Volatility

February 7, 2017

Food Sovereignty and Agroecology for Africa and the World

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As the great battle escalates in Africa, we must learn what agroecology is and why it’s the necessary and bountiful path forward for Africa and for all of humanity. I’ve written about it before many times, including here, here, and here. I’ve given basic account of the clash of corporate agriculture against humanity in my new pieces on the corporate plan to recolonize Africa.
 
Agroecology is the practice of agriculture in harmony with the overall ecology. It is agriculture as a constructive, contributing part of local and global ecosystems. The practice of agroecology is the only way humans can practice agriculture in a way which gives as much to the Earth as it takes. It’s roughly synonymous with organic agriculture in the original sense of the term. (Not the degraded sense of the US government and the industrial organic sector. Industrial organic is not agroecological, it’s industrial. It mines the Earth in a way similar to regular poison-based industrial. The only difference is it doesn’t use most synthetic poisons.) In philosophy and practice, agroecology works as a part of nature rather at war with it, in harmony with the rhythms of nature rather than against them, using natural features as reinforcements or remedies, keeping actions within the natural cycles of a regional ecosystem. All this makes for an agriculture which is most sustainable in producing the most nutritious food (and the most calories, acre for acre) using no artificial poisons, doing so in a way which enhances ecosystems, economies, and communities, rather than destroying all these the way corporate industrial agriculture does. Agroecology grows food for human beings. The more the practice spreads, the less hunger, food insecurity, and dietary disease there will be. In contrast, corporate agriculture has always increased hunger and always will increase hunger and cause famine, wherever it prevails. Agroecology provides the only way for humanity to live in a way not destructive, not parasitic, not a mere worthless squatting on the surface of the Earth. It’s the only way forward, if humanity is to have a future.
 
The term “agroecology” indicates its basis in the combined sciences of agronomy and ecology. It is scientific in the true sense of the term. Its practitioners are constantly applying theory to locally-based (i.e. real world) practice, and based on the results modifying and repeating theory and practice, all toward the goal of producing sufficient calories and nutrition. Combined with the political philosophy of Food Sovereignty, agroecology then distributes this food directly to human beings, more than enough for everyone, so that everyone actually gets enough to eat.
 
By contrast, science condemns the industrial agriculture experiment as having failed at everything it ever promised it would do. It did nothing but use the temporary fossil fuel surplus to produce more gross calories. But it distributes these calories in a grotesquely wasteful, inefficient, and inequitable way. The result is that even as food production goes up, corporate industrial agriculture invariably increases hunger. Corporate agriculture can never do anything but increase hunger and make famine more common. Hunger and famine are caused exclusively by poverty and inequality. They have none but artificial, socially caused reasons. Corporate agriculture inherently drives poverty and inequality, because it inherently drives concentration of control over the good land and the control of all resources including food, which must always be rendered artificially scarce. Artificial scarcity is the only way capitalist profit is possible. On the first day of Economics 101 students are always told, on the first page of the textbook, that economics is about allocating scarce resources. The course then tells the Big Lie that this scarcity is “natural”. But in truth the scarcity is almost always purely artificial. In the case of food, it is always artificial. The fact that governments, corporations, media, academia, and the parasite intelligentsia in general wish to continue the evil experiment, now extending it to Africa in a more virulent form than hitherto, is proof that the elites and the experimenters were lying about their proclaimed goals all along. Their goal always has been nothing but to enforce hunger, because their goal always has been nothing but to enforce power and control. We know these facts: Corporate rule is purely wasteful and destructive, does nothing for humanity, and accomplishes nothing but to enable a small group of criminals to further concentrate wealth and power and exercise domination. In the end power and domination are their only goals and their only reasons for being.
 
The core lie of capitalist civilization is that there isn’t enough food for everyone to eat well. In reality both industrial agriculture (for the duration of cheap, plentiful fossil fuels) and agroecology produce far more than enough food. This is true globally, it’s true in every region, it’s true in every country. Hunger is driven only by profiteering and aggression. Famine is caused only by economic aggression and war. The great lie of scarcity is told in order to justify these wars, justify the campaigns of economic and political aggression called “globalization”, justify centralized state power, justify corporate power and profit, justify the massive use of poisons, justify the development and deployment of technologies which are extremely expensive, usually destructive, and always wasteful and worthless. It’s told to justify forcing people to buy food with money according to a predatory commodity system. It’s told to justify forcing people into the framework of submitting to coercion and de facto slavery in order to obtain this artificially necessary money. It’s told to justify the fact that a billion people on Earth go hungry for no other reason than that they lack this money, even as there exists far more than enough food for 10 billion people to eat well, and even as astronomical amounts of food go to waste every day.
 
The “Feed the World” lie is told by elites and their parasite hangers-on and supporters. It’s told in order to justify all crimes of all institutions. It’s told to justify, absolve, normalize, exalt as “the good”, and turn organized crime into the normative measure of “civilization”. The whole abomination stands or falls with this malign religious belief which strives to erase the fact that the Earth is a world of abundance, that human labor coaxes a great bounty from the fruitful Earth. The corporate system exists to enclose, hoard, constrain, ration out, where necessary destroy this Earthy abundance, this human greatness. Food Sovereignty shall break all the chains and shatter all the bottlenecks the corporate “order” has forced upon humanity, liberating all of humanity’s creative forces. Agroecology is the great vehicle, the way.
 
Agroecology is highly skilled work. It requires intimate knowledge of the ways of the soil, weather, climate, plants (crops, other beneficial plants, potentially harmful plants called “weeds”), animals (livestock, other beneficial animals, potentially harmful ones called “pests”). Agroecology’s innovative and highly productive practices reject the straitjacket of monoculture, reject synthetic fertilizers and other poisons, include natural nutrient-cycling and soil-building, the use of manure, compost, and cover crops, crop rotation, intercropping, alley cropping with leguminous trees, infusion of free-living nitrogen-fixing bacteria into the soil, biological pest control, agroforestry, better water management, rotation of livestock with annual crops, the whole art of integrating grass-fed livestock pastoralism with vegetable production. It requires the most efficient and effective use of energy and other resources. This knowledge is built primarily by the farmers themselves and shared among them. Agroecologically-inclined agronomists use this body of knowledge to build agroecological theory which the farmers then apply to their practices, with some help from agronomy schools and NGOs. All this is done with emphasis on the most appropriate specific application of general principles within a particular region/locality. This great work of knowledge and practice is fully developed and ready to be deployed globally.
 
This global deployment is necessary because the fossil fuel crutch, required for each and every part of industrial agriculture, from the inputs and financing to the growing to the processing and distribution and preparation, soon shall be removed once and for all. Fossil fuels are non-renewable, there is no substitute for them, nothing can provide even a fraction of this extreme, ahistorical level of energy consumption, and the age of cheap, plentiful fossil fuels therefore nears its predestined end. Corporate industrial agriculture is not sustainable, and proceeding with it is not an option. The two options are to stick with industrialism to the bitter end until it collapses once and for all, leaving in its wake universal famine, universal chaos and confusion, and the desperate struggle to find some new way to procure enough food under the worst practical and intellectual circumstances. Or, to undertake the great affirmative transformation to agroecology and Food Sovereignty, deploying the great body of science and practice we have built. This body of knowledge and practice, as it exists today, already is humanity’s greatest accomplishment. The only greater attainment will be the great transformation, the full global deployment of Food Sovereignty, which will comprise the redemption of humanity and Earth in socioecological concord. Any other path leads inexorably down to disaster.
 
 
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Agroecology is proven to be the most nutritionally productive form of agriculture as well as the most calorically productive, acre for acre. Peter Rosset testifies:
 

In fact, data shows that small farms almost always produce far more agricultural output per unit area than larger farms, do so more efficiently, and produce food rather than export crops and fuels. This holds true whether we are talking about industrial countries or any country in the third world. This is widely recognized by agricultural economists as the “inverse relationship between farm size and output.” When I examined the relationship between farm size and total output for fifteen countries in the third world, in all cases relatively smaller farm sizes were much more productive per unit area—2 to 10 times more productive—than larger ones.

 
A team at the University of Michigan surveyed hundreds of organic and agroecological trials and found that agroecological/organic/low-input production, using the same amount of land globally under cultivation right now, would outproduce industrial agriculture in caloric production for all significant food groups, and can do so while replacing synthetic fertilizers with natural nutrient cycling. They analyzed the data according to two models, one a best-case scenario and the other more conservative, and found that even by the conservative parameters organic agriculture would produce calories, including in grain production, comparable to today’s industrial output, and therefore more than enough to feed everyone on earth. By the best-case model, agroecology could produce over 50% more than the current industrial production.
 
The 2010 report on agroecology from the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food summarized a similar survey performed by a team led by Jules Pretty, with special emphasis on Africa.
 

17. Such resource-conserving, low-external-input techniques have a proven potential to significantly improve yields. In what may be the most systematic study of the potential of such techniques to date, Jules Pretty et al. compared the impacts of 286 recent sustainable agriculture projects in 57 poor countries covering 37 million hectares (3 per cent of the cultivated area in developing countries). They found that such interventions increased productivity on 12.6 millions farms, with an average crop increase of 79 per cent, while improving the supply of critical environmental services. Disaggregated data from this research showed that average food production per household rose by 1.7 tonnes per year (up by 73 per cent) for 4.42 million small farmers growing cereals and roots on 3.6 million hectares, and that increase in food production was 17 tonnes per year (up 150 per cent) for 146,000 farmers on 542,000 hectares cultivating roots (potato, sweet potato, cassava). After UNCTAD and UNEP reanalyzed the database to produce a summary of the impacts in Africa, it was found that the average crop yield increase was even higher for these projects than the global average of 79 per cent at 116 per cent increase for all African projects and 128 per cent increase for projects in East Africa.

 
These numbers prove that the US and British governments, the Gates Foundation, and agrochemical corporations like Monsanto and Syngenta are lying when they claim to want to “help small farmers” and “feed the world”. The fact that they ignore these numbers, and ignore the entire failed history of corporate agriculture and its “Green Revolution”, and instead persist in touting fertilizers, pesticides, GMOs, and the entire industrial monoculture commodity framework, proves that their conscious goal is to destroy all food-based community farming and replace it with export-based commodity industrial plantations. The vast majority of the people are to be driven off their land and into shantytowns to starve. This is the one and only purpose and goal of Green Revolution II, the “second green revolution for Africa.”
 
Subsequent sections of the UN report give more details on what agroecology has proven in demonstration and partial deployment.
 

18. The most recent large-scale study points to the same conclusions. Research commissioned by the Foresight Global Food and Farming Futures project of the UK Government reviewed 40 projects in 20 African countries where sustainable intensification was developed during the 2000s. The projects included crop improvements (particularly improvements through participatory plant breeding on hitherto neglected orphan crops), integrated pest management, soil conservation and agro-forestry. By early 2010, these projects had documented benefits for 10.39 million farmers and their families and improvements on approximately 12.75 million hectares. Crop yields more than doubled on average (increasing 2.13-fold) over a period of 3-10 years, resulting in an increase in aggregate food production of 5.79 million tonnes per year, equivalent to 557 kg per farming household.

19. Sometimes, seemingly minor innovations can provide high returns. In Kenya, researchers and farmers developed the “push-pull” strategy to control parasitic weeds and insects that damage the crops. The strategy consists in “pushing” away pests from corn by inter-planting corn with insect-repellent crops like Desmodium, while “pulling” them towards small plots of Napier grass, a plant that excretes a sticky gum which both attracts and traps pests. The system not only controls pests but has other benefits as well, because Desmodium can be used as fodder for livestock. The push-pull strategy doubles maize yields and milk production while, at the same time, improves the soil. The system has already spread to more than 10,000 households in East Africa by means of town meetings, national radio broadcasts and farmer field schools.

20. Agroecology is also gaining ground in Malawi, a country that has been at the centre of attention in recent years. Malawi successfully launched a fertilizer subsidy programme in 2005-2006, following the dramatic food crisis due to drought in 2004-2005. However, it is now implementing agroforestry systems, using nitrogen-fixing trees, to ensure sustained growth in maize production…By mid-2009, over 120,000 Malawian farmers had received training and tree materials from the programme, and support from Ireland has now enabled extension of the programme to 40 per cent of Malawi’s districts, benefiting 1.3 million of the poorest people. Research shows that this results in increased yields from 1 t/ha to 2–3 t/ha, even if farmers cannot afford commercial nitrogen fertilizers…An optimal solution that could be an exit strategy from fertilizer subsidy schemes would be to link fertilizer subsidies directly to agroforestry investments on the farm in order to provide for long-term sustainability in nutrient supply, and to build up soil health as the basis for sustained yields and improved efficiency of fertilizer response. Malawi is reportedly exploring this “subsidy to sustainability” approach.

21…One key reason why agroecology helps to support incomes in rural areas is because it promotes on-farm fertility generation. Indeed, supplying nutrients to the soil does not necessarily require adding mineral fertilizers. It can be done by applying livestock manure or by growing green manures. Farmers can also
establish a “fertilizer factory in the fields” by planting trees that take nitrogen out of the air and “fix” it in their leaves, which are subsequently incorporated into the soil. That, in essence, is the result of planting Faidherbia albida, a nitrogen-fixing acacia species indigenous to Africa and widespread throughout the continent. Since this tree goes dormant and sheds its foliage during the early rainy season at the time when field crops are being established, it does not compete significantly with them for light, nutrients or water during the growing season; yet it allows a significant increase in yields of the maize with which it is combined, particularly in conditions of low soil fertility. In Zambia, unfertilized maize yields in the vicinity of Faidherbia trees averaged 4.1 t/ha, compared to 1.3 t/ha nearby, but beyond the tree canopy. Similar results were observed in Malawi, where this tree was also widely used. The use of such nitrogen-fixing trees avoids dependence on synthetic fertilizers, the price of which has been increasingly high and volatile over the past few years, exceeding food commodity prices, even when the latter reached a peak in July 2008. In this way, whatever financial assets the household has can be used on other essentials, such as education or medicine.

 
The 2008 report from the World Bank’s own International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, and Technology for Development, endorsed by all participating countries except the predatory globalists the US, Canada, and Australia, insisted on the sufficiency and necessity of agroecology. A 2013 report from the UN’s Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reinforced this consensus among all honest commentators.
 
Today we need to build new food systems in light of this knowledge. Where the age-old organic practices persist as in Africa, farmers need to sustain and enhance them in light of modern agroecological knowledge. Where these have been marginalized or obliterated, they need to be rebuilt. The people of Africa have a great opportunity. Instead of going further down the destructive and self-destructive corporate path, they have a golden opportunity to fully embrace agroecology. All of African agriculture has this opportunity to reject the evils of corporate poison-based agriculture and instead undertake the natural and rational transition from their traditional agriculture to scientific agroecology. This is the path to food security, economic stability and prosperity, human and ecological health, and political freedom. The same is true throughout the world. All the world must answer this great call to human and ecological necessity.
 
 
 
 

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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October 27, 2016

The Community Food Sector Must Fight to Survive and Win (Also Some GMO Comments)

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Have to be hid in attics from Big Ag.

Have to be hid from Big Ag in attics.

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1. The case of Mark Baker may seem to be extreme, but it’s also typical of the attitude of corporate agriculture’s servant bureaucracies toward the rising Community Food sector, the most clear and present danger to the continued domination of poison-based agriculture and corporate “food”. What Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources is trying to do to heritage pig farmer Baker is typical of many other cases of federal* and state thugs attempting, legally and illegally, to destroy our movement. In their minds the bureaucrats, from the lowest state thug to the federal agriculture secretary himself, are completely eradicating Community Food by whatever means necessary. In practice they’ll do so by whatever means are possible.
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This means whatever’s politically possible. The measure of that will be how intrepidly growers and citizens of food (that ought to be all Americans, though so far it’s still far too few) affirmatively organize ourselves to take back the land and grow real crops and distribute real food, and how fiercely we fight back against the corporate state’s attempt to destroy all we’re building.
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*For example the FDA, which bizarrely is much beloved among “anti-GMO” people and among the NGOs which usually claim to support Community Food but which turned around and abetted Monsanto’s “Food Safety Modernization Act.” (FSMA).
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2. From the outset of the pro-marijuana movement there were many who strongly insisted on the word and concept “decriminalization” rather than “legalization”. In addition to the philosophical implications of the difference, we see the very practical, big difference between legalization under corporate control only vs. true decriminalization, i.e. control in the hands of the people.
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This distinction can be applied very widely. For example, GMOs don’t naturally exist nor is it a simple, inexpensive thing to create them. Rather they had to be very aggressively legalized through corporate welfare, radical changes in patent law, changes in regulatory law and disregard of existing law by regulators. They could easily be abolished simply by removing the Rube Goldberg legalization structure they depend upon. No corporate welfare, no GMOs. No patents, no GMOs. In that case a legal ban would be redundant, although a legal ban would simply de-legalize something that was a purely fabricated, “legalized” government confection in the first place. This also shoots down the dumbest objection to labeling, that it’s “government interference”. No, the government massively interferes by artificially building the astronomically expensive structure that sustains GMOs in the first place. Think of it as a trillion dollar greenhouse the taxpayers pay for. Is the hothouse flower being grown within a natural creation of a “free market”?
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Here I’m applying to GMOs an analysis I first developed for everything Wall Street does. (I wrote about it in dozens of posts, go check ’em out. Like this one.) Un-legalize the legalized gambling the big banks do, and Wall Street will cease to exist. Finis. The same goes for much of the rest of Mammon’s evils.
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3. With this conventionally bred “orange maize” we once again have proof of one of the iron laws of GMOs, proven anew every time: Where it comes to any GMO touted for its alleged “product quality” (nutrition, taste, storability, etc.) or “agronomic trait” (drought resistance, etc.), there already exists a better, higher quality, safer, less expensive non-GM version. There are no exceptions. (And then the GM version is more often than not a hoax anyway. “Golden rice” in particular is one of the most flamboyant media hoaxes in modern memory.)
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The piece I linked demonstrates the pitfall of wanting to imitate the corporate hype surrounding techno-miracles, merely counterpoising “alternative” miracles which are otherwise just as unanchored, uncontexted, and imply that silver bullet solutions are possible. (The piece and GMWatch’s commentary keeps calling such varieties “enriched” and “fortified”. If they inherently contain the nutrient out of conventional breeding they’re neither.)
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It’s constructive to talk about these non-GM anodynes only within the context of stressing that all problems of diet and hunger are caused completely by poison-based commodity agriculture itself and can be solved only by restoring community food production and distribution, as is ecologically and economically natural. But then the orange maize is a product of the corporate state’s CGIAR “HarvestPlus” project and therefore is designed to be perceived only as an anodyne within the context of continued globalization.
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As we see with these examples, this kind of project can bring results which the people can then put to good use, and indeed the piece says the Zambian government claims it will prevent export commodity production of the orange maize but instead reserve it for national food production. That’s an excellent idea, and a motivated, well-organized, vigilant people can maintain control of such agronomic research and development and see to it that these products truly are advances. But a prerequisite is to understand clearly that where it comes to a putative public-private partnership like this, the developers themselves regard everything we’re talking about here as a transitional stage and fringe benefit at best, and more likely a propaganda front. The real goal, as with every other globalization project, no matter how ostensibly “public” and “national” in its form, and no matter what the PR presentation, is patent-based, profiteering commodity production. Again, golden rice provides the original template, with Syngenta claiming it would forego its patent prerogatives (but with lots of fine print the newspapers didn’t mention), while at the same time the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the “public” front of the Syngenta/Gates campaign and actual developer of the pseudo-rice, has explicitly reserved the right to take out patents of its own. This too is just another permutation of the corporation retaining all control and freedom of action.
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See here for the same dynamic in the case of the African project to develop “drought-resistant maize”, another Syngenta/Gates campaign.
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The takeaway: Don’t trust anything the corporate-controlled system does, because it’s not meant for us, and by us I mean humanity. The projects of the corporate system, no matter what the nominal form of the organization leading the project or performing the action, are corporate projects being done under corporate control toward corporate goals. No self-respecting big shareholder would ever settle for less in any of these cases.
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The takeaway: As always, we the people need our own organizations, our own projects, our own actions, our own movement.
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October 21, 2016

From Superstition to Superstition, Fatalism to Fatalism

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1. Primeval humanity faced the uncanny wilderness. People had to forage and hunt. They were active. They had to live in a constant, complete communion with the world. They probably never “thought about” this. Theirs was the life of supreme faith-in-action.
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2. Humans developed agriculture. Their empirical practice was rudimentary and their intellectual knowledge meager. They became passive, fatalistic. They had to envision and appease the rain gods, the earth gods. They were superstitious.
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3. Gradually farmers learned the crafting of the seeds and soil. Once again they were active. Their empirical practice became complex. Although they lacked scientific knowledge, their empirical practice was sufficient. They had resumed faith-in-action.
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4. In the modern era (modern means the ahistorical era of the fossil fuel drawdown) there have been two contrasting developments.
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4A. Farmers submitted to the complete domination of corporations and big centralized government. This is a return to total passivity, fatalism, superstition, idolatry. Farmers now worship the corporate demon to deliver the magical seed, the magical potions and powders to invigorate the soil and drive away the pest, the temples and founts of the magical irrigation, the fabulous metal monsters and the mystical fluids that fuel them, most of all the magic spell called credit and subsidy which causes all these things to exist in the first place, the failure of the spell causing them all to disappear in a puff of dry dusty wind.
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All depends on the superstitious ritual with entrails called money to propitiate the demon. The demon will excommunicate those who profane the ritual with insufficient faith measured in money, and will smite with fire and brimstone any who attempt to work directly with the Earth without the certification of the demon priesthood. The Book of Revelation calls this demon’s certificate the mark of the beast. (13.17)
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They make a sacrament of poison as the core of the demonic summoning and propitiation.
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The corporate demons’ propagandist uses the term “science” for these cult rituals, and the passive, benighted cult worshippers endlessly and brainlessly chant this mantra. And the vast masses squat inert, minds emptied and mouths open, passively waiting to be “fed” in obedience to the propagandist’s incessantly amplified slogan, “Feed the World”.
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Thus most of Western humanity, and many of the South as well, have returned full circle to the deepest darkness of passivity, fatalism, superstition, idolatry. They sit spellbound and in awe of the great mystery of the colossus upon whose whim their lives hang.
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4B. And in the same time we truly have learned the science of the seed, the soil, the ecology in which they’re nestled and of which they and we are inextricable threads. Agroecology is a fully developed and demonstrated science and set of practices, ready now for full global deployment, the most fully scientific of all sciences according to the self-measure of science itself.
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5. Thus whenever we will we may return to self-determined action, the highest synthesis of faith-in-action with true knowledge. The life of agroecology, the community of Food Sovereignty.
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But we must purge the corporate demons and their summoners, their Poisoner priesthood, once and for all.
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October 14, 2016

FDA Temporarily Backs Down on Food Control Campaign

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Thanks to large-scale organized pressure from the community food sector, including organizations like the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF), the FDA backed down and has issued a final rule under the so-called “Food Safety Modernization Act” (how’s that for an Orwellian jawbreaker?) which is more reasonable in defining a “retail food establishment” which would be exempt from the most onerous regulations under the Act. Artisan producers didn’t fare as well.
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To recap the history, prior to the FSMA sufficient laws already existed for the USDA and FDA to effectively regulate the big corporate producers, manufacturers, and retailers who are the source of all significant food outbreaks. But the regulators almost never enforce these laws against these corporations, only against the rising community food sector which is challenging corporate agriculture and food.
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Nor will the FSMA be used against these big corporate actors. The purpose of the FSMA is to give the FDA much greater discretionary power to attack community food.
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We see how craven these regulators are where they’d have to take the offensive and are faced with real opposition. (They’re far more comfortable empowering the corporations’ own campaigns and regurgitating corporate lies.) Of course they won’t give up but are now regrouping. But let this partial victory be a lesson in the need to organize and fight. We’ll need to do far, far more.
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To be clear, food production and distribution naturally have a local/regional basis. So it follows that an alien central government like that of the US could never conceivably have any legitimate authority over community food. Conversely, the kind of globalized commodity systems which would theoretically come under the purview of such a centralized government are clearly unnatural, irrational, anti-ecological, and themselves have no legitimate basis. Nor would we expect such systems, which are designed to produce commodities, not food, to deliver anything other than low-quality, poisoned, and immorally distributed food with resultant mass hunger, malnutrition, other dietary diseases, environmental diseases like cancer and birth defects, and every kind of environmental and socioeconomic pathology.
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And that’s exactly what the FDA’s notion of food production brings.
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Of course this still hasn’t put a damper on the idolatry of the FDA among “anti-GMO” types and others involved in food campaigns. Let’s never forget that most of the food NGOs supported Monsanto’s FSMA and even kept prodding the FDA to get on with the assault when it was dragging its feet. That’s the kind of evidence which proves we the people can never trust system NGOs. We need our own organizations, period.
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January 25, 2016

Chipotle

Filed under: Food and Farms, Mainstream Media, Relocalization — Tags: , — Russ @ 10:41 am

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As Chipotle was blamed for E. coli outbreaks, the corporate media piled on, blaming the chain’s local produce sourcing. The Schadenfreude was palpable, against both the chain and its customers. Chipotle itself was spooked into a partial disavowal of its own proclaimed philosophy even though the evidence never supported the allegation that local sourcing had anything to do with the outbreak. It seems like Chipotle panicked and rushed to appease the mob.
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Some analysts agreed:
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Ultimately, though, Chipotle will need to step back from its ‘food with integrity’ corporate ethos and become a more traditional fast/casual chain. Foods, including all produce (not just tomatoes), spices, and meats, will need to be centrally sourced and prepared to realize the economies of scale that are necessary to profitably integrate costly periodic food testing…

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There was little room for facts or thought amid the media firestorm. While there is at least a correlation between Chipotle and the E. coli outbreaks, by all accounts it was simply a lie to blame the local sourcing model.
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In December the Centers for Disease Control stated, “The epidemiologic evidence available at this time suggests that a common meal item or ingredient served at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants in several states is a likely source of this outbreak.” This would rule out the locally sourced produce the corporate media gleefully rushed to finger as the culprit. This witch hunt atmosphere provided the background for the New York Times’s recent slander of farmers’ markets. There’s clearly no end to the junk reasoning and innuendo the pro-poison media will propagate as their cancer-causing system comes under increasing scrutiny. And, I feel safe assuming, no retractions from media or “experts”.
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Therefore the CDC itself vouches for the fact that the source had to be part of the chain’s centralized distribution, unless it was a bioterrorist attack using similar pathogens at several locations at once. (I haven’t heard of any special evidence for this latter thesis, though the record of the pro-GM activists is vile enough that we know they’re capable of it. Given their outpourings of hatred for Chipotle since it announced it was going partially non-GMO, the possibility can’t be rejected out of hand. The only thing we know for sure is that locally sourced ingredients weren’t to blame.)
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If Chipotle has been the source of these outbreaks, the vector was central sourcing, the same centralizing scourge of the whole corporate industrial food system. Therefore, far from these events being a reason for Chipotle to retreat from its identity, this is the time for it to reaffirm and strengthen its commitment. Many commentators and analysts agree.
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Fast food is a toxic and unsustainable model across the board, and no one should romanticize Chipotle. Nevertheless, given our dawning situation where in so many ways so many growers, suppliers, processors, and consumers are trying to find their way toward less poisoned, better quality, more relocalized food, Chipotle’s partial efforts on local sourcing and purging some GMO ingredients are steps in the right direction. It’s best to purge fast food and industrial food completely, and once we do this we can wash our hands completely of these kinds of squabbles among the system. In the meantime it’s best to be aware of the lies and give moral support to those who are on the vector.
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While Chipotle may be suffering from weaknesses inherent to the very model of centralization the analyst quoted above touts, we need to stick up for local food and encourage local sourcing on the part of bigger operations. Like I detailed above, the same media lie we see here also strikes much deeper at our farmers’ markets and our generally growing direct retail community food sector. So I’m writing this post not for Chipotle’s sake, but for the sake of the local sourcing model, which the corporate media rightly sees as an enemy of the centralized poison-based agriculture and food system it worships.

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January 17, 2016

There’s Lies, Damned Lies….

Filed under: Food and Farms, Mainstream Media — Tags: — Russ @ 6:32 am

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…Although this pseudo-scholarly garbage about farmers markets in the New York Times isn’t even slippery statistics, but just a scary headline and empty innuendo. That’s our NYT, shilling for corporate food and agriculture as usual.
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The piece is nothing but a scary headline and innuendo. If you read it closely, you see that the hack who wrote it has found literally zero evidence that a single farmers market transaction ever made anyone sick. Rather, he’s talking about nothing but a statistical correlation between “farmers markets per capita” in a state and the incidence of certain food-borne outbreaks. Assuming this correlation really exists at all, by his own testimony he knows nothing about what this means or what was the source of the foods that caused the outbreaks. Maybe the more filthy the supermarkets and fast food outlets are in a region, the more popular farmers markets become. Or maybe the kinds of people who report food-borne illnesses are more likely to support farmers markets. There’s just two of the possible explanations for the correlation which would mean the outbreaks aren’t from farmers market food at all.
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But the author and the editors very much want to convey the opposite impression to the reader. The fact is that the piece has zero substantive content and zero evidence for what it implies in such an inflammatory. It’s pure innuendo, pure rumor-mongering. There’s a few lame disclaimers buried toward the end assuring that most readers won’t see them, and these are immediately contradicted by yet more guilt-by-association innuendo, at this point reaching the level of slander, about how people shouldn’t assume farmers market produce has no unsafe bacteria and that they should wash farmers market produce better. This is true of course, but there’s no reason to think there’s a significant problem. Like I said the fraud who did the “research” has zero evidence that a single tomato from a farmers market gave a single person a single tummyache. This is a piece of pure academic fraud.
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Meanwhile the piece talks only about whether or not farmers market produce is more or less bacterially safe than industrial food and implies that this is the only reason people shop at farmers markets. Not a word about pesticides and the many other ways in which much farmers market food is usually much safer and healthier than industrial products.
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They don’t call it the corporate media for nothing!
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January 14, 2016

Adapting the Populist Lecture Series for Today’s Food Sovereignty

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Here’s some basic information about 19th century public and farmer education through public lecture programs, as conducted by the Grange and especially the Populist Farmers’ Alliance movement. I’d like to contribute to building a new movement to rebuild community food and agriculture, and abolish corporate agriculture, organized in a way similar to the Populists. We’d have the advantage of trying to build outside the commodity system, rather than being in a race against time to reform it from inside, which is what ultimately undid the Populists.
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For a great book on the history and handbook for true democratic organization, see Lawrence Goodwyn’s The Populist Moment.
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Once upon a time I thought of adapting this idea to what I called the land scandal involving systematic property fraud on the part of the big banks. Did you know that, strictly speaking, most alleged bank-owned residential real estate is arguably not really owned by the banks at all, but rather their claim is an imposture? In 2009-10 many bloggers and commentators thought this fact, if effectively propagated, could become a major political theme. Well, that never happened, and it seems like the whole idea fizzled out. Probably both too “fringey”-seeming, even though legally it’s true, and too abstruse to boot. I ended up moving on from the idea to the more down-to-earth matter of food. Of course there’s plenty of policy mysticism here as well, such as patents, which I’ll soon be discussing in depth. That’s why I’ve long referred to the FIRES sector, adding “Seeds” (i.e. intellectual property in them) to Finance, Insurance, Real Estate. And of course corporate agriculture is more than the physical phenomena of land-grabbing and poison. Under the neoliberal globalization regime it’s also a sham campaign trying to reify fictive numbers – commodity pricing, profit, GDP, trade balance, “growth” in the biotech, agricultural, food, and finance sectors – and induce worship of these, or at least surrender to their domination. One of the greatest evils of corporate rule (the most mystical, bizarre fiction of all is that of the corporate person) is how it has made our literal bread hostage to the insane rule of these pure fictions and superstitions. We intuitively know a few basic principles for the counterattack – all commodification of food and critical natural resources is illegitimate, there can be no patents on life, and a “corporation” cannot own or control land, especially farmland. My background writing about Wall Street will come in handy for all these elements.
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October 1, 2015

Anybody Want to Do Something About Climate Change?

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There is one and only one way to lose weight: Eat better, eat less, and exercise.
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In the same way, there is one and only one way to avert the worst consequences of climate change: Greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, stop destroying carbon sinks, rebuild carbon sinks.
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There is no argument which can be made against this fact, and anyone who tries to say it’s wrong or “complicated” or that there’s some kind of workaround is a criminal liar or an easily duped fool.
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The most direct and necessary way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is to abolish industrial agriculture, the worst-emitting sector. This abolition is the one and only way to conserve and rebuild sinks.
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Just the emissions from nitrogen-based synthetic fertilizer alone outweigh the emissions from any other sector. This doesn’t include the oil and gas used to manufacture pesticides, the fuel burned by the tractors, trucks, ships, and planes deployed by the globalized agriculture and food sectors, or the energy burned in food processing and dissipated through waste. Humanity must abolish industrial agriculture. The alternative, vastly superior in every human and ecological way, is agroecology. This is a fully developed and demonstrated science and set of practices, ready for full scale deployment across the entire arable world.
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The worldwide destruction of grasslands, forests, and carbon-rich soil is a direct, intentional, unequivocal campaign of industrial agriculture. So is their replacement by denuded dirt which does nothing but hold the crop roots in place while they’re subjected to an ever escalating dosage of fertilizer and poisons. This destroy-and-poison treadmill is the fundamental business model for agribusiness and a paradigmatic exercise in the subjugation of the Earth by the most malign strain of man.
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Given this confluence of sociopathic profiteering and the depths of evil, it’s no surprise that climate scams have proliferated like no weed would dare to dream. Medieval-style “offsets” which were always self-evidently a fraud, “cap-and-trade”, carbon taxes, waiting for the EPA to directly regulate GHGs, waiting for “the market” to transform to “green energy”, every kind of techno-gimmick, propaganda fronts which want to maximize fancy talk about GHGs while suppressing all action and even the ideas of action. All PR campaigns of government, corporations, the UN, and the corporate-environmentalist front groups are of this character. This is most obviously manifested with the fronts for “climate smart agriculture”, a contradiction in terms where it means anything short of the abolition of industrial agriculture.
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At the most vile extremes of disaster capitalism, we have campaigns like chemical no-till agriculture, “clean coal”, fracked gas as a “bridge fuel”, and geoengineering. These not only do nothing to mitigate climate change but actively worsen it while wreaking even worse ecological devastation. With fracking they’re literally poisoning our wells along with destroying our communities and farmland. With geoengineering the homicidal psychosis breaks all bounds of calculability and moral comprehension. Even the most rabid Nazis were relatively tame compared to the level of malign insanity which would be required to even contemplate such a catastrophic action. Only the fantasists of nuclear war are comparable.
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Meanwhile the various kinds of climate change deniers get the most respectful treatment in the corporate media. This includes the old-style direct deniers as well as today’s more common “delayer” version, so-called because they pay lip service while counseling against action for the time being. As with all technocracy advocates, they call upon humanity to renounce political solutions and look to techno-“solutions” which will always be in the future. This is an endemic trait of scientism cultists, who unanimously are climate change deniers in this sense, and often in the more direct sense as well.
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Most of all, the climate change deniers and their friendly media collaborate to pretend that corporate agriculture and its technologies are, in some mystical way, in alignment with climate change science, even though this is directly in contradiction of 100% of the evidence, and even though it’s empirically documented that pro-GMO activists are climate change deniers and vice versa, while actual climate change activists also oppose corporate agriculture.
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What has to be done about climate change? The same thing which needs to be done about every other crisis of the age. It requires enough people to relinquish the status quo-conforming consciousness in whatever form, burn their boats and embrace a revolutionary consciousness. Enough people, first to build a movement outside of, out of synch with, where necessary in opposition to, the status quo. Outside of it, and fired by the will to overcome and transform it. First to build and sustain this movement, to have the patience for the hard work of perhaps many years without flashy public victories, patient to win the smaller, at first more quiet day to day victories of disciplined work toward the necessary future, focusing most of all on building this movement’s own culture and economy while propagating the new idea, getting it into the public consciousness. (Although even during this stage there’s great potential for effective political wedge campaigns which can directly advance the movement toward its goals while serving as recruitment drives.)
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And then, if this movement has done its work well, when the time comes where circumstances radically change and vastly more people are abruptly jolted into a new consciousness and become ready for a new idea, the anti-corporate movement of earthly freedom and organic harmony will be ready to receive and organize them. Then great things will become politically not just possible but inevitable. And that’s when humanity will be ready to deal with climate change, along with the other great crises which simultaneously loom.
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Will that be too late? We can’t attain what’s necessary until we embark upon what’s necessary. There’s no other way. These are radical political crises and nothing else. These crises can have only radical political solutions, nothing else. The sooner we begin, the sooner we attain. If only humanity is willing to begin, to fight for a new beginning, it will be soon enough.

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August 6, 2015

There Is No Science of Genetic Engineering

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There’s no such thing as a science of GMOs. There’s an ideology of genetic engineering which is based on debunked junk science. This ideology has nothing to do with the actual practice of genetic engineering, which is a scattershot empirical approach. Engineers basically throw gobs of money and laboratory brute force at a technical problem and hope something sticks. When you finally find a needle in a haystack you base your business model upon it. That’s why genetic engineering is so inefficient, wasteful, and expensive compared with conventional breeding. A genetically engineered variety costs over ten times as much to develop as whatever conventional variety it pirates and builds upon. And then the genetically engineered variety will be inferior to its forebear, being nothing but this forebear with a poison transgene inserted into it along with whatever genome scrambling and mutations it picked up along the way during the GE process.
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Genetic engineering developed its own version of the NPK ideology. Its dogma is: One gene = one trait. This dogma, along with the older one that genetics are the main (or only) factor dictating real life outcomes, enabled technicians to claim that they’d soon be able to precisely analyze, predict, and manipulate the relationship between genetic codes and the way plants, animals, and humans would develop and act in real life. This was their path to funding and influence, and it soon became the path to power for biotech corporations engaging in genetic engineering. One-gene-one-trait became the basis for all the foundation lies of genetic engineering: That it was a precision technology, that its effects could be precisely calibrated, that it would not have unforeseen effects, that food products generated this way would be safe and nutritious. The goal is to achieve total corporate enclosure, control, and domination through GMOs and eugenics.
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Based on these lies governments moved aggressively to approve and commercialize GMOs without performing any safety testing. To this day no government has ever performed a scientific safety trial on any GMO. The US set the standard for this anti-scientific, anti-public health policy under the banner of “substantial equivalence”, the lie that GMO crops are identical to real crops and therefore, by definition, don’t need to be safety tested.
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But all these the basic elements of genetic engineering ideology, so-called genetic engineering “science”, have been debunked.
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1. The foundation dogma of genetic engineering can be summed up as: One gene = one trait. This is also called the sequence hypothesis. DNA is composed of a series of bases, this series is transcribed onto RNA, which then uses this sequential code to arrange amino acids to form a protein. Based on this, and on what Francis Crick called the “central dogma” that this transcription process is the only thing happening (cf. #2), it should follow that since there are c. 100,000 human proteins, there must be c. 100,000 genes in the human genome. How could the same initial DNA “sentence” be transcribed in ways that result in different proteins?
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But in reality the sequence hypothesis turned out to be false. One-gene-one-trait has been completely disproven, most spectacularly by the corporate system’s own Human Genome Project. The expected 100,000 genes in the human code turned out to be just over 20,000. We now know that most genes have multiple effects, and that the range of these effects is very difficult to catalog. Similarly, we know that many phenotype traits, to the extent they have a genetic basis, are the result of several genes collaborating. Similarly, it’s very difficult to identify all the genetic contributors.
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2. Along with the sequence hypothesis, Francis Crick promulgated what he called genetic engineering’s Central Dogma, the faith that there is only a one-way transmission of genetic information, from DNA to RNA to protein. As Crick put it, “Once information gets into protein it cannot get out again.” A connoisseur of hubris might suspect that a proposition dubbed by its own founder the “Central Dogma” would be full of holes, and so it has turned out for Crick’s article of faith. Five times as many proteins as genes is rather wide of the expected one-to-one correspondence, and the reason is that special proteins work to rearrange the DNA base code in myriad ways creating an array of messenger RNA molecules so that one original sequence can be used to produce many proteins, and so that multiple original sequences can be combined in various ways to produce proteins. It turns out that proteins are in fact very active in producing new genetic information, and that lots of information is indeed “getting out” of these proteins.
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Even more fundamentally, DNA itself is not immaculately self-replicated, but rather replication is performed by the organic cell. This includes the action of coordination and repair enzymes, without which DNA replication would contain vastly more numerous errors than it does. So not only do proteins work on RNA, they keep the exalted DNA itself honest. Information gets out of proteins and into the DNA itself.
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So we have the far more intrepid role of proteins in genetic coding than was allowed for by genetic engineering “science”, or as it calls itself in this case, dogma. Then there’s the fact that protein folding is as important as protein coding. Mad Cow Disease is caused by a protein in the brain chemically identical to the normal one, but folded differently. The disease-causing alternative folding is transmitted from one protein molecule (called a prion) to another. Scrapie is another disease caused by self-transmission of prions. As usual, Crick had simply assumed that the genetically-determined amino acid sequence of a protein also dictated how it folded itself. Only some kind of genetic screw-up could cause a misfolding. But subsequent science found the opposite. Contrary to the central dogma, the coded protein still needs the proper assistance of other proteins called “chaperones” to be correctly folded. Conversely, prions containing no nucleic acid can on their own “infect” and cause contiguous proteins to refold themselves in conformity to the prion’s shape, and then become infectious themselves. That’s how Mad Cow spreads. There we have two more examples of how proteins transmit genetic information in defiance of GE’s central dogma.
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These facts don’t just demolish the theoretical pretensions of genetic engineering science. They also give a clear picture of how complex and holistic genetic processes are, and therefore how easily the bull-in-a-china-shop genome havoc wreaked by the genetic engineering process can cause every kind of genetic disruption, mutation, and disease-causing structural malfunction.
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3. Beyond any prior philosophical debates about nature vs. nurture, genetic determinism has long been refuted on purely scientific grounds. Phenotype is affected at least as much by epigenetics and environmental factors as it is by the genetic code, which in many ways sets up a range of possibilities rather than dictates an outcome. In effect, a genetic potentiality is often a switch which must still be turned on (or off) by some external factor: Climate, the parent/mother’s health and diet during pregnancy, or the conditions under which an egg or seed develops, an infant’s diet, infant exposure to agents in the water or air, psychological stresses, environmental stresses on a growing crop, etc. This last turned out to cause serious unforeseen, because not calculable according to the paper-mapped genome, problems for Roundup Ready soybeans. Genetic determinism is a debunked fraud which is kept in the field only by its inherent usefulness for GMO propaganda, the Big Pharma model of medicine, and its implications for a revived eugenics program, which remains the great goal for these technicians.
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So the three basic theories of genetic engineering have been completely disproven. Yet to this day all advocacy of GMOs, and all the alleged “science” supporting GMOs, is based on these same three crackpot falsehoods: That heredity is destiny, that genetic information flow is unidirectional and easily described, and therefore precisely manipulable, and that one gene = one trait. We see how, just as genetic engineering has zero to do with science and is simply technical manipulation, so pro-GMO ideology has zero to do with science, but is rather a fraudulent political ideology based on nothing but Big Lies. For its true believers, it’s a fundamentalist secular religion.
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The takeaway: Genetic engineering is not science, and support for GMOs is anti-scientific, based on fidelity to crackpot lies.
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We can go into further detail.
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4. The myth that genetic engineering is the same as conventional breeding is essential to the propaganda of pro-GM activists. But this is pure snake oil.
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Breeding works with whole genomes among related species only (and no mutation-mongering tissue culture). Risks are rare and predictable, and can occur only in a few scenarios. Genetic engineering is qualitatively different in that the possible range of transgenic insertions is indefinitely greater than the genetic transfer possible in breeding, or in nature. With GE the potential for harmful chaotic effects is vastly greater and completely unpredictable. Every genetically engineered genome which has been independently studied has displayed the complete mess left behind by the “event”. Submissions to regulators detailing the alleged genome of the GMO are mystical fictions which have no relationship to the unpredictably messy reality. More on this below.
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As for natural mutations and unforeseen effects of conventional breeding, which the pro-GMO activists claim means genetic engineering is the same as these processes, where these happen they happen locally. They run up against naturally evolved safeguards against mutation, and such changes would need time and effort to run a gamut of naturally imposed challenges, or the challenges of breeder selection, to become established. GE, on the contrary, aggressively seeks to override these safeguards and leap over these challenges. It seeks to deploy the infected genome in the environment over vast regions as fast as it can. This is such a difference of magnitude, speed, and geographical reach as to comprise a qualitative difference.
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Black Swan author Nassim Taleb recently co-authored a paper on this systemic risk aspect of genetic engineering. GE has zero in common with conventional breeding, physically or ecologically. The lies and denials of pro-GMO activists with regard to this fact demonstrate their general ignorance of evolution and flippant disregard for its implications. The most extreme manifestation of pro-GM evolution denial is this incapacity or refusal to recognize the great difference between adaptation in confrontation with a wide range of natural environmental hurdles over evolutionary time, vs. seeking to leap over all the hurdles in an instant, with the entire process from genetic extraction to insertion to breeding to distribution taking place in a totally artificial, hermetic, alien, non-contextual bubble, and from there to deploy a biological technology developed in this anti-environmental way all at once on a global basis in the real world. Under such circumstances a rational person would expect nothing but disaster.
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No rational person even slightly familiar with ecology, biology, genetics, agronomy, or history could take this seriously for a moment. Any natural allele, mutation, horizontal genetic transfer, etc. must run a long gauntlet of safeguards developed by evolution including the genome’s own repair mechanism, then the greater hurdles of the local environment, must adapt and spread over millions of years. Farmer selection and conventional breeding have followed such a pattern for 10,000 years.
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But the genetic engineering technique which has existed for just a few years now claims to supersede these thousands and millions of years. It claims to be able to leap over the evolutionary genetic hurdles using technology. This is impossible. Therefore GE implicitly seeks to maximize the harmful mutations, latent weaknesses, unfit traits, and hazards.
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Similarly, genetic engineering and the ramified GMO dissemination structure claim to be able to leap over the evolutionary environmental hurdles, as well as the geographic hurdles, using economic brute force. This means it wants to spread the infected, harmful genetic and biological material, and the harms which shall follow from it, as globally as possible as fast as possible.
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To sum up, genetic engineering ideology wants to leap over the entire evolutionary time and action during which all matters of fitness, quality, and toxicity are worked out by nature, or by human thought and labor in conjunction with nature. The hubris and contempt for science on display with these persons is staggering. No, genetic engineering has nothing in common with conventional breeding. GE can only be a debilitating parasite free riding on conventional breeding and destroying its work.
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With GMOs we have a phenomenon where politics and economics meld inextricably with ecology. Ecologists are really the only scientists fully qualified to speak about GMOs. Beyond that this technology is fundamentally a political and economic phenomenon. GMOs as deployed in the real world, rather than in the depraved minds of their idolators, have very little to do with science. This renders it all the more ironic when the pro-GM activists go hysterically braying about how even the most modest questions or criticisms are “anti-science! anti-science!”
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5. I’ll be writing more about “substantial equivalence” as an ideological dogma among regulators. It’s also a core element of GE junk science.
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Substantial equivalence is self-evidently an idiotic lie, since every GMO is, unlike its forebear, a poison plant. It is either suffused with herbicide residue and toxic breakdown products, and/or it produces its own endemic Bt toxins in every cell. This is obviously an extremely significant difference, and the fact that genetic engineering “science” can say with a straight face that in this way Radical Difference = Equivalence, demonstrates how far this body of claims has departed from anything recognizable as legitimate science, rationality, or indeed bare sanity.
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Beyond this self-evident radical difference between a GMO and its isogenic forebear (the true crop which was pirated and had the transgene inserted into its genome), independent study has found that every GMO genome analyzed has significant differences from its ancestor, while the GM crops which grow from these scrambled genes are compositionally different from their non-GM counterparts in many ways. (At that link, cf. “The sham of substantial equivalence” and the next two sections.)
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All the bogus “studies” which claim to provide evidence of the safety of GMOs but which do nothing of the sort, and which often provide evidence for the opposite thesis, are in effect nothing but another version of restating the original fundamentalist dogma, “they’re safe because they’re equivalent, so they don’t need to be tested.” To say something new governments and corporations would actually have to perform non-fraudulent studies, which they resolutely refuse to do.
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It’s worth mentioning that according to substantial equivalence, Mad Cow proteins are identical to the regular protein. Therefore beef containing them would pass regulatory muster by this standard.
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On a philosophical level, the substantial equivalence dogma is part of a general philosophy of faith in sterile, hermetic “being” over real-life processes of becoming. Genetic engineers and their fanboys want to envision, and want regulators and society to envision, an inert crop or food which is “substantially equivalent” to some indeterminate natural variety. The “process”, the actual becoming, is to be seen as ineffable and effectively meaningless and irrelevant. Only a Platonic idea of the static product matters. This junk philosophy is the progenitor of the junk science of “the” genome, whether it be the propaganda idea conjured by the Human Genome Project (“the” human genome; but this can never be more than a synthesis from a sample); or the regulatory submissions which claim to describe “the” genome of a GMO even though it doesn’t describe the real genome of any actual commercial crop, since these vary naturally, and the genetically engineered versions vary far more, often chaotically; or the pseudo-scientific fraud so often run in the criminal courts where the authorities test a defendant’s DNA vs. another piece of DNA and declare them “matched” by the measure of some tendentiously defined genomic range (again a fraudulent synthesis said to represent reality).
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This pseudo-scientific trend among engineers and other scienticians is part of their general hostility to genealogy, history, learning about origins. Scientism, technocracy, like the general bourgeois ideology of which they are part, are anti-history. Then journalism and academia join the regulators in dogmatizing history out of existence. That’s the overarching ideological backdrop where we see such specific greed-based corruptions at work as the corporations lobbying the regulators to consider only the final “product” and not the “process”, never mind that the radically different process results in a substantially very different product. Behind it all is the age old authoritarian hatred of change except for change the “authority” premeditates and sets in motion. Beyond this it yearns to fix things in place once and for all, at least in thought.
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6. The same appetite for control is the source of the quasi-religious doctrine of genetic engineering’s “precision”, really an article of fundamentalist faith. In reality, the insertion process is scattershot and very messy. The most common method of insertion is to literally fire the transgenic material from a gun into a mass of target tissue. (This should remind us of another “precision” lie, that of so-called “smart bombing”, which has always been just as scattershot, dumb, and murderous as the regular kind.) The transgene ends up in a random part of the target genome, often with parts of the gene cassette separated and splattered elsewhere, or else inexplicably duplicated in other parts of the target genome. (The cassette itself is precisely assembled only on paper. The real thing is often a cobbled-together mess.) The violence of the process damages the target genome in unpredictable ways. Insertion always generates mutations. The process is so haphazard that the cassette must include an identification marker, usually an antibiotic resistance marker, so that after the insertion the transgenic material which successfully was inserted can be identified. This means dousing the target cells with a strong antibiotic which kills all the cells except those which incorporated the transgene. This joins subtherapeutic antibiotic abuse in factory farms as one of industrial agriculture’s campaigns to eradicate antibiotics as a medically effective treatment, through the willful, systematic generation of antibiotic resistant bacteria.
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The transgenic material must now be grown into seedlings in tissue culture, which causes more mutations. Then plants are grown, assessed, and selected, first in greenhouse laboratories and then in field trials. This selection is based on testing whether the poison plant “works” (does it tolerate the herbicide and/or express the insecticide in its cells), and beyond that simple eyeballing of which specimens look the best. The great bulk of genomic chaos and mutations, including any harmful or maladaptive traits, especially ones latent and ready to be switched on by any number of environmental factors, are invisible to this selection process.
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In practice all the classic GMOs demonstrate the results of this gross imprecision, such as Monsanto’s flagship Roundup Ready soybeans and MON810 maize. Since all the stacked varieties merely combine the original single-trait varieties, they incorporate and multiply the genetic chaos of GMOs.
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Conceptually, the GE ideologues seem to feel no cognitive dissonance where they contradict their own “genetic engineering = conventional breeding” lie. The same who make that claim will then flip 180 degrees and claim that conventional breeding, as well as evolution itself, are sloppy and messy while their genetic engineering is a “precision” improvement on these. Here we go beyond simple evolution denial and into the realm of creationist religion. More on that in future posts. This is evolution denial, and is also a de jure lie in that it claims genetic engineering is something separate from conventional breeding, when in fact GE is nothing but a perversion of pre-existing breeding, upon which it depends 100% to produce functional germplasm wherein it can then be inserted.
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So if conventional breeding were in fact “sloppy”, genetic engineering would only be exacerbating this chaos. But in truth evolution proceeds in a relatively orderly way, just as you’d expect from a process honed over billions of years, while these sniveling little brats who just discovered a toy a minute ago are the ones who do nothing but make a frightful mess.
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To repeat, here we see the most extreme and far-ranging aspect of the evolution denial of genetic engineering “science”.
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But we should also note that scientism cultists including these engineers tend to have a dual-track, mutually contradictory view of evolution. At the most exalted level they view neo-Darwinism as meaning a flawless process of unflaggingly perfect adaptations, with all biological phenomena encompassed within this perfection and explainable within this perfection framework. But at the same time they also deride evolution as a messy, wasteful process which needs to be improved by their technological activism. Here we see an example of the cult fundamentalist mindset I described in a previous post, with its exalted “principles” and nihilistic disdain for day-to-day truth, even where it comes to direct contradiction of the acclaimed principle. The genetic determinism dogma, however, can be applied at either level, the ivory tower Darwinian or the gutter GE-creationist.
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To finish with the junk science and propaganda lies of “precision”, the new “gene editing” techniques are no more precise than those of GE 1.0. (Cf. the section, “Is GM technology becoming more precise?”) It’s funny how we now have two contrary lines of propaganda running simultaneously: The original genetic engineering techniques were magically precise, and yet they really weren’t precise but the new techniques are so precise, honest and for true this time. Yet studies have already documented that the CRISPR technique causes mutations in human cells.
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7. “Junk DNA” = junk science. When scientists first ascertained that less than 2% of human DNA is formed into genes and didn’t know what if anything the rest of it does, they indulged their standard strong aversion to saying “I don’t know”. As much as any other religious type, scientists feel a strong need to make things up where they don’t know, and so in this case without further ado they branded the non-gene DNA “junk DNA”. There was no scientific evidence for this dismissal, just the felt need for a placeholder concept which pretends to “know something”, where a true scientist would admit ignorance.
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Since then the evidence has proven that the junk DNA dogma was wrong. Indeed, today the likes of the NIH are rushing to opposite dogmas about the infinite potentiality of this DNA. Meanwhile dead-enders continue to defend the junk science.
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The state of the science implies that the genome does far more than just code for proteins, but no one knows the extent of this action. One thing which this science does prove, to add to all the other proofs, is that genetic engineers have no idea what they’re doing.
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8. There are many more examples of the crackpot “science” and lies which comprise the defense of genetic engineering. We can list just a few of these. These and the foregoing have all been disproven and repose on the trash heap of junk science. Nevertheless to this day they make up the “scientific” part of pro-GMO ideology.
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*The whole is just the sum of the biggest parts. Smaller parts, and any kind of holistic network, don’t matter. (The “NPK mentality”, as Albert Howard called it.)
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*The Cauliflower Mosaic Virus (CaMV) promoter functions only in plants, not in animals.
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*A synthetically modified organism (SMO) is identical to the corresponding GMO.
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*Glyphosate affects only the shikimate enzyme pathway, and this is found only in plants, not animals. In truth it affects mammalian CYP and retinoic acid pathways as well as having a general mineral chelation effect. Meanwhile the shikimate pathway is found in the bacteria of the human microbiome, which is a symbiotic part of our digestion and plays an important role in other human physiological systems. I included this with “genetic engineering” because these lies and junk science are part of the rationalization of the Roundup Ready GMO system.
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*Bt becomes toxic only amid the alkalinity of an insect’s digestive tract, not that of the mammalian. Bt toxins cannot enter the human bloodstream.
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*GE material is destroyed in processing/cooking/the gut. It never enters the bloodstream.
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*There’s only linear (“dose-dependent”) effects. There’s no such thing as non-linear effects.
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Genetic engineering claims to be able precisely to insert selected transgenic DNA into an alien genome, where this DNA will seamlessly command the indigenous resources to produce the desired RNA which will produce the desired proteins, which will then cause the desired phenotype manifestations. Meanwhile all the host organism’s native genetic functions except the specific ones being modified or overriden by the transgene will continue in the same way as before. All this is supposed to happen in a precisely calibrated way.
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As we’ve seen, all this is bunk. Since the parts which weren’t premeditated lies from the start were debunked long ago, by now they’re all nothing but willful lies. Persistence Proves Intent.
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What really happens in genetic engineering? The insertion is a brutish, sloppy process creating a genetic mess. Where “successful”, the transgenic DNA will attain the desired effect. But it also causes incalculable chaotic effects, from unpredictable levels of protein expression to the production of completely new proteins and other metabolites to alternative folding of proteins.
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The disruption and mutations caused by transgene insertion may also affect the indigenous processes of the host genome in chaotic ways. This includes its DNA repair mechanisms, its RNA transcription and splicing, its protein formation, and the many ways its proteins interact with one another.
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The organic chaos which follows from the brutal, mutagenic GE process is seen in the profligate waste of the subsequent GM crop development process. Even after identification of the crop tissue which successfully incorporated the transgene, it’s very difficult for the engineers to grow suitable crops from the transgenic material, it’s so genetically damaged and weakened. Then there’s the ongoing genetic and phenotype unpredictability as the seeds are commercialized and the crops deployed across a great range of climates, environments, and agricultural practices. I’ve written before about how GMOs are a rich man’s technology and require optimal conditions in order to have any decent chance of functioning as advertised, i.e. in a way similar to how they functioned under perfect lab and optimal field trial conditions. Any deviation from this optimum, and you have a crapshoot at best.
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This brings us back to the radical difference between genetic engineering, which is inherently reductionist and controlling, especially in the extremely narrow range of genetics it seeks to have dominate all of agriculture (since all commercial GMO varieties, no matter how varied the back-crossing, which as a rule doesn’t have much variation, come from the same original “event” and continue to inbreed the event’s weaknesses, hazards, and chaos), vs. conventional breeding, which in principle as well as in participatory and organic practice is inherently expansive, manifold, diverse, and resilient.
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All this proves how GMOs don’t make sense in principle. Just as the inherently messy and chaotic transgenic insertion process guarantees that even the reductive poison plants which actually “work” will work only in haphazard, unpredictable ways, so pleiotropy rules out the long-promised-never-delivered GMOs designed to produce better agronomic and product quality traits. If genetic engineering can barely cope with producing transgenic effects which involve just one inserted transgene, imagine trying to solve for multi-gene effects.
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Rendering crops poisonous is not an improvement, but literal poison plants (those which exude a systemic insecticide, those which systemically absorb herbicide, and usually both at the same time) are the only kinds genetic engineering can create.
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Genetic engineering does not produce the results it claims. I stress that this is not just because genetic engineering is a stupid, shoddy practice, though it is that, but because the underlying “science” of genetic engineering is wrong and fraudulent in theory.
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In truth, support for GMOs has nothing to do with science, but rather is political and financial. Technological development is always part of politics and political economy. It’s clear that the real world struggle of pro-GMO activism vs. humanity has nothing to do with science but is purely a political and economic struggle, part of the ongoing assault of predatory corporations upon humanity. Indeed, another reason GMOs make no sense in principle, in this case except from the point of view of corporate power and control, is that their history proves that GMOs cannot be capitalized, developed, produced, distributed other than through big corporations. Indeed GMOs were developed in the first place to intensify corporate control and domination. But corporate control is antithetical to productive, food-based, sustainable agriculture. By definition corporate agriculture, producing commodities and poison instead of food, with food then supposed to “trickle down” as a side effect, is incoherent, irrational, and an abdication. GMOs represent the extreme manifestation of corporate agriculture.
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It’s funny how confused and stupid pro-GM activists, including the credentialed “scientists”, are about this. It’s a good measure of their general ignorance, stupidity, and hysterical emotionality that, facing any criticism of GMOs from any angle – economic, political, agronomic – they immediately start shrieking, “anti-science! anti-science!” It seems they’re so dumb they really can’t tell the difference between a scientific criticism and a socioeconomic criticism. But then, they know that the only thing which gives their otherwise obvious lies any obscurantist cover at all is a fraudulent appeal to the authority of their bogus “Science”, so their desperate propaganda need abets their idiocy. Of course, the science is also 100% against them.
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Unfortunately, a complete ignorance of agriculture and farming is the standard state of pro-GMO activists, and the STEM-credentialed ones most of all. Being such a complete ignoramus actually helps one believe in genetic engineering “science”, since this fends off potential doubts about germplasm quality and diversity, the genetics of produce quality, how weeds and insects react to poisons, and the position of agriculture amid ecosystems and the sustainability of fossil fuel dependent industrial monoculture as such. (As far as the socioeconomics, the pro-GM activists mostly understand that the purpose of GMOs is to drive hundreds of millions of people off their land, and the activists consider this to be a good thing.)
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.To summarize this most recent series of posts on agriculture and science.
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1. There’s no such thing as genetic engineering science.
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2. The dogmas of scientism cannot be applied to agriculture at all.
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If by science we mean a coherent theory which has truth value and relates to the real world, then where it comes to industrial agriculture there’s no science involved at all. The real world practice is just brute force empiricism based on seeking power goals, not on any kind of scientific concept, no more than how much a whip-wielding slave driver theorizes about how people might best live in peace with one another.
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Those who call this or GMOs predominantly a “science” matter are regurgitating a corporate propaganda lie, or else naively abetting this lie. Too many even among GM critics let them get away with this lie. Many even gratuitously place themselves in the defensive position of arguing that there’s merely holes or abuses in the corporate science. There’s even the lament that “our” scientists deserve a hearing as well, and indeed among the few independent scientists who have followed where the evidence leads, the main yearning seems to be to maintain standing among the scientific establishment and win credibility there. But I propose that this is all wrong.
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The fact is that corporate “science” has nothing to do with science at all. Corporations and their operatives do not seek scientific fact and do not find it and do not act upon it. They seek corporate profit and power, they base their work upon it, present their “findings” in service to it, and act from there. They are corporate activists, and GMO proponents are pro-GMO activists. The scientific establishment has abdicated completely where it comes to all agriculture and food matters. (Other matters as well, but I’ll leave analysis to those who focus on those matters.) The only science which exists here is the agroecological science which has been steadily in the building since the mid-twentieth century. This science is fully demonstrated and ready to be deployed, wherever the political will exists to do so.
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We scholars, scientists, and agronomic practitioners of the ecological philosophy have won complete victory in the science fight, and we know that the corporate “science” paradigm is nothing but a structure of lies and force. Only we have science at all. So whatever political guidance we deduce from the situation, and whatever any of us wants to accomplish with agriculture and food, anything from reforms to the necessary abolition and transformation, let’s communicate in a way that stops respecting enemy lies and which respects only truth.
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Across the board, in general and at every point of detail, science affirms and supports agroecology and Food Sovereignty and condemns the failures, poison, and destruction wrought by corporate agriculture.

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