a synthetic combo of Cry3A and an old anti-borer toxin. The paper finds that the Syngenta poison is similar enough to Monsanto’s that rootworms resistant to the latter were likely to also be resistant to the former, and that this is the likely reason for the accelerating resistance. Again, there’s the level of “innovation” among these geniuses. Sounds like such products as Monsanto’s Triple Pro and Syngenta’s Viptera wouldn’t be such good bets if you have a rootworm problem.
 
Only the Dow/Dupont DAS-59122 product line, containing the Cry34/35Ab1 toxin, still seems to be working for the time being. Of course the more GMO growers switch to the stacked varieties containing this version of the poison, the faster the rootworms will mop up that one too.
 
This is the same losing arms race as has already been occurring with the corn borer and with Roundup-resistant weeds. As the example of rootworm demonstrates, each new target for the GMO technology more quickly develops resistance to the product genre, just as this target does so more quickly for each new generation of the technological line.
 
This also gives the lie to the whole notion of “refugia”, which are stands of non-Bt corn which the EPA and similar regulators in other countries require poison crop growers to set aside. The idea is supposed to be that the non-Bt stand provides a “refuge” for insects without a propensity to resistance to survive and interbreed with the naturally resistant ones who have survived feeding on the Bt crop. Their offspring will be less likely to inherit the resistance trait, and therefore the overall conversion of the pest population to a resistant variety is supposed to be delayed.
 
As we see, the theoretical setting aside of refuges has done little to halt the march of Bt-resistant rootworms. Of course, such refuges were more of a political scam in the first place, since the EPA nor regulators in other countries have been vigilant about enforcing them, nor were they supposed to be. The idea of the refugia, as a way for regulators and corporations to reassure skeptics that the product will work, has always had more significance then their real world application.
 
This is proven by the fact that, in the same way that regulatory allowed herbicide levels in water and food is set not according to public health or any other scientific measure, but simply reflects whatever level will result from the amount of herbicides corporations need to sell and farmers need to spray, so the refugia percentages aren’t set according to any scientific measure, but at the lowest politically justifiable level.
 
Thus although USDA entomologists recommended 50% refuge planting if the policy was supposed to have any chance of being effective, the EPA originally set the requirement at 20% for single and then double trait Bt poison crops. Needless to say Monsanto originally opposed the refuge concept as such and has always lobbied for the lowest possible level. The EPA was happy to accept the cartel’s argument that stacked varieties, by incorporating multiple poisons, would attack target insects so many ways at once that the 20% refuge was no longer necessary and could be reduced to 5%. This “reduced refuge” requirement was inaugurated with SmartStax corn in 2009, and we have indeed seen rapid results where it’s come to rootworm resistance. No doubt this will hasten the toppling of that third Bt rootworm trait, since it too is part of SmartStax.
 
The entomologists are now back and saying “we told you so”. They’re being backed by some parts of the corporate media, which are singling out the reduced refuge policy as kind of anomalous policy “abuse”, along with the scapegoating of farmers standard in the propaganda of a GMO product’s failure stage. As always, the goal is to defend the honor of the insect resistance product genre, and of GMOs as such, by blaming a crisis which can’t be lied away on some extraneous factor.
 
But the fact is that pest resistance is inevitable when you present the pest with the same challenge year upon year upon year (corn-on-corn, as they call it). No matter what the crop’s defenses, the insect will always win. Even the best refuge policy, vigilantly enforced, would indeed only slightly slow down this process at best.
 
That GMO proponents have always denied this fact, and the parallel fact of inevitable and accelerating weed resistance, against which there’s not even the meager delaying measure of a “refuge” available, makes them perhaps the oddest group of evolution deniers we’ve ever seen. Odd, especially, given their absurd pretensions to be representatives of “science”.
 
What’s more, as I’ve written about many times, to believe that a government regulatory bureaucracy actually wants to enforce policy in the public interest, if such enforcement would hinder the corporate prerogative in any significant way, is to fail to understand the nature of this kind of bureaucracy. The EPA hasn’t “dropped the ball” on Bt refugia, or whatever term of expression one might use. It’s done exactly what we should expect: Under pressure from a wide array of public interest perspectives, it enacted a paper policy. It set the mechanisms of this policy at the lowest level of rigor it thought it could get away with, and has been lackadaisical about enforcing even this level. It then touted the policy idea as proof that farmers and the public could trust their judgement, and that things would be fine and work well as the Bt crop project went forward. The rootworms, as well as the borers, have answered.
 
The fact is that in addition to all their other proven and likely dangers, GMOs were always guaranteed to generate insect and weed resistance against themselves. They were always guaranteed to lead to nothing but an ever-escalating arms race, with the GMO products having to incorporate more and more endemic and sprayed poisons to be even the slightest bit effective. The products would have to become more and more expensive and be ever more poisonous to humans, livestock, and the environment. And the end result of this is guaranteed to be massive crop destruction and the wholesale abandonment of farmland to intractable weeds, as has already been happening in Georgia and elsewhere.
 
As I described above, much of this was premeditated as a form of planned obsolescence, and as a way of generating new demand, where it came to anti-rootworm crops as such.
 
Perhaps most of the cadres involved simply refuse to think about the inevitable end of this Tower of Babel, taking solace in the flat-earth fundamentalist mantra, “technology will think of something”. As we can see, it’s been working so well so far. Those who do think about it are simply psychopaths who expect to enjoy their own profits and power before the inevitable end. On Wall Street this way of looking at it is called IBGYBG – “I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone”, so therefore let’s continue perpetrating these finance cons, constructing these pyramid schemes, blowing up this bubble, since by the time it all blows up we’ll have taken our fat bonuses and run. Individual cartel executives and investors must think the same way.
 
That’s part of why humanity cannot “coexist” with GMOs. That’s part of why our only option is total abolition. Nothing short of that can stave off the many modes of inevitable failure hardwired into an agricultural regime based on GMOs and poisons. As this example demonstrates well, we cannot rely on “regulators”, let alone the corporations themselves, to act in a way which makes any other course possible. It’s proactive abolition along with the affirmative building of the Community Food and Food Sovereignty movement, or else it’s a very dark future.

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March 9, 2014

Agroecology and Food Sovereignty Are the Future, GMOs and Corporate Agriculture Are the Past

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Over a hundred Indian farmer unions combined to issue a Charter of Demands upon all political parties as the country enters its Lok Sabha (national parliamentary) elections. The demands include a basic guaranteed income for farmers and a moratorium on GMO field trials. Such modest and rational measures would be a minimum for any sane society which intends to eat in the future.
 
The farmers emphasize how economically untenable their position is, and how this has resulted in history’s most prodigious and sustained suicide wave – over 300,000 to date, with another suicide every 30 minutes – and one of history’s most massive forced refugee migrations, as over 2300 farmers are forced off the land every day.
 
These overwhelming movements of tragedy are caused directly by globalized commodity agriculture, which renders smallholder farming economically impossible in globalized country economies where no socioeconomic protections or safety net for farmers exist. This was already a crisis prior to GMOs, and the advent of GMOs, in every way a doubling down on all the most pernicious aspects of corporate industrial agriculture, has made it much worse.
 
This record of agricultural globalization and corporatization is clear and unbroken across Latin America and Asia, and to a lesser extent North America and Europe. By now there can be no doubt about the effect of globalization in agriculture: It drives massive numbers of people off the land and into concentration camps called “shantytowns”, from which there’s no escape for the mass; and it accelerates landgrabbing, the concentration of land and resources in the hands of a tiny number of corporations and other 1% entities.
 
By now this record is clear enough that anyone who still supports any form of agricultural globalization, for example the looming “New Alliance” plan for a “Second Green Revolution in Africa”, is willfully planning the economic and physical destruction of many millions of African smallholder farmers. Just as anyone who supports globalization in India is by now a willful supporter of the ongoing mass expropriation and what has to be called a genocide there. What else can you call a campaign of economic aggression which has forced hundreds of thousands to suicide? If a gangster hounds a debtor to suicide, it’s really a murder. If a gangster syndicate hounds 300,000, it’s a genocidal campaign committing crimes against humanity.
 
The alternative is clear. Organizations like Campesino a Campesino and the Asian Farmer Field Schools already exist to propagate the most cutting edge agroecological knowledge and techniques to smallholder farmers. Of course this modern knowledge is really a refinement of and supplement to the age old techniques. But unlike fraudulent technologies like GMOs, these conceptual refinements and enhancements which require little in the way of expensive inputs really do produce great gains in yield and nutritional quality.
 
Helped by this knowledge, which Southern farmers can largely propagate among themselves with little help from the West (and this help too being primarily in the form of non-proprietary knowledge; and of course we in the West have at least as much to learn from the innovators of the South), Southern farmers can provide for themselves and their communities. Southern communities can attain prosperity and security through their own efforts, if the neoliberal corporate West would only leave them alone.
 
Meanwhile the appalling poverty of large parts of the South is primarily the result of the depredations of corporate imperialism, AKA globalization.
 
So the road to a human future is clear enough. Support and join the efforts of Indian farmer unions like these, and the efforts of the hundreds of farmer and citizen groups who have combined to form the Alliance for Food Sovereignty in Africa, and the efforts of the Landless Workers’ Movement in Brazil and elsewhere across Latin America, and the efforts of La Via Campesina, the Peasant Way, and the efforts of those of us in the West who are trying to build such movements here.
 
If humanity is to have a future, this great movement must succeed. We must defend ourselves as farmers and citizens, we must preserve our ability to democratically produce and distribute the true crops and real food, and we must build this effort as a movement to ensure the future of humanity.

 
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February 26, 2014

Comment Against the US Government’s Sham “Coexistence” Policy

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“Coexistence” is a fraudulent propaganda term. Coexistence is physically impossible, as contamination of non-GM crops and wild relatives by GMO maize, cotton, canola and other types is already rampant, as is the feral spread of GMO canola in various forms.
 
The USDA wants to promulgate “coexistence” as the official ideology and practical recommendation of the US government. There’s currently a comment period open on this, which expires March 4. Here’s one of the several pre-written comment and submission forms available, if that’s easier.
 
The contamination problem will only get worse, the longer GMOs exist. Meanwhile the poisons associated with GMOs, so far primarily glyphosate, inevitably drift and contaminate soils, water, air, other plants, and accumulate in our bodies. This problem will significantly escalate as “second generation” GMOs resistant to the far more volatile and drift-prone 2,4-D are commercialized. There’s still time to comment on this as well, as the comment period has been extended to March 11.
 
All this is in addition to the malign socioeconomic and political effects of poison-based corporate agriculture. I’ve written on this many times; here’s just a few examples. Here too it’s impossible for human beings to coexist with GMOs. It’s untenable to have our very food dominated by corporations whose one and only imperative is to force us to apply the maximum poison in and on our food. Humanity’s only path forward is the complete abolition of GMOs.

 
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